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Why Use a Realtor to Sell Your Home (…and a bit of “bubble talk”..)

My first article on this subject was more from a buyer’s perspective than a seller’s. It did however speak a bit to the need for the professional knowledge of a realtor. However for the benefit of all the sellers out there I’ll expand a bit on what I mentioned in my first article. This one will also address the context of our current market, which I will comment on as a preamble.

OK – our YVR market – bubble or no bubble? My answer (with a caveat of course…do you think I’m crazy..?): No bubble. But will prices continue to soften? Yes. Probably for one to two years, when they will stabilize and gradually start to work their way back up. Remember one simple equation folks – this is Vancouver – lots of people around the world want to live here and we don’t have any land! Why do you think Manhattan land prices are high? Same reason. However my “caveat” is that if Europe implodes and/or the US economy gets really shaky, or god forbid there is another large terrorist attack or an earthquake or something, of course all bets are off. The fact is that nobody really knows. But all things being equal that’s my bet.

Now to FSBO’s – For Sale By Owner. (btw, this is not a time to be one…). Many people will try to sell their homes themselves to "save the commission". About the only time this tactic works is in a really hot market where literally everything is "flying off the shelves" as it were. In that scenario if the property is on a busy street and the seller puts a sign out they may get lucky and have someone walk in, like it and buy it. But the power of numbers always wins out and a sign on the lawn and ads in the paper and on the Net more than likely won’t sell the property. He/she needs the power of MLS because that’s what the realtors subscribe to and they are the ones with the buyers. The other key issue is pricing. An “indy” seller simply doesn’t have the ability to know the market like a realtor (who does this for a living remember). Lots of sellers think they can "start high because I can always come down…” The problem with that tactic is that the absolute best time to sell your property is during the first 14 days that it’s on the market. That’s when the listing is fresh and the most people will come to view it – the more people who come to look at it the better chance you have of selling …IF… you have it priced well. If it’s priced too high out of the gate people will usually leave without offering and you will likely never get them back. So always, but especially in a cooler market, initial pricing is absolutely key. And if the market takes a downturn or an upturn, your realtor (if he/she is a good realtor…) will have the pulse of the market and give you sound (and immediate..) advice re price adjustments. So if you want to sell a property quickly (and for the best price) the best route is through a professional. Another thing to keep in mind is the overall knowledge base that a good realtor brings to the table on not just the market but in property presentation (does it require decluttering, painting, staging and/or landscaping of some sort..?), legal issues (…they should always defer to a good lawyer on anything legal..), inspection issues, unconventional offers, certain subject conditions of the buyer (like "subject to the sale of the buyer’s property", things like latent defects (a defect not readily noticeable to the buyer..), buyer creditworthiness (the buyer may tell you they are well-financed but many times that is not the case), things like an old underground oil tank on the property. (which can be a huge issue..) and so on. You also have contracts that have to be understood in detail by all parties. Lastly do you as an unrepresented seller have the time required to devote to this project..? With a realtor it’s his/her full-time job..

So the bottom line is that if a homeowner feels competent enough (and has enough time) to "go it alone" without the services of a professional realtor they can try it but most of the time those who go that route always end up listing the property with a professional – AND – they will have also lost a pile of time in their quest to get it sold…and possibly a lot of money.

Neil Hamilton is a Senior Property Advisor with Macdonald Realty Ltd. with expertise in the buying, selling and leasing of both residential and commercial properties throughout the GVA. He can be reached at 604-569-1940 or neilhamilton@macrealty.com.

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