The Waterloo Region housing market is still a sizzling seller’s game at the moment, where homes stand to spark bidding wars and sell for sky-high prices.
COVID-19 caused so many people to re-evaluate their housing needs, and indeed their lives, resulting in increased demand for homes and a continued lack of inventory. All in all, this is great news for sellers—yet with soaring prices and high expectations come a whole new set of possible pitfalls that could trip up inexperienced sellers, particularly if they’re selling for the first time.
Curious how you might risk ruining a good thing? As a team working 'in the trenches' every day, we can offer you some pointers.
1. Overpricing your property
Just because sellers dominate now, don’t think “red-hot market = super high list price.” A smarter strategy is to list lower than your goal and let the market do its magic.
First-time sellers often erroneously believe that the list price means the desired purchase price. In fact, the list price simply indicates an approximate appropriate price, and its purpose is to drive interest in the property.
The greater the interest, the more likely the price will climb as eager buyers bid on it. You’re more likely to get interest with a sensible asking price. An experienced local real estate agent will help you come up with such a price, and we advise you to listen to their wisdom.
2. Skimping on home showings
In our not-quite-post-pandemic era, some Waterloo Region homeowners may list their property, then feel skittish about having strangers traipse through their home. To cash in, however, you can’t wait it out.
As soon as the house is listed, it’s vital to allow as many qualified buyers view it as possible, to help build demand, and yes, maybe even spar a bidding war. A seller has a fairly short time window to do this effectively, since if the house sits on the market, buyers may assume something is wrong with it.
If you’re truly uncomfortable with in-person showings or have serious scheduling conflicts, virtual tours can separate out casual shoppers from truly interested parties. Then, once you know you have prospective buyers who love your listing, you can have them scheduled for a (masked) showing.
The good news here is that at this point experienced Realtors, like Team Pinto, have been following COVID protocols when showing homes for two years now, and so we know how to do so as safely as possible, and we've got very good at pulling off impressive virtual open houses and virtual home showings as well!
3. Home staging slip-ups
With Waterloo Region houses selling so fast, you may think you needn’t bother with the expense of professional home staging. Still, if you want your home to fetch that dream price that you’ve heard is within reach, it could pay to present your home perfectly, with some professional home-staging help.
Buyers are increasingly expecting that, if they are going to be paying more for a home - and in a hot market that's what they expect - they should get a home that will be 'Insta ready' with as little work on their part as possible. Expert home staging can give them that impression right away.
4. Seeing only dollar signs
A big payoff when selling your Waterloo Region home is certainly tantalizing, but money isn’t everything.
Many less experienced homesellers look at price offered as the end-all-be-all, but a smart seller considers a variety of factors to make an educated decision. For instance, the highest offer may have a loan with an appraisal contingency, while a somewhat lower offer might be in cash.
Or, perhaps the bidders with the highest offer need to sell their home first. That could mean a slow or snag-filled deal. You might be better off taking a slightly lower offer.
This is another are in which your Realtor will be both a big help and the 'cooler head' you probably need. We'll help you go through all the offers carefully and weight up the pros and cons of each carefully to help ensure that the one you eventually accept really is the best one for you.
5. Pouncing on an implausible offer
Guess what: Waterloo Region homebuyers know it’s a seller’s market too, so some (usually over the objections of their Realtor by the way) may make crazy, ginormous bids to beat out the competition—offers that can fall apart in financing or upon appraisal or inspection.
In a hot market, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to submit an offer for a home, sight unseen. Then, if the buyer doesn’t like what he eventually does see, the offer can be withdrawn, and the property is likely to lose traction.
The takeaway? If something seems too good to be true, it usually is! Work with your real estate agent to understand who is bidding and how serious they are, to avoid having your deal unravel.
6. FSBO blunders
While “For sale by owner” sounds like a direct route to extra profit, cutting brokers out of the picture is a BIG risk.
Today’s rookie sellers may be tempted to try selling their house on their own. But doing so severely limits your exposure.”
FSBO homes, after all, can’t be listed on the Multiple Listing Service, which is where most buyers shop for homes. And this exposure is crucial if you want to reach a large audience and fetch the best price.
Also, in this era of bidding wars, having an agent at your side is a huge help. Navigating a flurry of “highest and best offer” bids is tough for a homeowner to do alone.
7. Forgetting you'll need a new place faster than you might think
So you’re all set to sell your house—great! Now, what’s your next move? Avoid winding up with an anxious buyer on one hand and no place to go on the other.
It can be hard to find the right new home now, so start searching immediately once your property comes to the market. Then be sure to negotiate an extended closing or leaseback, or even make the sale contingent upon purchasing another home if you are struggling. If all else fails, line up a rental.
8. Assuming this hot market will last
Inexperienced Waterloo Region homesellers may turn down a worthy offer or even forestall listing their home, hoping prices will continue to go up. While it may take a while for the seller’s market to top out, interest rates are expected to creep up this year, and inflation already is, which could reduce the pool of hungry buyers.
Looking to sell your Waterloo Region home? Or buy a new one? Let Team Pinto use their huge local real estate experience and expertise to help you. Contact the award-winning Team Pinto here, or book a free Zoom consultation to discuss your unique Waterloo Region real estate needs here