Selling a condo (or any property) in Vancouver in 2019 is more challenging than it has been in a long time. On average, properties take over a month to sell and if you want to make it into that group, you’ll need to take steps to prepare your home for sale. A couple of starting points are that this is not the same market it was in 2016-2017, and just like going on a first date, you want to put your best foot forward. There aren’t second chances when it comes to selling your home!
- Pricing is the most obvious so we can get this out of the way right at the start. As of the end of April 2019, there were about 40% more properties listed for sale compared to April 2018, which was 20% higher than April 2017. If your condo is overpriced the buyers will go down the street and find one that isn’t. Your Realtor should provide you with comparables and a pricing strategy that lines up with the current market.
- Cleaning your condo before pictures, open houses, and showings is a must. Buyers are going to be inspecting every inch of your home and they need to be comfortable doing it, or the only thing they’ll remember is how dirty it was. If cleaning isn’t your forte, consider hiring professional cleaners to make sure it’s spotless.
- Decluttering can make your home feel bigger and more welcoming when buyers are doing their walkthroughs. The goal is to have them looking at the space in general, and not nick-nacks that you’ve collected over years of hoarding. Moving furniture around to create more open space can also make an 800 square foot condo feel like it’s 900 square feet.
- Staging your property if it’s vacant or if it’s missing a few key pieces can turn your home into a show-home, and will bring more positive attention. Adding plants or colourful paintings can bring in a splash of colour that make it feel more welcoming and will help buyers remember it over everything else they’ve seen.
- Professional photography cannot be overstated when you’re ready to sell. Real estate photographers know the best angles to make your condo look bigger and brighter which will bring more buyers in to the open houses. Your iPhone may be great for selfies but you’ll need something more advanced if you want to sell your home.
- Patience and persistence are the themes of 2019 with the average property taking 39 days to sell today compared to 25 in April 2018. It’s not uncommon for it to take 3-4 months to finally sell which also means if your goal is to move by the end of the year, it’s time to start getting prepared now.
- Prepare to be flexible! People’s schedules change all the time which means you may be getting some last-minute showing requests, and while you may not be able to accommodate all of them, each one represents a missed opportunity. The goal of listing your condo for sale is to find one person that’s willing to buy it from you, so make sure they are able to actually see it.
- Renovations and minor touch ups ensure that the next owner has to do a little bit less work, and can make your condo significantly more appealing. 20 years ago it was common to have walls separating kitchens from dining and living rooms, but now the goal is to have as few barriers as possible. If you’re looking for more minor updates, a new coat of paint (preferably white/neutral) can go a long way in making your condo look brighter and makes less work for the next owner.
- Pretend you’re the buyer and be honest with yourself when you’re decorating and moving furniture around. Your personal taste may be different from other people’s and the goal is to appeal to the widest audience possible.
- Hiring the right agent that is experienced and knows the neighbourhood is the most important decision you’ll make when selling your condo. Your Realtor should be able to give proper pricing information, advice on staging (whether hiring a professional or making minor tweaks), and should be someone that you get along with on a personal level. A lot of people have their real estate license, but hiring someone that’s not active in the market could end up costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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