Selling a Comox Valley home can be a daunting process for someone who has not done it before. There are a number of phases that a Comox Valley homeowner will go through that should be understood to avoid surprises down the road. This blog is not intended to provide advice on how to sell a home. Instead, it aims to provide general information on the process that a person can expect to go through to sell a home.
The first phase is one that I will label the Preparation Phase. In this phase, a Comox Valley home seller will decide to sell their home. During this phase, the seller should consider a number of things such as home preparation, presentation and price. They should also be aware of the effects of their local market on their home, and a number of other things before listing their home for sale.
Phase two is the Listing phase. Having properly prepared and presented the Courtenay real estate listing, the real estate seller will need to decide when, and with whom, to list the home. While some sellers attempt to do this themselves, most use a licensed Comox Valley real estate agent. While the agency (such as RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty – the one that I am affiliated with) is an important consideration, more important is the real estate agent since they are the ones that will be doing the vast majority of the work associated with listing and selling your home. Some people choose to enlist the help of a “Listing Realtor ®”. Note, however, that if a real estate agent describes themselves as a Listing Realtor ® , ask them about their sell to list ratio and about how many homes that they have found buyers for. Some realtors who describe themselves as Listing Realtors ® may merely list and market the home and then hope someone else will find the buyer. Others do more than that and some do much more than that. Know what to expect from the real estate agent before you list with them to avoid surprises down the road. This phase ends with the signing of a listing contract for a specific period of time. There is no such thing as a mandatory or minimum listing period. Having said this, the listing period may vary according to a number of variables and some real estate agents will have good reasons for accepting what they refer to as a minimum listing period. Remember that if they agree to list your home, they will be spending time, money and effort on it. When a real estate agent either accepts or declines a listing they should be doing this on the basis of a business decision made in that specific circumstance.
Next comes the Real Estate Marketing Phase. This involves marketing and advertising (yes there is a difference between these two actions) the home. The aim of this phase is to attract home buyers who will write an offer on one of the Crown Isle homes for sale. Over time the home should experience increased exposure to potential buyers. Some situations involve target marketing. As exposure is increased, requests should come in for viewings by potential buyers. If no viewings result over a certain period of time, it is time to ask why. Should viewings occur but no offers follow, it is important to know why. A listing with no showings generally means something. A listing with showings but no offers also has meaning. Understanding why this is happening. Often these situations can be traced back to the asking price but this in not always the case. There are a number of other reasons why this can happen. The marketing phase does not stop at the start of the next phase. When it stops will be related to the specific circumstances surrounding each home and local market.
Successful real estate marketing (combined with other elements) should result in the Offer Phase. A seller may end up with no offers, a single offer, or perhaps multiple offers, on their home. Each of the situations requires analysis and advice. When a an offer is received and presented, most offers will generally result in a counter offer or offers. In most cases offers come with specified conditions that involve “subject to” clauses. The aim of this phases is for the seller to end up with an accepted offer. To get to this result often requires back and forth negotiation between the buyer and seller (often represented by a real estate agent who represents the buyer and one who represents the seller). Note that in British Columbia, it is important to understand what is contained in the British Columbia Real Estate Association brochure titled Working With a Realtor ® (Designated Agency). This brochure explains the relationship between you and your real estate agent. Having an accepted offer does not necessarily mean that your home is Sold. If the accepted offer is conditional, it is necessary to get to the point at which conditions are removed in order to consider your home as sold. In a few situations offers may be made as unconditional offers and when accepted, you can consider your home as sold with a firm real estate contract in place.
The next phase is one that I will refer to as the Sold Phase. Why, you may ask, do I call this a phase? You can consider your home sold when an unconditional offer is accepted, or when an accepted conditional offer becomes unconditional. However, the sale must still complete. There is generally a period of time between when there is an accepted unconditional offer and when the sale is completed. Contacts can fall apart for a number of reasons and it is prudent to not rely on a sale completing until it actually does. Comox Valley Contracts of Purchase and Sale can be written in a variety of forms. Some do not result in title transfer at completion (such as an Agreement For Sale) and there are some that do not result in the seller getting paid in full at completion (such as a Vendor Take Back Mortgage). However, many Contracts of Purchase and Sale that are agreed between buyers and sellers do result in the transfer of title to the property and the seller being paid in full the purchase price that was agreed for the property.
While many people think that the real estate process stops at completion, I believe and practice another phase in this process called the Service After Sale Phase. I like to keep in touch with Comox Valley buyers and sellers to keep them informed of the current Comox Valley real estate market and to provide them other useful information should they need it in the future. As well, things occasionally happen after completion that require follow up action or advice.
While there may not be universal agreement on the names (or even the existence of all of these phases), it is important to understand that selling a home is a process. Sometime the process is straight forward and short. At other times, the process can be complicated and lengthy. Each home that is listed for sale will have its own unique circumstances and challenges. So too will the location and local real estate market within which the home is listed for sale. If you are thinking of selling your home in the Comox Valley, contact Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty to discuss your real estate needs.