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Thinking of taking the plunge and selling your home? You’ve likely spent the last few months obsessively comparing prices on the MLS in your city, such Toronto apartments for sale or detached or townhouse options, to get an idea of what your own property could go for on the open market. Perhaps you’ve decided to downsize to a smaller and more affordable space, or perhaps you’ve outgrown your current abode and are looking forward to finally having a bedroom for each child.
Whatever the reason, selling your home can bring about a lot of emotions and logistical challenges.
It can be difficult to leave a cherished space behind, but almost nothing is more tedious than packing and unpacking. Selling your home can also be costly — you’ll likely encounter land transfer taxes, a new mortgage, realtor fees, home staging fees, legal fees, moving fees, new furniture costs, and potentially renovation costs. To offset some of these expenses, of course, you’re going to always want to try to maximize your home value and selling price. But how exactly do you go about that?
Here are three things to consider when selling your home:
Create a neutral space to get the best price for your property
To appeal to the widest variety of buyers, you want to transition your home’s look into a neutral one before you put it on the market. The goal is to let buyers imagine themselves there — which means swapping out purple paint for white or light grey walls, taking down any religious symbolism for hotel-style landscape paintings, keeping all surfaces clutter-free, and arranging furniture to show the potential of each room. A professional home staging company and realtor can help you with this, the cost of which is often free, or split with your real estate professional. Such staging companies may even bring in a few showpieces to display in your home during its showing period, to best highlight its attributes.
As well, once the space has been spruced up and staged, ensure it’s being caught in its best light; your realtor should be shelling out for top-end photography to help create the most eye-catching listing.
Create a new budget for your new expenses
When selling your home, much of the focus is often on getting the listing ready and angling for a top-dollar offer. However, the first step of the process is to head back to the mortgage stage and determine your potential affordability for your next abode. While this will take into account the theoretical selling price of your existing home, you’ll also need to assess your housing costs, which will include the mortgage, utilities, maintenance and insurance; experts recommend these costs take up no more than 30% of your take-home pay.
While this can be hard to achieve in Canada’s major cities – for example, the average price for Toronto houses for sale is well over the $1-million mark – it will stop you from feeling house poor. Keeping your new housing expenses under this percentage will allow you room for luxuries like eating out, extracurriculars, and vacations.
If such a budget still sounds out of reach, focus instead on paying off all consumer debt before you move and building an emergency fund of three to six months of living expenses. That will give you a rock of financial stability and allow you to keep paying your mortgage if you lose your job or your other expenses suddenly go up (like you enroll a child in daycare or smash your car). And while most people prefer to move up the property ladder, there’s no shame in moving to a less expensive neighbourhood or into a smaller place. Stash the extra profit in your RRSP or throw it at your debt and you may feel a sense of peace and security that trumps having granite counters and a master bath.
Research new service providers in your new neighbourhood
It can be tough to find good new dry cleaners, daycare, library, nail place, coffee shops and grocery stores all at once, so you do your research even before you move. Check out online reviews and try to hang out in your new neighbourhood before you move. That way you won’t be scrambling to find a dry cleaner that’s open on a Sunday when you need a dress cleaned for an event that night.
While selling your home is certainly stressful, it’s also exciting. Don’t forget to embrace this new chapter of your life and try to enjoy the process.
Zoocasa is a full-service brokerage that offers advanced online search tools to empower Canadians with the data and expertise they need to make more successful real estate decisions. View real estate listings at zoocasa.com or download our free iOS app
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