To Sell or Not to Sell
It’s that time again. Spring is just around the corner, the temperature is set to rise, and the leaves will soon be on the trees. The beginning of long weekends at the cottage is in sight again, and the kids will finish school in no time.
Believe it or not, busy as it is, early March is a great time to reflect on your current home and think about whether you should list it and look for something else, or simply settle down where you are for another year.
As I pen this article in late January there is little inventory on the market and some uncertainty about where house prices may go. Needs and housing prices do not always align. Nothing like a long cold winter with many hours cooped up inside to highlight the shortcomings of your home. Bathroom lineups, overcrowding on couches, or empty bedrooms can really stand out.
Needs and housing prices do not always align
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve just renovated, either. It’s like when your kid’s shoes are too small but still look brand new. You could have recently renovated your home, but if it doesn’t fit, well, that’s all there is to it.
With this in mind, if you decide to sell, there’s a lot to consider. I’m going to go over some of the major points to help you along the way.
Figure out who you are
It may sound wishy-washy, but the most important thing is to figure out who you are. A lot of this comes down to where you’re willing to make your trade-offs and what you’ll sacrifice.
We’d all like a perfect house in the ideal location, but what’s on the bargaining table? Will you go for a smaller house in a better neighbourhood, or bid on a bigger place in a less desirable area? Can you live without parking? These things will guide your decision.
Are you downsizing or upsizing?
Whether you’re a young family looking to expand, or a retiree who doesn’t want to shovel the driveway anymore, your circumstances can influence your approach.
People who are downsizing generally sell first and buy second, whereas people who are looking for more room will do the opposite. It’s easy to see why: When you’re trading down, you have more options. You might want to buy a condo or rent, for instance, and even in Toronto’s competitive market there are many more listings that meet these needs than those that appeal to people looking for a larger detached home. Figure out which pool you’re in.
Really consider your finances
Have a talk with your mortgage broker or financial advisor. Plus, make a connection with a full-time experienced real estate salesperson who understands the value of the area you will be selling and buying in. Aunt Sally who is a top salesperson in Vancouver won’t be much help in Toronto.
If buying first, have a clear understanding of realistic numbers before diving in
Buyers should also be very aware of what the land transfer tax will run them because they can’t borrow this amount; they need to have it on hand.
It also helps to lowball your budget. If your home sells for a bunch more than expected then, hey, you get to buy furniture, too!