info@oneflatfee.ca 604-725-1000 Value of properties sold as of Jul 23, 2024: $1.4 Billion +

Category: Real estate

BC Housing And The Expected Market Change In 2023

BC Housing And The Expected Market Change In 2023

The COVID pandemic has had an interesting affect on the real estate market in British Columbia over the past couple of years. And while real estate sales peaked in many areas of the province in 2021/2022, most areas are now seeing the flip side of this trend with prices dropping and inventory staying on the market for longer periods.

BC Housing And The Expected Market Change In 2023

With 2023 Now Underway, What Can British Columbians Expect?

According to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), residents of the province can expect 2023 to bring lower prices across the board, but the dip is expected to be relatively short-lived, with the market rebounding somewhat in 2024. The main reasons for the price dip in 2023 are due largely to the slowing economy and increasing mortgage rates.

Greater Vancouver will experience the lowest decline in the number of homes being sold and BCREA anticipates a reduction of approximately 4.3%. Prices are expected to drop by about 7.2% with the average home price falling to around $1.18 million.

According to Robert Hogue, assistant chief economist at RBC, activity in the Lower Mainland and Victoria appears to be levelling off.

“Recent declines have slowed quite considerably, and we’re probably not that far off from the bottom. But that being said, the level of activity, even in B.C., is historically low right now. Things are quiet,” he said.

Over the course of the next several months, home prices are expected to drop further. Affordability, however, also remains an issue which will hold the level of activity down and restrict gains for sellers.

As the tide turns and the number of sales starts to increase, the recovery is expected to be subdued. Huge jumps in prices are not expected and we won’t see the frenzy that was experienced in 2021/2022. Higher interest rates, after years of historical lows, will also keep activity in check.

While 2023 may not be a banner year for sales across the Province, BCREA anticipates 2024 will bring a healthier economy and with it, lower mortgage rates. Combined with the expected high level of immigration, all of these factors should assist in the recovery of the market and stimulate home sales once again.

If you’re considering buying or selling your home, contact the team at One Flat Fee to see how we can assist. We’re happy to offer guidance and expertise at the right time to conduct your real estate transaction. Reach out today!

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JANUARY 2023 MARKET UPDATE

January 2023 Market Update

The real estate market is generally always evolving. In Vancouver and other major centres in Canada, the market has remained strong throughout the pandemic, however, prices have been softening and sales are taking a little longer than during the peak times in 2021/2022.

JANUARY 2023 MARKET UPDATE

Sales

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), January 2023 saw 1,022 home sales, more than a 50% decline from January 2022. When comparing January 2023 to December 2022, sales declined by just over 21% from 1,295 units sold in December.

Listings

The Multiple Listing Service ® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver saw 3,297 new listings in January 2023, whereas January 2022 saw 4,170 homes listed for sale. While this represents a 20.9% drop, it reflects a significant increase against December 2022, which saw only 1,206 new listings.

Prices

According to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), 3,047 residential units were recorded sold in January 2023 across the Province. Year over year, this represents a decrease of 50.3%. In greater Vancouver, the average price fell 8.4%, year over year, to $1,167,134.

Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada interest rate has undergone eight (8) increases over the past year, however, indications are that further increases may be suspended if the economy continues to warrant this policy.

The Bank of Canada rate increased from a low of 0.25% in March 2022 (and many months prior) to 4.5% in January 2023. With this, comes higher prime rates, as well as higher variable and adjustable mortgage rates.

Cooling Off Period

Effective January 1, 2023, the Government of British Columbia has enacted a new regulation allowing home buyers to back out of a real estate purchase for up to three business days after signing a contract. This cooling-off period applies only to the purchase of the residential property.

The Province believes it will provide buyers an opportunity to do their due diligence for obtaining financing or having a home inspection completed even if the buyer does not list these as “Subjects”. Now, the buyer can end the contract for any reason, within three (3) business days. If deposit funds have been paid upon acceptance of the Offer, the buyer is entitled to a refund.

Buyer beware: should you cancel a contract within the three-day cooling-off period, a Recission Fee of 0.25% is payable to the Seller. For example, if the purchaser exercises the right of rescission on a $900,000 home, they’d be required to pay the seller $2,250.

How this will affect the real estate market in Vancouver remains to be seen. For all your real estate needs, contact One Flat Fee and speak with our professional, qualified team.

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What To Look For When Reading Strata Docs

Living in a Strata titled property comes with certain rules, obligations and other ownership considerations regarding what an owner can do and what they may be required to do. If you are contemplating the purchase of a Strata unit (apartment or townhome), there are several things to look for when reviewing the documents.

Strata documents

1- Bylaws

Bylaws govern how the Strata Corporation operates and provide for how the strata corporation will be managed and administered. Bylaws are critical (and mandatory) for any Strata Corporation as they detail how the Corporation will be managed.

Bylaws also deals with how the individual strata units and common property are governed. Any Bylaw changes must be voted on by the strata lot owners before they can be implemented and most require the approval of ¾ of those owners.

Examples of Bylaws include pet restrictions, age restrictions, restrictions on the use of barbecues, what type of window coverings are acceptable or short-term rental restrictions

2- Rules And Regulations

Rules and regulations only deal with the common property or common assets of the Strata Corporation and do not address any issues relating to individual Strata Lots. For example, rules can be implemented regarding quiet times in the building, pets must be leashed in common areas, or what can be placed outside your unit on common area property. Rules can be implemented at any time by the Strata Council but must be ratified at the next Annual General Meeting in order to be effective on an ongoing basis.

3- Minutes

Typically, when considering the purchase of a Strata Unit, you should ask to review the minutes for the previous two (2) years. These minutes give you information relating to any issues raised by unit owners relating to the operation of the property overall, the financial position of the Strata Corporation and any other potential “red flags” such as ongoing lawsuits or maintenance concerns or problems. Minutes are a great way to get to know the “day to day” issues of the Strata.

4- Finances

Reviewing the financial statements and budget is important when considering the purchase of a Strata Lot. Because you’ll pay strata fees, it’s vital to understand what the Strata’s financial commitments are and how the expenses are funded. Are any large expenditures anticipated, are there any Special Levies or Assessments planned or anticipated, how much is in the Contingency Reserve Fund and how is the Depreciation Report being addressed?

Special levies or assessments can be large single contributions required by each unit owner which can be cumbersome, depending on what project the funds are allocated to. If you are on a budget, additional expenses beyond the normal strata fee requirement may be a factor in your decision so make sure you understand what those may be.

Owning a Strata Unit can be a terrific solution for those who don’t want the responsibilities of owning their own freestanding home. Outside and common area maintenance is taken care of for you and your only responsibility, for the most part, is for the inside of your own unit.

Everyone from retirees to first-time buyers and young people starting out can enjoy the benefits of living in a Strata property. For those who travel, it’s a great way to lock up and go without worry. The trade-off is the potential limitations of the Bylaws and Rules. If you can live with those, a Strata may be just right for you.

Whatever phase of life you’re in, or whatever age you are, Strata life should be carefully considered before you buy. If after reviewing all of the above items, it seems like it fits your lifestyle, give us a call at One Flat Fee and we’ll be happy to assist.

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What is a Strata?

What Is A Strata?

While this seems like a simple question, the reality is quite complex. We’ll start with a review of the basics surrounding Strata properties.

What is a Strata?

What Is It?

A STRATA PROPERTY is comprised of a group of individual lots or units, owned by different individuals, which together form part of a larger entity (the Corporation). Each Strata Lot is owned by an individual, along with a portion of the common area or other common property and assets of the Corporation.

A STRATA CORPORATION is formed when a developer registers a Strata Plan at the Land Title’s Office. The Strata Plan details the number of individual Strata Lots, or units, as well as the common property shared with each unit, in a ratio established by the Unit Entitlement of each Strata Lot.

UNIT ENTITLEMENT determines how much of the common property is owned by each Strata Lot based on the size of their unit, or other determining factors. In some Strata’s, the Unit Entitlement may be the same for every Strata Lot. Unit Entitlement is listed on the Strata Plan which should be reviewed before purchasing the Strata Lot as it can affect your financial obligations if/when a Special Assessment is levied.

Types Of Stratas

For a lot of people, Strata brings to mind an apartment style home but in reality, there are a variety of different Strata Properties as follows:

Apartments

Apartment style homes are a really common type of Strata property. Usually contained within a building with a number of other units, they all share the hallways, elevators, lobbies, and possibly parking structures. These types of buildings may have shared heating systems (boilers), plumbing, and electrical components although each unit maintains control over its own environment. Items such as roof replacement or boiler replacement are handled by the Strata Corporation and are not the responsibility of the individual Strata Lot owners, although each owner bears their portion of the cost of the replacement.

Townhomes

Townhomes are usually rowhouses or duplex-style homes but can also be freestanding single-family homes. Townhomes shares gardens, parking, and other common space but may have their own essential utility services including furnaces and hot water tanks. Roof replacement is usually the purview of the Strata Corporation to ensure consistency, with the costs borne by each Strata Lot based on the Unit Entitlement. Additionally, a lot of townhome complexes are gated, providing an extra level of security coming from the “owner only” access to the property.

Bare Land Stratas

This is just as it sounds. Generally, the Strata Corporation is responsible only for the land and the individual Strata Lot owner is responsible for the building or structures on the land. In this scenario, each Strata Lot owner maintains their home, inside and out, and pays for items such as roof replacement directly. Bare land Strata’s are far less common and harder to come by than other types of Strata’s.

Benefits

Living in a Strata property has a definite upside. The Strata Corporation takes on the repairs and maintenance of the common property and assets while the Strata Lot owner is only responsible for maintaining the inside of the Strata Unit (except in Bare Land Strata’s).

The ability to lock your door and go on vacation without worrying about who will mow the lawn or shovel the snow is an added bonus, giving the Strata Lot owner peace of mind while away.

The added bonus of the home being in a secure apartment building, or gated community, can make everyone feel safe and secure, day or night.

If you’re considering purchasing a Strata unit, contact One Flat Fee and we’ll be happy to assist with your search.

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Federal Legislation Prohibiting the Purchase of Residential Property

All About Federal Legislation Prohibiting The Purchase Of Residential Property

Commencing January 1, 2023, the Canadian Government enacted legislation which severely restricts the purchase of residential real estate by “non-Canadians” for a period of two (2) years. This legislation is known as the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property By Non-Canadians. This law was designed to temper the rapidly increasing home prices, while also addressing the issue of housing supply since many homes purchased by foreign investors remain unoccupied.

Federal Legislation Prohibiting the Purchase of Residential Property

The goal of the legislation is to ensure homes are affordable for Canadians and will be repealed at the end of two years.

How Does The New Law Define A Non-Canadian?

A non-Canadian is anyone who is NOT:

  • A Canadian citizen;
  • A permanent resident of Canada; or
  • Persons registered under the Indian Act.

The Act also applies to Corporations which are not listed on a Canadian stock exchange, are privately held or are controlled by someone defined as a non-Canadian.

Are There Exceptions?

The short answer is yes. Following is a sampling of who is exempt, however, we recommend you thoroughly review the legislation and consult an attorney for further clarification.

1- Temporary Residents Studying In Canada.

There are a number of requirements to meet these criteria such as the length of time the resident has been in Canada over the past five (5) years, the course of study being undertaken, whether or not they have filed income tax returns and the cost of the home being purchased.

2- Temporary Residents Working in Canada.

Temporary residents who have a work permit or have been appropriately authorized to work in Canada may be exempt from the ban on purchasing real estate. Assuming all criteria are met, including having worked and filed income tax returns for three (3) out of four (4) preceding years, and they have not already purchased residential property while the prohibition is in effect, a temporary resident may be able to buy a home.

3- Refugees, Refugees Claimants, And Individuals Fleeing From International Crises.

Refugees who have been given protection under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001 are exempt from the ban on purchasing residential real estate. If a refugee claimant has been referred to the Refugee Protection Division, they may be exempt. Refugee claimants fleeing an international conflict may also receive an exemption under the humanitarian public policy of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

4- Non-Canadian Spouses Or Common Law Partners.

If the spouse or common-law partner of a Non-Canadian is a Canadian, they may qualify to buy residential real estate as long as the partner/spouse meets the definition of a Canadian. This means the spouse or partner is:

  • A Canadian citizen;
  • A permanent resident, or a non-Canadian not already prohibited under the Act; or
  • Persons registered under the Indian Act.

If any of the above categories apply to your situation, reach out to an experienced Realtor, or an attorney to ensure you meet the requirements of the Act before you make any purchases.

Is There Anywhere in Canada This Act Does Not Apply To?

Again, the short answer is yes. If the home is located outside of a Census Metropolitan Area or Census Agglomeration, purchasing a home is still possible for foreign buyers. A Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) or Census Agglomeration (CA) is an area that includes more than one metropolitan area, with one being at the core. In a CMA, the population has to be more than 100,000, with half of that number living in the population centre, or core. For a CA, the core population must be a minimum of 10,000.

But What Does This All Mean?

It means that while purchasing residential real estate by non-Canadians has become far more difficult, it is still possible. Speak with an experienced Real Estate Agent, and an attorney, if necessary, for clarification on your specific situation and what it means for you.

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full service realtor

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FULL-SERVICE REALTOR AND A DISCOUNT REALTOR?

This poses an interesting question so let’s take a look at how a discount realtor is actually very similar to a full-service realtor.

full service realtor

Full-Service Realtor

A full-service realtor will usually provide a free market evaluation to determine the appropriate selling price. Once that is established, they’ll:

  • list your home on the MLS ® system;
  • arrange for showing your home to potential buyers and their agents;
  • prepare (or receive) any offers to present to you;
  • promote your home on their own website as well as the MLS ® system;
  • provide guidance throughout the selling process; and
  • provide conveyancing services to bring the sale to completion.

While this list is not exhaustive, it generally describes the selling process. Depending on your agent, they may also offer referrals to other industry experts such as mortgage professionals, home inspectors, and lawyers.

Discount Realtor

A discount realtor provides most, if not all, of the same services but at a lower commission rate. Rather than using the industry standard of 7% of the first $100,000 and 2.5 or 3% of the balance, a discount realtor uses a lower fee structure which allows the seller to save potentially thousands of dollars of commission payouts to use for any other purpose they want.

Some discount brokerages offer a straight 1 or 2% commission. The downside to this is the buyer’s agent doesn’t get their “usual” fee and may not be overly enthusiastic about showing a home listed this way.

Flat Fee Commission

A flat fee discount realtor does things a bit differently. While the buyers’ agent will receive their normal, full commission for bringing a buyer, the seller’s realtor takes a discounted commission by reducing their fee to a fixed dollar amount. This means you won’t lose any buyers because those agents don’t want to take a lower commission and the seller still receives all of the same services as if they had used a full-service realtor.

Some discount brokerages also offer packages that allow you to sell your home on your own, with only certain services being provided by the brokerage. These services may include:

  • Listing your home on the MLS ® system;
  • Forwarding potential buyers to you;
  • Promoting the home on their website and other internet websites; and
  • Forwarding title of your property.

The fee for this type of service is usually a flat fee for the service of the discount brokerage, plus the normal commission due to the buyer’s agent. This type of sale can be time-consuming for the seller and if the seller is not experienced in buying or selling homes, there can be pitfalls to trying to sell the home privately.

Either way, the seller ends up saving a significant amount of money by using a discount brokerage.

Education and Training

Discount realtor brokerages have highly trained, educated, and experienced agents in the exact same way and to the same high standard as agents at traditional brokerages. The governing body for the real estate industry requires all agents to undergo the same training and education to ensure the best professionals are representing the public, regardless of the type of brokerage they represent.

Using a discount brokerage doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice experience, training, or knowledge. Many discount realtors are in the top percent of the real estate industry and are high achievers with excellent skills and awareness of the market conditions. With any transaction of this size, always ask your potential realtor for references, and don’t be afraid to check them out before making a commitment.

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WHY PAY MORE? HIRE A TOP-PERFORMING DISCOUNT REALTOR TO SELL YOUR HOME INSTEAD!

Just as not all traditional, full-service, real estate brokerages are the same, neither are discount brokerages. And while discount brokerages may have some negative misconceptions surrounding them, here’s why hiring a real estate agent from a discount brokerage can be a great idea:

Top Performing Realtors

Most realtors, whether they work at a traditional, full-service brokerage or at a discount brokerage, work hard to become the top of their field. The services they can provide are exactly the same and include some of the following:

  • They’ll do a free market evaluation to assess the value of your home and determine what they believe the home will sell for.
  • They’ll list your home on the MLS ® system to maximize exposure to thousands of potential buyers.
  • They’ll prepare the paperwork, receive offers from other Buyer agents and present them to you for consideration.
  • They’ll walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
  • Many can refer you to ancillary professionals such as lawyers, home inspectors or mortgage professionals.
  • They’ll work with you throughout the closing and conveyancing of the property to ensure a smooth transition.

They Have The Same Mandates

Your real estate agent has to follow the same set of rules and ethics regardless of what type of brokerage they work with. All real estate professionals are governed by the same body – the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) and the high standards of conduct are consistent across the board.

Loyalty to their clients is of the utmost importance and they are required to maintain your confidentiality at all times – even after the sale or purchase of your home is complete.

Your real estate agent will, and must, follow all of your lawful instructions regardless of whether or not they agree with them.

Your real estate agent has your best interest in mind at all times. They will provide input, guidance, and recommendations to assist you in making the best, biggest decision you’ll likely ever make.

The education and training real estate professionals receive are exactly the same across the province. Where they work doesn’t change the requirements of the real estate Rules and Regulations so you can be assured that a realtor working with a discount brokerage is trained to the same high level as at a traditional brokerage.

Where They Differ

The difference between the two types of brokerages comes down to a financial one. At a discount brokerage, you can receive the same high level of service as at another brokerage, but at a much lower rate of commission.

Discount brokerages can save the seller thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of commission they take. This could be based on a percentage, or as a flat fee but either way, the seller will have some extra money in their pocket at the end of the transaction to use for any other purpose they choose.

Some discount brokerages also offer incentives to buyers. Since the buyer’s agent will receive their “normal” commission, they may offer a cashback percentage to the buyer as an incentive to hire the brokerage. This could be as much as 25 or 50% of the buyer agents’ commission depending on the level of service required from them.

Whichever way you decide to go, always do your homework, research the agent and company you are considering, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or read the fine print. You may just decide a discount brokerage is right for you.

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sell home

SELL YOUR HOME FOR TOP DOLLAR! STEPS TO FOLLOW….

We all like to think our home is the best one in the neighborhood and we can get the highest price out there. To improve your chances of succeeding in this, here are some steps to follow:

sell home

1. Clean up.

Although it can be time-consuming, make sure your home is clean and tidy at all times. Potential buyers can pop up at a moment’s notice so you want to make sure your home is presentable. Get rid of the dust bunnies, wipe the dirty fingerprints off the walls and vacuum the floors. Make sure the bathrooms are spotless as this can turn off a buyer in an instant. If you have pets, deodorize the house and consider having the carpets professionally cleaned. This small expense goes a long way to show you care for the home and reduces the pet odors that may linger in the home.

2. De-clutter and de-personalize.

Organize the kid’s toys into a confined space instead of all over the house. Put away most of the family pictures. You want buyers to visualize themselves in the home so putting away personal items allows them to see the home as a place they can put down roots. You’re going to be moving anyway, so pack away some of the family heirlooms and mementos ahead of time. Your home will look less cluttered and more spacious.

3. Make repairs.

We all bang up a wall on occasion. Patch the drywall, if necessary, and touch up any paint spots that are obvious. If something is broken, fix it. You don’t want a faulty closet door falling off when someone opens it and you don’t want someone tripping over a loose threshold. If you are in the middle of a repair or are updating something, let your real estate professional know so they can pass the information on to potential buyers.

4. Curb appeal.

The first thing people see when they come to view the property is the front yard and the front of the house. Make sure the grass is cut, the flower beds are weeded and tidy and the sidewalk is clean and free of clutter. Clean the exterior of the home and make sure the windows sparkle. If it’s winter, make sure you have cleared any snow and ice from the walkways around the house and put down salt or ice-melter if needed.

5.Tidy the garage.

If, like a lot of people, your garage is more for storage than for parking your vehicles, make sure you keep it clean and organized. Put away as much as you can so people can at least walk through it to get an idea of the size. It’s hard to determine if a vehicle can fit into a garage that is overflowing with tools, equipment, boxes, and storage containers, so at a minimum, make sure there is a clear pathway through it all.

Your chances of finding a great buyer will improve if you follow these tips. Your home doesn’t have to be the most modern one on the block, but if you keep it clean and organized, the pride you have in the home will shine through and buyers will be more likely to make an offer for top dollar!

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WHAT IS A DISCOUNT REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE AND WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A DISCOUNT REALTOR?

Real estate prices continue to soar and with that, traditional commissions being paid to the real estate professionals involved with the purchase or sale of a home continue to rise. If you are the seller, this means your costs increase exponentially depending on the price your home sells for.

Hiring a discount real estate brokerage to sell your home might just be the answer you are looking for. But how does it work? And why should you consider it?

Discount Brokerages Can Save You Thousands Of Dollars

The most obvious reason to use a discount brokerage is to save money when you sell your home. Some brokerages offer a one or two-percent commission structure, while others offer different packages which allow you to select how many services you want the real estate professional to provide. This type of brokerage can still provide all of the services you need, but at a discounted price.

Discount Brokerages Provide All The Same Services As Higher Priced Brokerages

Don’t be fooled into thinking a discount brokerage provides less service or lower quality services than a traditional brokerage. Real Estate professionals at discount brokerages still undergo the same level of education and training as those at higher-priced brokerages. And, they still provide the valuable experience and knowledge needed when selling the biggest asset many people will ever own. Education is ongoing as required by the governing BC Financial Services Authority so each agent is fully up to date on changes to the rules and requirements of providing real estate services to you.

Discount Brokerages Use the MLS/Realtor System

Although the listing fees are lower with a discount realtor, homes still receive the same level of exposure on the MLS ® listing system used across Canada. This means your home can be viewed by countless potential buyers at a reduced rate.

Some Discount Brokerages Still Pay The Traditional Commission To the Buyers Agent

Depending on the brokerage, the buyer’s Agent may still receive their “full” commission. Reducing the Buyers Agent commission discourages agents from bringing their buyer clients to view your home because the financial incentive is no longer there. By keeping the Buyers Agent portion of the commission the same as at a traditional brokerage, the potential buyer’s pool remains large and widespread.

Buyers Can Get Cash Back From A Discount Real Estate Brokerage

Again, depending on the brokerage, a buyer may be able to receive a portion of the agent’s commission back as an incentive. This can help with closing costs, moving expenses, or even new furniture. The level of cash you receive will depend on the services provided and can be 25% or 50% of the commission paid to the buyer’s agent. If for example, your buyer’s Agent received $10,000 on the purchase of your new home, you could receive either $2,500 or $5,000 as a tax-free incentive to be used for whatever you want.

Discount Realtors and Brokerages offer all of the same services as a traditional brokerage while saving sellers thousands of dollars which can be used to offset other costs associated with moving.  As with any Real Estate Agent, ask for references and do your homework to ensure you are getting the services you want, at a price you are satisfied with.

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home valuation

EVALUATING YOUR HOME

home valuation

How do you estimate the value of your home and why does it matter?

Estimating the value of your home is not a one size fits all formula. There are a lot of different factors that go into determining the value of a home such as:

  • Size – is your home typical of others in the area or is your home smaller or larger?
  • Location – are you near schools, shopping, or other amenities?
  • Neighborhood – is your neighborhood an up-and-coming area, is it well established, or is it in a more or less preferred area of your city?
  • Updates – if the home isn’t new, have any updates been done such as new furnace, roof, painting, or other interior renovations?
  • Age – how old is the house and are there any issues as a result of its age?
  • Features – does it have anything other homes in your area don’t, or are you missing some features others in the area commonly have?
  • Current market conditions – what is happening in your region? Is it a buyer’s market with too many homes for sale, or is it a seller’s market with low inventory and a lot of potential buyers?

Do It Yourself Estimate

If you’re prepared to tackle the evaluation and determine on your own what the home is worth, there are a few things to look at.

  • What are comparable homes in your area selling for?
  • Are they bigger or smaller than your home?
  • Are they in better or worse condition than yours?
  • Do they have something you don’t that will attract buyers?
  • Do you have features that set you apart from the competition?

This is the least certain method of evaluating the value of your home as you don’t always have all the information real estate agents or appraisers will look at when comparing your home to others. Use some online value estimator tools to get a ballpark estimate and see how it compares to what you thought.

Free Market Evaluation

Nowadays, most real estate agents offer a free market evaluation as a way of getting your business. Most will do a full Comparative Market Analysis to look at what similar homes are selling for, how long sales are taking, and how the sale price compares to the listing price. And since they have access to all of the neighborhood listings and sales information, they can prepare a (usually) fairly accurate valuation of what you may be able to sell your home for. 

If you are thinking of going this route, talk to more than one realtor to make sure you are getting consistent information. 

Real Estate Appraisal

For a few hundred dollars, you can have a full real estate appraisal completed by a certified appraiser. And although you’ll be out of pocket on the front end, you may be able to get more than your money back when you sell. 

Real Estate Appraisers are highly specialized professionals who take a much deeper dive than either yourself or a real estate agent will. They look at, among other things:

  • Where the home is located;
  • Condition of the utility services and fixtures;
  • The foundation of the home;
  • What condition the heating and air systems are in, as well as walls, windows, doors and appliances;
  • Special features such as fireplaces, pools and hot tubs; and
  • Signs of damage to the home or structural foundations or if there are any issues in the attic or basement.
  • All other features, fixtures and equipment in the home and on the property.

Why it Matters

Whichever route you choose to evaluate your home, make sure you are comfortable with the methods used to arrive at the listing price. If the evaluation is too high, you’ll lose potential buyers who don’t see the value. If the evaluation is too low and you list the home too low, you may lose out on thousands of dollars on the sale. On the flip side, and in a seller’s market, if you list a little bit lower than the actual value, you could end up with multiple offers and still come out ahead of where you wanted to be.

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