How to Sell Your Home in Alberta’s Tough Real Estate Market


Earlier this month, we wrote about how the time is right if you’re looking to buy a home in Alberta. Housing has become more affordable in recent months, due in part to the drop in oil prices, and mortgage interest rates have fallen as well, making this a great time to get into the housing market.

So where does this leave sellers, then? Recent real estate reports show that listings for June and July of 2015 have increased since years past, but sales are slowing down compared to previous years. So, notwithstanding claims by economists that Alberta’s housing market is prepared to weather the storm, it looks like the housing market in Alberta will be favouring buyers, at least for the foreseeable future.

Sellers shouldn’t be too discouraged, though. If you’re planning on selling your home right now, there are several things you can do to attract buyers and potentially increase the value of your property.

Do the Buyers’ Work for Them

Right now, buyers have more options before them than normal, which means that many people will be more inclined to wait for their dream property, even if that means shopping around for several months before they make an offer. As a seller, your job is to do as much of the work for them so that you can convince them that your property is worth bidding on right away.

How can you do this? First, it’s a good idea to get a pre-sale home inspection. This will help you identify any parts of your home that may be in need of repair or replacement. Then, if you have the budget for it, go ahead and do the repairs yourself. This will help set your house apart from similar properties in your area. (Be sure to make any upgrades neutral and buyer-friendly, however – you don’t want to discourage people who have a different personal style than you.)

Even if you don’t have the budget to make the repairs right away, you can still use the inspection report to show buyers exactly what will need fixing if they decide to buy your home.

Proper cleaning and staging will also go a long way towards convincing someone that your home is their new dream home. Removing clutter and personal items will help buyers picture themselves living in your house, and if you can afford it, hiring a staging company can be a big benefit as well, as professional stagers know exactly what needs to be done so that your house attracts the right buyer.

Start Selling Your House Before It Goes on the Market

In a buyer’s market, properties will often sit on the market for several months before they sell. The longer your property sits on the market, the lower your chances of reaching your full asking price. In order to avoid this situation, real estate agents can “pre-market” a home in order to start building buzz around it before it goes on the market officially.

Realtors will often send out these “pocket” listings to their social networks, which will let buyers know that your home will be coming on the market soon, but is not available yet. Then, based on the response, your agent should get a better idea of whether or not your property is priced right for the current market, and can adjust the asking price as needed. This usually helps to diminish the time that a property sits on the market before it sells, which will then increase your chances of receiving a full asking price offer.

Make a Strong First Impression Online

Since buyers have so many choices right now, it’s important that your property makes a good first impression before buyers see it in person. Since almost everybody shops for homes online right now, this means harnessing the power of the Internet to make your property look as appealing as possible. High quality photos are a must, and for higher priced properties, a video tour and even a 3D tour can help your property stand out from the rest. Many people these days are also shopping for a home from their mobile device, so make sure any media you include with your listing is optimized for both web and mobile usage.

Also, make sure you’re reaching out to potential buyers in as many ways as possible online. These days, it’s not enough to simply have your property listed on the online MLS, so make sure your real estate agent is sending your listing out to as many social media and online networks as they can.

Selling your house in Alberta may not be as easy right now as it has been in recent years, but if you’re willing to put in the work, you should still be able to get a fair price for what you’re offering.

Many buyers will be hesitant right now, so anything you can do to shorten the gap between the looking process and the buying process will make a big difference in terms of the types of offers you get.

Are you a newcomer to the Canadian housing market? Use our first time home buying guide to help you through the buying and selling process, or contact one of our brokers for more information.

President of First Foundation Residential Mortgages and First Foundation Insurance. Live in Edmonton but cheer for the Riders. I have lots of kids. Follow me on Twitter @gordmccallum

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