Homeowners in Toronto’s hectic real estate market have had no trouble selling their homes over the last few years. Limited supply, massive demand, and skyrocketing population have contributed to a frenzy of activity that’s only just begun to slow down.
Now, our seller’s market is leaning more towards a balanced market. Many home sellers are wondering whether they missed their chance to get early-2017 pricing.
The answer is no – with a little strategy. Planning a smart sale and understanding what’s motivating the post-summer market can make all the difference in the success of your sale.
The Fair Housing Plan Ripple
In April, Ontario introduced new legislation aimed at curbing overvaluation and speculation in the province, and, notably, the GTA. The measures caused a drop in buyer confidence, which has since begun to regain steam.
The plan included:
- Expanding rent control to all private rental units, which previously were only applied to units built before 1991
- A funded program to support new construction of dedicated rental apartments
- Introducing a foreign investors’ and speculators’ tax of 15%
- Allowing municipalities to introduce their own vacant home tax
- An updated Growth Plan to address low supply of larger units
How Has It Affected Housing?
Some planned rental units have been converted to condos in the wake of the change. This isn’t great news for renters, who make up about 50% of Toronto’s residents and who are seeing a rental unit shortage right now.
This means if you’re selling a home with a rental unit or an in-law suite, it’s a great time to sell. Rental units are guaranteed income for many buyers, and the rental squeeze makes this kind of housing even more desirable – even with rent control measures.
The uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of the Fair Housing Plan’s introduction has waned, too. Between April and September, there was a quick drop in the number of sales, which led to a spike in inventory. Now, newly-released Toronto Real Estate Board numbers show that home sales are up month-over-month from both August to September, and September to October.
A good balance between the number of homes for sale and the available inventory indicates a well-balanced market – not a bad thing for sellers, just a little different than the frenzy of early 2017.
Make Your Home Appealing to Buyers
To sell successfully in a balanced market, your home needs to stand out from the competition, and be an attractive investment for the long-term.
Most buyers are looking for homes that are move-in-ready and in desirable neighbourhoods. Strategic pricing, preparation, and staging can make your home stand out in the market.
Up until the Fair Housing Plan, houses in the city were selling for well over asking. Now, your pricing must be a little more competitive and hover closer to market value in order to generate offers. Multiple offer scenarios are still common, but strategic pricing can help coax out additional buyers to get you the best price.
Your home needs to appear well-cared-for to appeal to the broadest range of buyers. Repairing small issues like wonky sliding drawers, broken handles, wobbly bannisters, and wall holes make a big difference in a buyer’s opinion of the state of your home.
You’ll likely have to deal with big-ticket fixes, too, now that some offers are coming in with conditions again. I recommend (and always include in my listing contracts) getting a private home inspection done ahead of listing your property so you can address or at least be aware of on major issues with your home.
It also shows buyers that you’ve done your due diligence, making it easier to score offers. Most buyers aren’t looking for fixer-uppers, and instead, want a move-in ready home, and so offering that will improve your sale price.
Staging is the art of helping a buyer imagine themselves living in a home. Often, the first step is removing as many of your things as possible – at least half – and then hiring a designer or using a real estate agent’s professional team to help stage your home (that’s me!).
The key is to make your home appear lived-in, but impersonal. Trendy furniture and decorative touches will draw attention to desirable features of your home.
Staging helps buyers imagine themselves living an amazing lifestyle in your home, like sipping espresso in a breakfast nook, or curling up with a good book next to a fireplace or Bay window.
Putting Your Home Up For Sale
If you’re thinking of selling your home and are wondering if now is the right time, I’m here to answer your questions. Worried you’ve missed the window and there isn’t enough time? Drop me an email to receive my free, no obligation guide “How to Prepare Your Toronto Home for Sale in 10 days or less!”
Thanks for reading,