Thinking of selling your condo in the Waterloo Region?
Read below to learn what it takes to sell your condo for top dollar.
Step #1 - Timing is Everything - Decide the Right Time To Sell Your Condo
Pinpointing when to sell your condominium will be based on many different considerations, including:
Comparable listings in your building – The quantity, quality and list price of the current comparable units listed in your condo building must be considered.
Time of year – Real estate in the Waterloo Region, as in most markets, is seasonal. With December and January generally being slower months. However, there is surely something to be said for listing your condo when competition is at a low point and inventory is low.
State of the real estate market – Consumer confidence and interest rates may affect the price of your condo.
What’s Motivating you? – If you’re moving out of the region or have already purchased a new property, then that time line will likely trump all else when considering the sale of your property.
Current competition for comparable condos in comparable buildings – While less important than what’s going on in your building, if you have a one bed+ den and there are more on the market than usual, that will impact how long it takes your condo to sell.
Step #2: Get your condo ready to hit the market
When preparing your condo for sale, its important to consider these 3 goals:
One of the biggest challenges of condo living is space. Its important to utilize and emphasize each square foot as much as possible. This can be achieved by decluttering. When decluttering, the goal is to make the space look as big as possible. Remove all personal items, bulky furniture and anything that could distract possible Buyers. Smaller furniture makes the rooms within your condo look bigger. A good tip when trying to make a bedroom look larger is to consider switching your large king-sized bed that takes up the whole room for a smaller one. In the living room, a good idea is to replace the L-shaped couch consuming the entire space with a more compact version.
Make sure every room is presented to its optimal use. For example, if you have been using your second bedroom as a walk-in closet, it’s important to convert it back to be a bedroom during the listing. Buyers often have a hard time imagining things, so put a dining table in the dining room and a bed in the bedroom.
The cleaner your condo is, the better and faster it will sell. Buyers typically look beyond the surface – they’ll look inside your closets, your kitchen cupboards and your bathroom vanity. Make sure everything shines!
Special Considerations for Condos
Storage within a condo is something that is of utmost importance to buyers. You want to make your condo appear abundantly spacious. This can be achieved by keeping seasonal clothing offsite, getting rid of any doubled-up cookware or kitchen appliances, and by cutting down your number of toiletries. Generally, try to remain at 3/4 full as a good guideline.
Parking and Lockers are a valuable part of what you’re selling. Don’t use them as a dumping ground for all additional belongings. These areas will be shown to buyers and it is important to maintain them.
Smell Matters. It is important to avoid cooking any foods with strong odors when your condo is for sale. Smells can linger and put buyers off. Pet areas such as the litter box should be cleaned at least twice a day. If you smoke inside the condo – STOP. If you have smoked inside the condo in the past, devices such ‘smoke bombs’ can be purchased to take the smell away. Other helpful tricks such as carpet and window covering cleaning, and a new coat of paint can go a long way to eliminating odors.
Neighbours. It’s a good idea to let the neighbors around you know that you’re selling! Hopefully if they are made aware they will be considerate throughout the selling process (e.g. no loud music during showing hours). if you get a good price, that’ll help their value too!
Step #3: Pricing Your Condo for Sale
Attempting to pinpoint the value of a condominium is often much easier than valuating a house. This is generally because within a condo, there are likely identical or nearly identical units which have sold in your building. When determining the value of a condo, realtors and appraisers figure out the price per square foot of recent sales and use that as a bench mark when providing a value for your condo. For example, an 800 sqft condo may be worth $900 per square foot or $720,000.
It’s important to note:
Diminishing per square foot returns on size – the larger the condominium, the lower the cost per square foot. Each square foot becomes less valuable as there are more of them.
Height Matters – the higher the floor, the higher the cost per square foot. Buyers are willing to pay more money for a condo on a higher level.
The view SELLS – the better the view, the higher the cost per square foot (views can be extremely valuable, especially if they are of a landmark or natural area).
Exposure Matters – Whether the unit faces south, north, east or west will impact value of your condo.
While past sale prices of comparable units in your building are often the key in considering the value of your condo, your realtor will also evaluate the units that are currently for sale (your competition), as well as recent sales in similar nearby buildings.
When it comes time to determine a pricing strategy for the sale of your condo, there are various routes one may take. You can price for a bidding war, price at market value or price above market value and leave room for negotiation. It’s Important to keep in mind:
1. Supply and Demand – As there are typically units within a condo building that are identical or near identical, Buyers might not feel the desperation that they often feel when purchasing a house. They often think if they miss out on this condo, there will likely be another similar one on the market soon enough.
2. Less Emotional Connection – House Buyers fall in love, for example, with the original crown mouldings lining a century home, perfectly professionally manicured landscaped backyard, or impeccable location of a particular house. As condos are typically all more similar than they are different, they usually don’t create the same emotional reaction in buyers.
Other factors that may affect the price of your condo:
Renovations – Renovations do not tend to add value to newer condos, however do add value when considering an older condo.
Builder Upgrades – Upgrades from the builder generally do not add as much value as you pay for them, however the upgrades do differentiate you from other condos that are for sale.
Ceiling height – The higher the better.
Maintenance fees – If the cost of maintenance fees are your condo are higher than average, sale prices will typically be lower.
Parking – generally adds between $25,000 and $50,000 to the price of a condo located downtown.
Locker or en-suite storage – in high demand.
Outdoor space – Buyers often are willing to pay more for features such as balconies and terraces. They are in high demand.
Amenities in the building – Often times buyers will opt out of buildings with amenities as they often result in higher maintenance fees, while other buyers want all the bells and whistles (concierge, pool, theatre room, extra parking).
LOCATION IS EVERYTHING
Renter to Owner Ratio – Buyers often prefer to purchase within buildings where the majority of people living there are owners.
Reputation of the building – Resident demographics, construction quality, legal issues, and the effectiveness of the board of directors all have impact on the price of a condo.
Step #4: Marketing
One of the most important jobs of your real estate professional is assuring that potential buyers see your condo. With thousands of condos for sale in your marketplace, its of critical importance to make sure your condo stances out above the rest. A marketing campaign for a condo greatly differs than one for a house in the following ways:
As condos are much smaller than most houses, capturing photos and videos can be a challenge. Working with an experienced photographer / videographer with access to wide-angle lenses allows for the room to appear bigger than it truly is in the photos. If your realtor suggests they take the photos themselves, HIT THE ROAD!
Grabbing the attention of buyers online is very important when selling a condo. Unless your unit is on the first few floors or facing a very busy street, a for sale sign is useless!
As some condominium buildings don’t allow for open houses (for safety reasons), your realtor can arrange for viewings for interested buyers via appointment!
Step #5: Showings
When Buyers make an appointment to view your condo, keep the following in mind:
Leave the condo! Buyers find it very distracting when they have to walk around the owner.
Ensure flexibility with showing times – Due to high levels of competition in the market, its important to make it easy for buyers to see your condo.
If your condo is occupied by a tenant, a notice of at least 24 hours will need to be provided for all showings. If the sale is quick, it will be less intrusive for your tenant, so their cooperation in maintaining cleanliness and de-cluttering will go a long way.
It’s important for buyers to have easy access to the building facilities. A good way to assure this is to make sure the realtors have access to a FOB so they can show your facilities!
Step #6: Offers
You can generally expect to see offers with two conditions when selling a condo:
A financing condition, which allows the Buyer to confirm their mortgage qualifications with a lender.
Status certificate condition, which allows the Buyer’s lawyer to review the condominium documents to ensure that it is sound legally and financially.
Your realtor will negotiate any offers you receive, but the final decision regarding what to accept – price, closing date, etc. – are yours to make!
Step #7: Closing Day
As closing day gets closer, you’ll need to make sure to:
If you can, book the elevator for your move out. Do this early because there are usually time and day restrictions!
Inform your property manager that you are moving and cancel your monthly maintenance fees.
Inform utility companies of your impending move.