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13 Secrets Real Estate Agents Wish You Knew

Thinking of putting your house on the market? These expert tips from realtors can help you get the most for your property.

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Choose the right renovations

Putting your house on the market? “Big-ticket items like a new roof, windows or a furnace add the most value,” says Barb Sukkau, president of the Canadian Real Estate Association.

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Keep it clean

If you think staged homes look impersonal, that’s the whole point—you want your buyer to imagine themselves living in your house. Be ruthlessly unsentimental about packing away knick-knacks and family photos—kill all clutter.

Don’t miss this room-by-room guide to decluttering your home.

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Fix little signs of wear and tear

Even scuff marks and chipped baseboards. Even if your home is otherwise in great shape, the buyer may perceive it as needing work, which could hurt you in price negotiations.

Here are 13 things home inspectors wish you knew.

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Tell your selling agent everything about your home

Any flaws you knowingly conceal—lead in the drinking water, for instance—could come back to haunt you later in the form of a lawsuit.

Check out these decorating tips that can help sell your home fast.

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Choose your price wisely

Consider setting a price that’s slightly below the market value for your area. This can help generate offers for your listing, creating a buzz that could result in a bidding war.

Here are 17 clever home improvement tips under $200.

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Don’t limit yourself to popular times

Spring is the traditional start of house-hunting season, but as a buyer, you’ll find deals if you purchase during the colder months. “A home listed in the fall often means the seller has to move, rather than just wants to move,” Sukkau says. “Sellers tend to be more motivated from October to December.”

Avoid these home renovation mistakes if you want to sell.

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Be flexible

If an agent tries to take you to every house on the market, no matter how unsuitable, beware. That said, says Sukkau, stay open-minded. “Buyers often tell me they want a certain thing but end up buying something else,” she says. “Broadening your parameters can lead to a great find.”

Here are seven downsizing tips you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Stick to your budget

Resist the urge to look at homes beyond your price range, even if the market is red-hot. Those monthly mortgage payments are relentless and they add up over time.

Don’t miss these five common financial problems—solved!

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Bid like a pro

How to survive a bidding war on your dream home: an experienced agent can guide you through these negotiations, but make sure to arrive with a pre-approval letter from your lender, and include an escalation clause to limit how high you’ll go.

Don’t forget these 25 things you need to do when you move into your new home.

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Go for an emotional appeal

If you’ve got your heart set on a property but can’t afford to outbid other buyers, try your luck appealing to the seller’s emotions. With your offer, include a “love letter” explaining what the home would mean to you, stressing how much you value what they’ve put into it and what you could bring to the community.

Discover the 50 biggest regrets first-time home buyers have.

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Trust the pros

A small minority of homes sold in Canada change hands in “for sale by owner” transactions. The biggest motivation: sellers want to save money on agent commissions, though there are pitfalls aplenty. “Real estate is a complicated transaction,” says Sukkau.“It’s also difficult to price a home and market it properly without an experienced agent’s help.”

Mike Holmes reveals the one mistake all home-buyers make.

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Realtors aren’t always pulling in fat commissions

In Ontario, the standard is around five per cent of the purchase price, split between buying and selling agents.

Check out these things all homeowners should do once a week.

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Commissions are always negotiable

According to Sukkau they depend on the services provided and the market. Full-service agents may provide professional staging, photography, drone flyovers and other tricks to gussy up your listing, but you’ll pay far less for a more bare-bones approach.

Next, here are 13 helpful hints from Canadian contractors.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada