Passionate. Committed. Connected.
Buying or selling on Salt Spring? Book an appointment with Sandra Smith today.
“I am thrilled to help you find your ideal island real estate. It is my personal goal to exceed your expectations with hard work and integrity.”
WHY USE A REALTOR
The sale of a home is the largest financial transaction in which many of us will ever be involved. It is important that you fully understand the process as well as all the documents involved. Selling your home is a major event! This section is intended to help you become an informed consumer and understand the role of your realtor and its importance.
COMPREHENSIVE MARKET ANALYSIS (CMA)
As a complimentary service, Sandra Smith will complete a comprehensive market analysis of your home, using comparison and cost analysis. It is important the home is priced right and to ensure this, careful market research must be done. Sandra is happy to undertake a market evaluation of your home at any time.
Marketing is key to selling your home. As your realtor, Sandra Smith will have a comprehensive plan to offer, including use of quality photos, the internet, and print advertising.
Only photos that bring out the best attributes of your property will be used and Sandra Smith can offer an extensive photography shoot using a well known island photographer.
Promotion via internet web sites is an absolute necessity when selling real estate on Salt Spring. It is important that your realtor has a quality site that can be found by buyers. Prominent web advertising gives your home 24-hour exposure, 7 days a week, to a world of possible buyers. If you list with Sandra Smith your home will be featured on the following sites:
www.saltspringhomefinder.com: this site has been designed for search engine optimization. A good website is more than just visually appealing. The content must be good enough to be found by search engines. Traffic to this site will continue to increase with the help of services.
www.saltspringmarket.com: this is one of Salt Spring’s most active web sites, with over 10,000 visits per month. Not only is www.saltspringhomefinder.com linked to this site, but it is done so with a banner advertisement.
www.saltspringtoday.com: as the Salt Spring Island Chamber of Commerce website, this is another high traffic site. Sandra is a member of the chamber and also has a direct real estate link on this site.
www.gulfislands.net: this is the site of our local Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper. Your home will be seen here as all houses and property featured in the newspaper’s booklet Real Estate: Your Real Estate Source Book For the Gulf Islands, will also be shown on the website.
www.mls.ca: All Multiple Listings are placed on the MLS web site.
Other smaller links are also being developed all the time, as ongoing research pinpoints the best markets for your home.
TRADITIONAL PRINT ADVERTISING
Sandra Smith also believes in the importance of print advertising, and will not compromise on quality. Traditional print advertising will occur in:
REAL ESTATE: YOUR REAL ESTATE SOURCEBOOK FOR THE GULF ISLANDS
This is a monthly real estate magazine that covers all the Gulf Islands and is prominently displayed at ferries and throughout the island with a distribution of 13,500.
GULF ISLANDS DRIFTWOOD & THE VANCOUVER SUN
The Driftwood may introduce your listing in Aqua or in the weekly publication or The Vancouver Sun Business Section is utilized once a week on a rotating basis.
Distribution of home brochures are extensive, predominantly through electronic means. Quality feature sheets are distributed to offices on Salt Spring Island as well as being placed on the multiple listing service for viewing and printing by viewers wordwide. Brochures of properties for sale are also featured on Sandra’s own site www.SaltspringHomeFinder.com.
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WHAT IS AGENCY?
(Information taken from “Working With a Realtor” Brochure)
When you choose to work with a realtor, your legal relationship is referred to as agency. In the agency relationship you are the principal and your agent is the company under which an individual salesperson is licensed. In the agent relationship two things can happen: one agent acts for the buyer and one agent acts for the seller; or one agent represents both in dual agency.
ONE AGENT ACTS FOR THE BUYER, ONE AGENT ACTS FOR THE SELLER
When a seller lists his or her property with a licensee, the licensee becomes an agent to the seller. As the seller, you become the principal and the licensee becomes your agent. A buyer also selects a licensee to be his or her agent. Agents are legally obligated to protect and promote the interests of the principal as they would their own. An agent has the following duties :
1) Undivided loyalty: agents must disclose all known facts to their principals and protect the principals’ negotiating power at times
2) To obey all lawful instructions to the principal.
3) An obligation to keep the confidences of the principal.
4) To exercise reasonable care and skill in performing all assigned duties.
5) The duty to account for all property and money placed in the agent’s hands.
Occurs when the real estate company is representing both the buyer and seller at the same time. It is important to note that both buyer and seller may be represented by different licensees, but if they are employed by the same real estate company this is dual agency. This forms a conflict as the company has promised full disclosure, loyalty, and confidentiality to both parties simultaneously. With the consent of both parties these duties can become limited.
FORMING A LIMITED DUAL AGENCY
This new relationship involves the following limitations:
1) The agent will deal with the buyer and seller impartially
2) The agent will have a duty of full disclosure to both the buyer and seller except for:
a) price: the agent will not reveal the seller’s floor price, or the buyer’s ceiling price.
b) motivation: the agent will not disclose any particular motivation factors of either party.
c) personal information: the agent will not disclose personal information to either the buyer or seller unless authorized to do so in writing.
3) The agent will disclose any physical defects to the buyer that the agent is aware of.
***As noted, your consent is needed for dual agency. If you, as seller, decline this relationship, the buyer will be referred to another agency. ***
TOP RENOVATIONS & RESALE VALUE
If you are thinking of renovating for the purposes of resale you will find this list interesting. When renovating for resale it is a good idea to go with neutral colours throughout your home. The Appraisal Institute of Canada has highlighted the top 10 renovations and their average rate of return at resale:
* Interior Painting – 73%
* Kitchen Renovation – 72%
* Bathroom Renovation – 68%
* Exterior Paint – 65%
* Window/Door Replacement – 57%
* Main Floor Family Room Addition – 51%
* Fireplace Addition – 50%
* Basement Renovation – 49%
* Furnace/Heating System Replacement – 48%
IN THE OPINION OF CANADA’S PROFESSIONAL REAL PROPERTY VALUES, THE TOP TRENDS IN HOME RENOVATION IN 2004 WERE:
1. Home theatre room
2. Hardwood flooring in kitchen
3. Main floor laundry room
4. Use of non- neutral interior paint colours
5. Installing a jacuzzi or whirlpool bath
6. Built in kitchen appliances
7. Ground floor office
8. Addition of island in kitchen
SIX LOWEST PAY BACK POTENTIALS:
* Landscaping (25-30%)
* Interlocking paving (25-50%)
* Building a fence (25-50)
* Asphalt paving (20-50%)
* Adding a swimming pool (10-40%)
* Installing a skylight (0-25%)
THE SELLING PROCESS
THE LISTING CONTRACT
There are two basic types or real estate listing agreements: the Exclusive Listing and the Multiple Listing
The Exclusive Listing gives the seller’s agent the sole or exclusive right to sell your property.
The Multiple Listing: This is the most common type of listing. In the Multiple Listing Agreement, the seller’s agent agrees to register the property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLSTM) . This makes the listing available to all licensees who are members of the local real estate board. In this situation, the listing agent agrees to share a specified amount of commission with any other licensee who is able to find a buyer.
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SELLER
As a seller you are to supply your agent with accurate information about your home, including its age, condition of the roof, appliances, property taxes, etc. A Property Disclosure Statement is to be filled out by all sellers who wish to have a Multiple Listing Agreement. When selling your home honesty is the best policy. If in doubt, disclose.
Your home has been marketed, and now you are being presented with an offer to purchase. Do not be surprised if you are presented with some offers that differ dramatically from list price. Your agent has an obligation to present all offers to you for consideration. If several offers are presented to you at once, you are under no obligation to accept any one offer over another.
YOU HAVE THREE OPTIONS
1) ACCEPT THE OFFER AS IT IS PRESENTED
You are happy with the offer and its terms. Once you sign the Contract to Purchase and Sale agreeing to its terms, and it has been conveyed to the buyer, it becomes a legally binding contract.
2) MAKE A COUNTER-OFFER
If you make any changes to the original offer you are in fact presenting a new offer to the buyer. If the buyer declines your offer, you cannot enforce their original offer. The buyer may decide to counter your counter-offer, and this process may go back and forth a few times before an agreement is reached.
3) REJECT THE OFFER
You are not obligated to accept any offer or to make a counter-offer. However, if you reject an offer that meets the exact terms of your listing contract you may be obligated to pay a commission. You may want to discuss this with your agent.
*** It is important to realize that an offer that is presented to you by a buyer can be revoked at any time prior to the communication of your acceptance.***
A subject clause is a specific condition that calls for the happening of some event or the performance of some act before the contract shall be binding upon the parties. While many subjects may be encountered the most common are:
1) SUBJECT TO FINANCING
The buyers make the sale conditional upon their finding the financing under their desired terms. It is important that this is met in a specified time, as you are essentially taking your home off the market while you wait for the buyer to remove subjects.
2) SUBJECT TO BUILDING INSPECTION & APPROVAL
This can be subjective in nature and is best to be presented in an objective and specific manner (ex. subject to buyers arranging building inspection and no defects are found that amount to over $5000). It is important that this is met in a specified amount of time in accordance with the contract.
3) SUBJECT TO BUYERS SELLING THEIR HOME
This is often a subject that cannot be removed within a week therefore it is very important to insert a time clause. This way you can still consider other offers and enforce the time clause if another offer should come in that you would like to accept. This time clause leaves you, the buyer, in control of the transaction.
FINANCING OPTIONS TO OFFER THE BUYER
You may be in a situation where you will be faced with a large interest penalty to pay out your mortgage early. If your mortgage has an attractive term with lower than market interest rates this can be a selling feature.
It is important to ensure that your mortgage lender will release you from future obligations if the buyer defaults on the mortgage.
This will change the market value of your offer. If the going market rate is higher than the market value of the assumable portion of your mortgage the market value of the offer will be lower. Your agent is able to calculate the difference and you should insist that her or she do so. This is the only way you can make an informed decision.
VENDOR FINANCING OR VENDOR TAKE BACK MORTGAGE
In this situation you, the seller, become the mortgagee and the buyer becomes the mortgagor. You need to think about whether you want to be responsible for collecting payments for an extended period of time. You also want to ensure that your buyer has a good credit rating, and verify the buyer’s source of income. This route is definitely not for everyone but some people see this as a good, solid investment.
Like the Assumable Mortgage, a Vendor Take Back Mortgage requires some calculations to come up with the actual market value of the offer. You should insist this is done so you can make an accurate informed decision.
TIPS ON GETTING YOUR HOME READY
GET IT CLEAN
Take the time to wash walls, windows and steam clean carpets. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms — they are often the rooms that sell your home.
CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER
Have a yard sale and donate to your local thrift stores. You are going to be moving and anything given away or sold will not have to be packed. Keep closets clean and organized. Store extra furniture in a storage locker. If you have too much stuff crammed into your home, it may appear to potential buyers that the home is small and cramped. You want to create an illusion of space.
Adding a fresh coat of paint is a sure way to brighten up your home. Keep your colours neutral.
A WELCOMING ENTRY WAY
Your entrance way should give a warm welcome to potential buyers. Keep it clear of clutter. The smell of fresh baking is a welcome treat and fresh flowers will brighten up any room. You want your buyer to want to feel at home.
While we don’t have to live up to city standards here on Salt Spring Island, curb appeal is still important. We are not expected to have a golf course-like turf for our front lawn, however you do need to keep lawns mowed, gardens weeded and children’s outdoor toys stored neatly away. Any accumulated garbage should be hauled away — otherwise it will probably become subject to an offer. You will need to deal with it sooner or later. Doing it beforehand allows your property to look its best.
TRY NOT TO BE HOME
Home buyers will feel like intruders if you are home when they come to view. They will not be able to openly discuss issues of your home with their partner and or agent.
If you are unable to take your pets with you when your house is being shown, be sure to have them outside and contained. This can be a stressful situation for your dog and potential buyers. Be sure to put such things as litter boxes out of sight and smell.
In the winter have the fireplace lit and in the summer have windows open to let in the fresh air. Always have the curtains open and lights on.
It is important that your home be available for showing. Salt Spring Island attracts a world market. Often buyers are only here for a short period while they shop for a home. If your home is not available for showing, you may miss out on a possible sale.
REAL ESTATE COMMISSION
This is the commission you have agreed to pay for the marketing and selling of your home. This commission is normally shared between the listing and selling agent with some commission going to the brokerage they belong to.
While the transferring of title is paid for by the buyer, a seller will be responsible for legal fees to discharge any existing mortgage.
GOODS & SERVICES TAX
As the seller you will pay the Goods and Services Tax on real estate commission and legal fees.
If your mortgage is not portable and you are paying out your mortgage early, you may be responsible for a prepayment penalty. Normally, this will be equivalent to three months interest but consult with your lender to be sure.
If the property taxes have not been paid for the year, or if you have any outstanding penalties, these will be subtracted off of your final cash proceeds and distributed to you by your lawyer or notary. They will figure out exactly what portion of the taxes you are responsible for based on your adjustment date. However, if you have paid the taxes for the year, the buyer will be paying you for his or her share of the year.
Ready to make a move?
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