A cornerstone of our lives, whether we realize it or not… is our home. Yet selling or buying one is a big financial decision that usually takes place without a clear view of future. Believing that what you are doing is the right thing is comforting. But knowing is always better.
It is my conviction that knowing is always better than believing. Yet without knowing, we do this transaction a lot. More often than we think: More than 65,000 housing units were sold in Ontario in 2008, at an average price of $275,000. That’s almost double the number from 20 years earlier, when 36,000 homes were sold at an average of $140,000.
Given that we do this for reasons that are usually inside our control, though sometimes outside, we all pine for the ability to see into the future. It’s safe to say we’d all be über-millionaires if we could just see into tomorrow, let alone the next hour. But real estate, whether as a home or an investment, works on a different schedule… and it is measured in years.
Live In The Now
It’s not always easy to make your purchase or sale intelligently in the “present” context. The future weighs heavily on our minds. “Should I buy now or later?” we ask ourselves. “Should I sell now or later? When is the ‘right’ time?”
Until a time machine is built, human beings will be saddled with this frustrating issue: we just don’t know. It’s for much the same reason that guesswork, in essence, drives many financial transactions. In the stock market, traders “feel” or “speculate” that things will go one way or another and react accordingly and these decisions cause the market to swing wildly.
Whereas an investment is the act of spending money with the intention of producing returns, the reality is that most ventured funds are technically based on speculation. And the stock market, as we know, is affected by rapid change: consumer tastes, economic conditions, perceptions of a stock’s worth, and market timing.
The real estate market, though generally considered a more stable investment, might mimic this speculation to an extent – with properly marketed properties. History has shown that housing prices in a specific area can turn on a dime; if enough people feel there’s a market for buying and selling them, that market is created. (The recent housing boom and subsequent crash is but one example.)
Doing The Right Thing
The key in any transaction, and specifically in real estate, is to have confidence. In my advocacy practice, where I represent, protect and educate buyers, it is all about buying the house right. (The lesson here, as in my husband’s aviation world, is that once you own the airplane, it is too late.) You only make money on the transaction when you buy right.
Buying a home is the same thing – unless, of course, you have a lot of time on your hands and enjoy renovations. For sellers, imagine knowing how to price it right so that you achieved your goals, when you wanted to. In out area, a great sale happens within one or two months, a good sale within two to six months, but the best sale happens when you need it to. The key, like we discussed last week, is pricing your home so that within a defined time period, the property garners enough interest that it gets sold.
Your Best Interests Covered
Okay, I’ll admit I don’t have a crystal ball. But I can offer the next best thing: let’s take it one step further and check out the three things you will get with me.
As a buyer, you’re entitled to pure advocacy for free: the buyer agent is a free service that prevents conflicts of interest. You’ll also get knowledge: having personally sold a lot of property that I also renovated myself. There’s also negotiation: getting your purchase price adjusted for the unknowns (remember: no crystal ball) or issues found during the home inspection are strengths that buyers benefit from.
As a seller, I’ll help you figure out how to isolate your likely buyers, depending on the current market conditions and recent sales trends. You’ll learn how to price your home right: establishing a value that’s attractive to the buyer and allows you to get what you expect and need. Most important, having an agent helps you stage and manage the showing and presentation of your home – so that your best foot is always forward.