Sold In ONE Day?

The market may not be red-hot anymore, but it’s not to say that properties aren’t still bought and sold every day of the week.

While some properties may linger on the market for what seems like an eternity, others may turn over faster than you’d believe.

Yesterday, my clients and I sold their condo after one day on the market, and for full asking price

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I’m not telling this story in attempts to paint the whole market with a single, happy brush stroke, but rather to demonstrate that there IS a difference between “Method-A” and “Method-B” when it comes to selling real estate under our current market conditions.

Case in point, my listing at King George Square in the heart of the St. Lawrence Market neighborhood.

My sellers had been contemplating a move for some time now, and they approached me in January to inform me that their time had finally arrived.

Despite what some cynics might otherwise suggest, all condos are NOT created equal, and luckily this was a beautiful condo in a great area of the city.

I had a plan in place, and it was specific for this unit, this building, and this neighborhood.

If you have a cookie-cutter condo at CityPlace, God help you.  I have a ton of faith in my abilities as a Realtor and I think I’m very good at what I do, but I honestly have no idea how to sell Unit #8,750 out of 19,500 in CityPlace…

We put together a selling-strategy that took into account three variables:
1. Timing
2. Staging
3. Pricing

Keep in mind that all three facets of this strategy are interrelated.

Timing
Some people are of the mindset that Spring will bring about a slight change in the market place when buyers are a little more content with the weather, sunshine, and all around aura of the non-winter months that we’ve grown to loathe in Toronto.  But others have suggested that the market might continue to decline.

Ideally, we would have listed this property in May when we could feature the private 200 square foot terrace in all its glory by setting up a patio table and chairs, and planting a vast array of flowers, shrubs, and anything green.  But my sellers didn’t have until May.

So we decided that the right time would be either when there was nothing available for sale at King George Square, or when something overpriced was sitting on the market.

Luckily, there was a very similar unit for sale upstairs which had been overpriced and was now in its third month of rotting on the market.

My sellers are rational, intelligent people, and when I told them “Your condo is worth $319,900,” they never said, “Great….let’s list it at $329,000.”  They were willing to accept fair market value, and lucky for us, the much inferior unit upstairs was listed at $329,000, and made ours look like a steal.

We used the timing of the other listing to our advantage.

Staging
When I first met Greg & Tamara, it was hard to focus on explaining the ins and outs of our current market what with their three-year-old daughter, Ava, stapling pieces of paper together over and over and insisting we accept each one as her “gift” to us.

Selling your property is a huge inconvenience when you are trying to live there at the same time, and with a three-year-old girl on their hands, I simply told Greg & Tamara, “You can’t live here if you’re going to sell.”

They agreed.

Not only did Greg & Tamara move to their parents condo on Frederick Street, but they moved out 90% of their furniture and belongings.  Ava might not have been on legal title, but she definitely had the run of that condo!  There wasn’t a single square foot of the unit that wasn’t covered with a jungle-gym or play-toy.

My sellers cleaned-out the condo, cleaned-up the condo, and left it in pristine condition for buyers to peruse.

Contrast this with the ugly unit upstairs at $329,000, which was empty, dirty, and had warped hardwood floors and holes in the wall, and it made our unit look like even more of a steal.

Pricing
Perhaps I touched on this in the two previous points, but as I said, they’re all interrelated.  Greed is what causes all markets to eventually fall, whether it’s CEO’s manipulating financial statements so they can cash in stock options, or property sellers holding auctions for their houses and pitting buyers against eachother just to make $1 more.

I poured over all the available data for the neighborhood, the building, and their 1-bedroom-plus-den unit, and we determined that $319,900 was a fair price.  Having seen the inferior unit upstairs sit on the market at $329,000, we knew that if we wanted to attract buyers, we needed an attractive price.

My sellers weren’t of the “Let’s try $324,900 for a bit and see what happens” mindset, as they knew that listings are sitting on the market longer and longer these days, and a quick sale is a blessing.

The price was set, the timing was right, and the unit looked great.

And on Tuesday of this past week, the listing went on MLS.

On Wednesday morning, we had an offer.

King George Square is a very popular building, as is the St. Lawrence Market neighborhood itself.  My thinking was that somewhere out there existed a buyer who was just waiting for the right property to come along.  Having seen the crummy unit upstairs, this buyer would jump on our unit.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, I should mention that the initial offer was a verbal $305,000, but that’s where I come into play.

I wasn’t going to settle for anything else than full asking price, and I firmly believe that the cooperating agent talked his way out of any “deal” his client could have ever had.

This agent talked, talked, and talked, and in the process he played his entire hand.

We sensed weakness on the their part, and we weren’t afraid to play for keeps.

The final straw came when the cooperating agent revealed that he would actually be going on vacation the next day, and I knew he’d force any offer down his client’s throat to ensure getting a deal done before he left.  No agent wants to leave his business in the hands of a colleague while he’s away and pay a 50% referral fee!  Sure enough, by the third time we said “full asking price,” he had his client sign on the line which is dotted.

It’s a great story, but it’s very true that not all sellers are this fortunate.

I just believe that selling your property takes careful planning and strategizing, and the rewards are there for those that work to reap them.

Best of luck to Greg & Tamara, and I’ll always cherish watching Dora The Explorer with Ava during the offer sign-backs…

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  1. Earth Mother says:

    I can totally relate to this story: I sold a used car in one day, at full asking price, to the first buyer, (using Auto Trader as my MLS) — obviously to a buyer who was waiting for the right property and was ready to buy! As for seller’s remorse: could I have got more?? or could I be waiting around for months trying to unload it?? better to have the money and move on with life!!

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