What’s the fastest way to sell your home

A lot of people ask us how long it usually takes to sell a home on saskhouses.com compared with selling a home through the MLS system.

The truth is, there really isn’t any way to give an honest answer about how long you should expect your sale to take, because there is no way to actually know, no matter how you decide to sell.

Both the MLS system and saskhouses.com keep track of  “Average Number of Days to Sell” based on the Number of Days on the Market until each Sale is reported, but those numbers don’t include the houses which don’t sell, and there are lots of those. In the past year, for example, more than half of the homes posted on MLS, and on saskhouses.com, did not sell at all. It’s a buyer’s market right now, there is lots to choose from, and while many houses have sold, many others are still on the market.

The most common mistake we see from our sellers is this. Some people tell us they will try saskhouses.com for 2 or 3 weeks, and if it doesn’t sell right away, they will then give it to an agent, so it can be sold quickly.

If it doesn’t sell in that initial 2 or 3 week time frame, we often see the seller move to an agent, and more often than not, lower their asking price. Then, we often see the property sit on the MLS system for months, and sometimes, the seller comes back to saskhouses.com after their MLS listing expires.

We have heard from many sellers that they received a better response from their listing on saskhouses.com than they did from the MLS system. Common complaints we hear are that the Agent only wanted the listing, that they didn’t really do anything to try to find a buyer, didn’t hold any Open Houses, and didn’t communicate about what was happening with the sale with the seller.

When the market is in a frenzy, like it was in 2007 & 2008, sales are fast, and easy. Nowadays, you have to work at it. That means pricing your home right, making sure it shows well, and giving buyers every chance you can to see it. And even then, you will likely have to be patient.

The bottom line is that no one knows how long your home sale is going to take, and that how you decide to sell it, is up to you!

8 great reasons to sell your home privately

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1. You have control of the selling process

When most people sell anything other than their home, they sell it themselves. They set an asking price, advertise for buyers, and negotiate the selling price and conditions. It isn’t very difficult. When it comes time to sell their home, many people have been led to believe it is a much different process. But in reality, it isn’t. You need to find a buyer and agree on a price and conditions, the same as selling anything else. And in the case of your home, your most valuable possession, wouldn’t you rather be in control of that process, rather than handing it off to a third party?

2. You don’t have to leave your home every time a buyer wants to come and see it

One of the most frustrating things about using a third party to sell your home is that you have to leave your home every time a buyer wants to come and look at it. Our last experience selling a home through a Real Estate Agent was  when our kids were still young. We would either go for walks in the neighbourhood, or go for drives, stalling for time, waiting for the agents and buyers to leave our house so that we could go back to our home, all the while wondering who was looking at our home, and what they thought about it.

When you sell your home through an Agent, you can expect to be given short notice to get out of your own home so someone can come over to see it. You’ll also be asked to leave for entire afternoons, so an open house can be held without you.

When you sell your home privately, you can schedule open houses and viewings around your schedule, as opposed to the schedule of a third party.

3. You get to meet the people who will be buying your home

One of the nicest things about selling privately is that you actually get to meet the people who will be moving into your home after you move out. It is nice to be able to put faces and names to the people who will take over the space you call home.

The same is true for the buyers. They get to actually meet the owners of the home they are thinking about buying.

4. No one knows your home as well as you do

No one knows your home as well as you do, so why wouldn’t you want to show it to buyers? You know about all the upgrades and improvements you’ve made to your home, and about any areas of concern as well. You would think Real Estate Agents would want the owners of the house to be around when they show a home to prospective clients, in case they had any questions or concerns, but for some reason, they don’t want them anywhere near. Do they really think they know your home better than you do?

5. You are directly involved in the negotiations for the sale of your home

For most people, there is no reason you can’t look after the negotiations for the sale or purchase of a home yourself. You know how much you want or need to get out of the house, or how much you are willing to spend. It is not a complicated or hard process. Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to do your own research to determine a fair asking price for your property, and once you have that, the process is just like selling anything else. A buyer will hopefully make you an offer, and you can either accept it, refuse it, or make a counter offer. And you won’t have a third party pressuring you one way or the other.

6. You can save a lot of money

The average commission when Real Estate Agents are involved in a sale is anywhere from 3 to 7 percent of the selling price of the home, plus GST & PST. A lot of Brokerages in Saskatchewan are using the 6, 4 & 2 commission system right now, which is 6 percent on the first $100,000 of the sale, 4 percent on the second $100,000, and 2 percent on everything else. That means that on a $400,000 home, the commission would be $14,000 plus GST &PST – for a total of $15,400.

In that case, the Commission plus Taxes would end up being 3.85 percent of the total sale price. But if you still owe $300,000 on the house, it would be 15.4 percent of your equity. It’s a lot of money, either way.

When you sell your home privately, the only fees you pay are the advertising you decide to do on your own. That can be as simple as putting a For Sale by Owner sign in the window, or advertising online through websites like www.saskhouses.com – all at a small fraction of the price you would be paying to use a Real Estate Agent. The price of your home shouldn’t be higher just because you are using an Agent to help you sell, nor should it be lower because you are selling it on your own. But by the same token, a private seller might have a little more wiggle room than a seller using an Agent, because no third parties are getting part of the proceeds of the sale.

7. There is a lot less paperwork

When you sell your home privately, you usually only have to complete one form – an offer to purchase form, which is signed by the buyer & the seller, along with a witness, and taken to a lawyer. Often, the form can be signed in the Lawyer’s Office. That’s it – the Lawyer will look after everything else, to make sure the buyer gets the title to the house, and the seller gets the money for the sale of the house. When you sell with an Agent, there are a lot more documents to complete and sign, but most of them deal with your relationship with the Real Estate Agent, not with the sale of your home.

8. It is empowering

Anytime you are able to accomplish something you’ve been led to believe you aren’t capable of doing, it gives you a sense of empowerment. And selling your home yourself will do just that. Over the years, the Real Estate Industry has spent a lot of money on fear-mongering ads aimed at chipping away at the self-confidence of people who might be thinking of selling privately. Their most recent ad warns that if you buy a home privately, there is a good chance you’ll end up with termites, facing a lawsuit, living right next to a busy railroad track, and that your neighbours will be front-yard nudists. Don’t believe it, and don’t be afraid. In reality, if you try selling your home privately, you will likely be amazed by how easy and enjoyable the process was, and by how much extra money you end up with in your pocket.

Team Saskatchewan heads to International Under 18 Curling Championship in Vancouver

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Okay, this has nothing to do with buying or selling homes, but I thought I would let you know that my son Nick is heading out to the Optomist Under 18 Curling Championship in Vancouver this week.

For Nick and his cousin Anthony, this is their second trip to the event. They finished 5th at the event in Toronto last year with team mates Brady Kendel & Jake Hersikorn. Brady and Jake were too old to compete this year, so Nick & Tony teamed up with a couple of their long-time rivals, Chad and Brett Lang, and the four of them won the Provincial Championship last weekend in Shaunavon.

We are all looking forward to a great event in Vancouver this weekend. There will be teams competing from Japan, the United States, and Canada. Team Saskatchewan is in the Men’s A Pool with Japan, B.C., Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories. You can follow the event at u18curling.ca

Sask Property listed on saskhouses.com surpasses 4 Billion dollars

The total dollar value of Saskatchewan property advertised for sale on Saskatchewan’s leading website for private sales passed the 4 billion dollar mark in 2012.

In 2012, $553,081,129 dollars worth of Saskatchewan property was listed for sale on saskhouses.com, bringing the total since the company started in 1999, to $4,099,742,184.

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The average asking price of a saskhouses.com listing continued to increase in 2012, reaching a record high of $347,850. That was an increase of more than 7 percent from the average asking price in 2011 of $323, 240, and it was an increase of more than 122 percent from the average asking price in 2002, when we began tracking that number.

Here is the year-by-year average asking price of listings on saskhouses.com since 2002.

2012 – $347,850

2011 – $323,240

2010 – $314,504

2009 – $306,232

2008 – $317,020

2007 – $246,711

2006 – $185,191

2005 – $164,503

2004 – $156,652

2003 – $152,532

2002 – $156,340

We would like to thank Saskatchewan buyers and sellers for making saskhouses.com the most successful private sale website in the Province, and we look forward to another exceptional year in 2013!

Saskatchewan population growth continues

The population of Saskatchewan has hit another all-time high. New population numbers released by Statistics Canada show that 1,086,564 people were living in Saskatchewan at the end of October 2012.

That’s an increase of 6,606 people in the third quarter of 2012, and an increase of 23,024 people from October of 2011.

Most of the population growth in the last three months came from international migration, with more than 3,700 people moving here from other Countries. Almost 1,300 people moved to Saskatchewan from other provinces during the third quarter, with more than half of those newcomers coming from the province of Ontario.

248 people moved here from Manitoba in the past quarter, 194 people came from British Columbia, and 34 came from Alberta.

The Provincial Government has a goal of 1.2 million people living in Saskatchewan by the year 2020. If our population growth continues at last year’s rate of 2.1 percent, we will have 1,281,845 people living in Saskatchewan by this time in 2020.

Our population growth bodes well for the housing industry in Saskatchewan, and for sales of existing homes in the province. Prices throughout most of the Province have pretty much doubled since this time 6 years ago, and they have been stable, or slowly rising for the past couple of years.

New neighbourhood in the works for Downtown Saskatoon

Plans are underway for a new neighbourhood in downtown Saskatoon, which could someday be home for as many as 12,000 people.

The new neighbourhood will be bordered by 24th Street to the South, Idylwyld Drive to the West, 33rd Street to the North, and First Avenue to the East.

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Plans for the new neighbourhood are in the hands of a Vancouver company, Perkins & Will, which will be paid $315,000 to develop a plan for the new area.

The City is hoping the new neighbourhood will be an environmentally friendly, walkable community connected to the downtown core.

It will likely be awhile though before you see any development towards the new neighbourhood. The City first has to figure out where to move the City Yards, which takes up a good chunk of the area. The City is hoping to move the Yards to the Montgomery Place area, but no plans for that have been yet been made.

Another record breaking year for Saskatoon Building Permits

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The City of Saskatoon is reporting that more than 1 billion dollars worth of building permits have been issued in Saskatoon so far in 2012. The total amount of building permits issued as of the end of November was 1.05 billion dollars, with residential housing making up most of that new construction.

The dollar value of building permits in 2011 was $936.9 million dollars, and in 2010 it was $666 million dollars.

Much of the new residential construction has taken place in the City’s new neighbourhoods of Evergreen, Willowgrove, Rosewood, Hampton Village, and Stonebridge.

The City says it is anticipating another billion dollars in new construction in Saskatoon in 2013.

From Saskatchewan's first & leading website for private sales