Ottawa real estate: seller strategies in a tougher market

Published 18 November 14 07:15 AM | Gord McCormick 

The Ottawa Real Estate Board has recently hinted in its October 2014 news release that  our market is "..moving in to Buyer's territory".  Given our high  listing inventory levels and a rare monthly price decrease in average prices of properties sold, there is no question our residential
real estate market has cooled.  In point of fact, our market has been slowing over the last two years with listing inventory accumulating, after a strong sellers market from 2000-2011.  So how should sellers prepare to go to market in this environment?  Here are a few strategies we believe will be

1) "Buffer" expectations on expected selling price by at
least 5-10%.  Don't assume you will be
able to repeat the sales prices of previously sold properties in a falling

2) make sure you do everything you can to make the property "move
in ready" for listing.

3) Don't assume your property will sell quickly because it
may not.  Also buffer your marketing and
selling critical path timelines.

4) Be very careful about buying first (without a first
refusal condition) particularly for closings that are several months in the

5) Don't automatically list with the REALTOR® who suggests
the highest price.

6) Be especially mindful of the risks of selling by owner in
this environment and be prepared to pay a reasonable fee to a buyer

7) Pricing is critical, so "sharpen your pencil" on original
list pricing and do your utmost to attract the most buyers in the first few
weeks of listing.  If however, you get to
30 days and have not sold-take some significant pricing action. (at least 5% decrease)
and try to expand the pool of potential buyers.

8) At all costs avoid the appearance of a "lame duck listing"
which has been on the market a long time. 
These types of listings make buyers wonder what is wrong with the property
and why someone else has not bought it. 
These types of listings can tend to draw bargain hunter buyers who will
offer even significantly less, assuming that the seller is in a difficult
position and motivated to "give the property away"

9)  In choosing a REALTOR®
look for some creativity in marketing programs and or cost savings.  Do they use creative social media advertising (paid)? Does the REALTOR® offer any competitive
pricing programs that can save you selling costs? Do they offer alternative listing fee programs that better meet your specific needs than the typical "one-size-fits-all"" realty solution? Will they customize a program that works for your situation? If selling quickly is critical; ask the REALTOR® what price and preparation is necessary to meeting your selling timeline.

10) the number one question a seller should continually ask
themselves is "what will this market pay me for this property?"  Not: "why can't I get what I want for this

While some headlines are preaching doom and gloom in the
real estate market, (Vancouver in general and the Toronto condo market) we
think that a slowing market is not a catastrophe and a return to more modest gains
in real estate has been inevitable for some time.  Our Ottawa market has long been one of the
most stable in Canada and we expect that to continue.   We hope buyers
and sellers adjust to what our real time local market experience tells them,
not what the headlines read or suggest. 
There is no reason to put off a purchase or sale to meet your changing
lifestyle needs and if you need some assistance and support in making that
happen, please give us a call.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691

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