What Happens at a House Showing?

What happens at a house showing? This important question has historically been eclipsed by others like, “How much should we list for?” and “How long will it take to sell?” However, COVID-19 has many home sellers considering showings from a different perspective, with extra attention paid to safety, convenience, and current best practices (think technology). Here’s what home sellers can expect when they’re showing their home, and how they can maximize this opportunity to yield higher offers and a quicker sale.

Showings versus Open Houses

Showings and open houses are different. As the name suggests, an “open house” is when the seller opens their door to anyone who wants to pop in for a closer look. This method of showing a listing was extremely popular until the pandemic hit in early 2020. Homebuyers would scour property listings all week, map out the open-houses online, and plan their weekend route. And before technology and the Internet changed literally everything, families would pile into their cars on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, driving around their preferred neighbourhoods in search of the “sandwich” signs lining sidewalks, touting this typically two-hour event: Open House: 2-4 PM. Come on in!

Times may have changed, but the process behind appealing to homebuyers hasn’t changed a ton from what it looked like 30 years ago. However, if you have never sold a home, you’re likely wondering what happens at a house showing.

More recently, COVID-19 prompted a mandatory shift in how homes are shown – and seen. Government-mandated health and safety measures put a pause to the “open-door” policy, for obvious reasons, in favour of virtual home tours as a no-contact way of showing listings. Once buyers found a listing that met their criteria for a new home, they would venture out, masked and in minimal numbers, to view the home in person. Some homebuyers even took the transaction completely virtual, with the showing, offer, negotiations, and final paperwork all done remotely.

Today, the convenience of the virtual sale continues to be a trend that’s unlikely to wane, thanks to technology and sheer convenience. However, with widespread vaccination efforts in place and infection numbers trend downward, many Canadians are eagerly awaiting a return to a post-pandemic life. For many homebuyers and sellers, this includes in-person showings.

What happens at a house showing?

After everything we’ve lived and learned over the last year and half, some things have changed in the show-showing process. Here’s a quick refresher of what home sellers can expect when showing their home.

Schedule the showing.

When homebuyers find a listing they might like to purchase, most will want to view it in person before making an offer. They’ll be eager to see it as soon as possible, which is particularly true in a hot seller’s market when timing is everything, and even a seemingly short delay can cost them their opportunity to buy.

During the selling period, be available to communicate with your real estate agent at a moment’s notice to ensure the timely scheduling of showings. Ask your agent to give you a couple of hours’ notice, but it’s in your best interest to be as flexible as possible. It’s always a good idea to ensure your agent is aware of any factors that could impact the timing of showings, such as the need for a quick clean-up if you’re still living in the home, or time required to vacate the home of pets and people (more on that, below!).

How will you know when there’s a showing?

Discuss the best form of communication with your real estate agent ahead of time. How would you like to be contacted? Choose a mode of communication that you’ll have easy access to and will check often. This can include, but is not limited to, email, a phone call, text message, calendar invite or a scheduling app, if your agent uses one. As mentioned, your agent can give you some advance notice, if you need it.

Who shows the home?

Prospective buyers will be accompanied by their real estate agent for the duration of the showing. If a buyer isn’t represented by an agent, they’d typically contact the listing agent directly, who would walk them through the property.

While it’s entirely at the seller’s discretion, most homeowners will vacate the property during showings. The showing is usually booked for one hour. Go for a walk, go for a drive, or go run some errands. Just go! Having homeowners present during showings can turn some homebuyers off, making it difficult for them to picture themselves living in the home, or creating an awkward situation when discussing their honest feelings about the place.

If you’re expecting many showings in a hot market or a popular area, it might be a good time to book a holiday away from home. This reduces the inconvenience to you, while ensuring the home stays in “showing condition” without constant clean-up on your part.

What happens during the showing?

The homebuyers will have access to your property during their pre-determined time – typically one hour. They are expected to arrive, view and leave within that time. Their agent will walk them through the home, ensuring they remove their shoes and follow protocols, and answering their questions. If the agent isn’t sure of the answer, they will find out by way of the listing agent.

During the showing, you can expect the buyers to look in cabinets, cupboards and closets, from top to bottom. Furniture drawers and the like are off limits, since you’ll be taking those with you when you move, but anything that is built-in will be assessed for storage capacity, quality and condition. Don’t forget about the basement, attic, garage, shed and utility areas!

Speaking of which, buyers may also test the utilities by running the water taps, flushing toilets, checking light switches and testing electrical outlets. Some buyers may even use this opportunity to do a home inspection (this should be communicated to the listing agent and seller beforehand), so if they choose to make an offer, they can do so without having this condition in place.

During the pandemic, some sellers are choosing to leave closet doors open and lights on, to help minimize physical contact.

After the showing

Now that you know exactly what happens at a house showing, what next? When the showing is complete, the buyers’ agent is responsible for ensuring the property is left in the same condition in which it was found, and that the door is locked.

Then, depending on market conditions, it can be a waiting game. If the buyer has any follow-up questions or would like to make an offer, communication generally happens between the buying and listing agents. If the buyers are choosing to pass on the property, some listing agents may even reach out to the buying agent, to get feedback on the listing – price, the condition or features of the home, the neighbourhood, or anything else that has swayed the buyers away. If the home isn’t selling, this feedback can prove valuable when revisiting the listing strategy. Of course, there are clear signs a house showing went well, generally coming in the form of speedy offer at or over asking price!

If you want more details about what happens at a house showing, or if you have specific questions, we will be happy to answer them!

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Condos Spring Back to Life in Toronto Real Estate Market

For years, one of the hottest segments of the Toronto real estate market was condominiums. The skyline of the Big Smoke had been lined with construction cranes and glass towers rising on nearly every corner of the downtown core. Indeed, views of the city from Centre Island have vastly changed over the last decade. The upward trajectory suggested that there was no slowing down for red-hot condos.

Then, the coronavirus pandemic struck and everything was turned upside down, including the Canadian real estate market. Suffice it to say, Toronto’s condominiums took a downturn in 2020. While sales activity was moderate, prices had notably slumped. The reason? Supply had outpaced demand amid families leaving the city, up-sizing their living situation by moving into a detached or semi-detached home, not to mention the temporary ban on Airbnb units. But all this may soon be ancient history.

Could it be morning again in the Toronto condo market?

Now that the COVID-19 public health crisis is subsiding, the Toronto condo market is returning to life, rebounding to its best level in about three years. With renewed demand and historically low interest rates, residents will likely witness even more construction cranes dotting the skyline of North America’s fourth-largest city.

The Toronto Condo Market Springs Back to Life

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), residential sales for Toronto condominiums soared 159.1 per cent year-over-year to 1,881 units in May.

The average price of a condo unit in the 416 area rose at an annualized rate of 0.1 per cent to $694,152. However, TD Bank believes that benchmark prices are doing even better than industry data, pegging the number at 10.6 per cent from the same time a year ago. This would be the strongest gain since 2018.

“Though overshadowed by the superheated detached market, condos are quietly making a comeback,” said TD economist Rishi Sondhi, in an interview with the Financial Post. “Should condo sales consume a rising share of the market moving forward (as we expect), downward pressure on average home prices from these lower-priced units would be applied.”

Overall, it has been a great start to the year for the city’s condo industry. In the first quarter, sales advanced at an annualized rate of 79.7 per cent to 9,398 units. During the January-to-March period, the median sale price for condominium apartment units climbed 1.4 per to $592,000 compared to the same time last year.

So, what could be driving these positive trends?

The Ins and Outs of the Toronto Condo Market

Across all property segments, demand has been strong in 2021. While this was business as usual for detached and semi-detached homes throughout the pandemic, demand has dwindled within the condo market over the course of this year.

TRREB President Lisa Patel explained in a news release that confidence in the post-pandemic economic recovery is creating a splash in the Toronto real estate market and the broader Canadian housing sector. The other crucial aspect has been historically low borrowing rates, with the Bank of Canada (BoC) signalling that it is unlikely to raise interest rates until the second half of 2022.

Although Patel believes that “the absence of a normal pace in population growth” has been a factor in these demand slumps, the federal government will soon relax tough border restrictions, reigniting immigration levels. For the last decade or so, the population boom in the city centre and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was one of the biggest drivers of the Toronto condo market.

As the public health crisis wanes, one of the top questions is: What about the short-term rental market? The province of Ontario banned Airbnb units in the early days of the pandemic in response to the surge in infections. This led to a substantial drop in rental prices of as much as 20 per cent since owners had to list their suites as long-term rentals. It might seem like conditions will return to normal in the coming months, but city hall adopted new rules.

This past spring, the municipal government approved three new rules that experts suggest could hurt the short-term rental industry in one of the world’s hottest real estate markets. The measures?

  • Registration of Airbnb units and a $50 annual renewal fee.
  • A four per cent municipal quarterly tax.
  • Airbnb must be your primary residence.

Ultimately, moving forward, it will be a different type of new normal for the condo market.

Is Toronto on Fire Again?

The Globe and Mail ran a piece at the end of May showcasing the selling traits of several condominiums. For example, a 754-sq.-ft. one-bedroom-plus-den-unit sold for $669,908 after just one day on the market, a little more than $10,000 above the asking price.

Put simply, the Toronto condo market is now experiencing the same characteristics as the broader real estate market: bidding wars, above-asking price transactions, and sky-high prices. Hopeful urban homebuyers anticipating a COVID-discount on a 2 bedroom condo in the heart of the city, may be sorely disappointed!

 

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

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