There are four questions that every condo buyer will want the answers to and, as the seller, you’ll want to know what they are and work out how your suite compares to the rest of the market.
You’ve heard the first one probably since babyhood… location, location, location. A buyer’s preference of location will of course be tempered by the price that they can afford.
In an ideal world, a purchaser could walk to work from their 1,500 sf 2-bedroom condo suite that they just paid $200,000 for in downtown Toronto complete with a parking space and a locker with a balcony view of the lake. Nice dream huh?
In reality, people will compromise based on location, price, suite size, building amenities and condition until they find their dream home. Consider how many folks you know who have moved out to the depths of King or Queen West (yes all that way) or to Mississauga, Yonge and Sheppard or Scarborough to get an affordable condo suite.
How does your condo suite measure up based on its location? Is there TTC or Go Train access nearby? How about walking or bike trails? Does an expressway cruise by just outside your condo window?
Write down all the benefits that living in your specific location could bring to a buyer.
Every buyer also wants to know how much it’s going to cost. These days with agents under listing homes it’s become more difficult to explain to a buyer what the ultimate cost would be.
Even if that’s the marketing route you want to take, first pay attention to what other condo sellers in your building have recently sold their comparably sized suite. That’s going to become the benchmark for your condo’s value in that same market.
Definitely don’t overprice it. Even in today’s busy seller’s market, overpriced listings stay on the market and are avoided by buyers.
You’ve heard for sure the expression ‘First Impressions Sell’. That definitely applies when selling your condo suite too. Remember that buyers are not just looking at your suite… they’re usually seeing 3, 4 or more on any one showing tour.
Your goal is to make your suite shine compared to all the others - follow all the fix-up and staging tips in this book to make that happen. Keep your entry-way clutter free and well lit so people are impressed when they first walk in. Put some flowers on the kitchen island or in the living room too just to add some fresh colour.
The last question buyers always ask is ‘When can I move in?’. In years past it wasn’t unusual for closings to often be 90 or 120 days after the sale date but these days that closing period is more often 30-60 days.
Since many condo buyers are currently renting, they’re often keen to stop that waste of money and are motivated to close quickly.
If you’re living in the suite yourself, you do have the control in a seller’s market so you can designate the closing date that’s best for you. However, if you do opt for a longer closing, you need to be aware that you might be eliminating some buyers from the pool.
If your suite is currently rented, the first consideration is the tenant’s lease. When does it expire? If the lease doesn’t expire for several months you’ll have to either sell to another investor who will assume your tenant OR negotiate a buy-out with the tenant whereby they’d agree to leave early. Of course this tenant-in-place situation will again reduce the number of buyers who would be interested in your suite.
If the tenant is on a month-to-month rental then you’ll need to give them an N-11 Notice To Vacate once your offer has been accepted and is firm. This form requires a 60-day notice from the first day of the next lease period.
As an example, for a tenant who pays their rent on the first of each month, if you’re negotiating the offer on March 15th, you’d have to give them their N-11 on or before March 31st and the earliest you could get them to vacate would be by May 30th.
In that situation I’d suggest not having a closing date before the 7th of June just to make sure that the tenant has left and maybe a day or so for a cleaning person to go in and spruce the place up for the buyer. Thus the closing period in this example could be almost 3 months.
When you’re having a Seller’s Consultation with your Realtor, that’s the best time to discuss all of these variables and how they relate to your condo suite.
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