It’s February and generally, this is the time of year when people gear up for the Spring real estate market. Having been involved in the industry for some time, I’ve witness highly successful sales as well as those that have failed miserably, even in a hot market.

If you are considering taking advantage of yet another seller’s market year, I want to help you by sharing the 4 biggest mistakes I've observed homeowners make when selling their home.

  1. DIYing

I’m all for doing it yourself. Tackling a creative project and learning a new skill is something I encourage and applaud -- except when it comes to selling your own home.

These days, with the growing popularity of the internet and online services offering ‘For Sale By Owner’ options, it’s very tempting to take on the sale of your own home and save the commission fees.  However, if real estate is not your area of expertise, you may be doing you and your property a serious disservice by not seeking the advice of an experienced realtor.  A good, experienced real estate agent understands the inner workings of this very complex industry and will have a network of connections to help you through what will be one of the most stressful times of your life.

I was told once that the real estate industry is essentially ‘death by papers’.  One of the greatest values a good and qualified realtor offers is their deep knowledge and expertise when it comes to local laws, marketing tactics, negotiation techniques and the nature of the market in your local area. They can really help you maneuver this very complicated process.

  1. Going For The Cheap

I’ve learned that more and more realtors are being pressured to reduce their commission rate.  I would caution you against hiring a realtor purely on their offer of a low commission rate. Those who are willing to work for a low commission likely have fewer value-add services to offer and may not be in a position to market your property as well as they should.  What many homeowners don’t fully appreciate is that their realtors are footing the bill for many expenses upfront and the commission is split with the buyer’s agent. On top of this, they also have to pay a portion of their commission to their broker, cover marketing expenses, office costs and pay licensing fees.

A good realtor offers many additional value-added services like staging, packing and cleaning. If you decide to work with a realtor who operates on a lower commission model, make sure you know what services you’ll be getting.  I would steer clear of any agent who tells you that the market is so hot your property will sell itself. It won’t, and especially not for top dollar.

I have quite a few top notch agents across the GTA and York region in my network, I’d be happy to connect you. Just send me an email. Otherwise, here’s what you should also look for in your agent.

  1. Being Ill Prepared

Not all listings are equal. Just because it’s a seller’s market, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do all it takes to get the highest sale price.  If your agent is not advising you to prepare your home so that it will show well, then take matters into your own hands and do it anyway.  If you don’t, you are just leaving money on the table.

At absolute minimum, declutter and organize every space in order to highlight the best features of your home.  If your agent doesn’t offer a home staging consultation service to you, hire one yourself.  The advice you receive will be worth the small expense.

For more advice, ready my blog “What to consider when preparing to sell your home”.

  1. Living In A Vacuum

One of the biggest mistakes which I’ve observed time and time again is people who don’t think it’s necessary to showcase their home in the best possible light. They read all these stories about people getting “over-asking” for their homes without realizing the work those other sellers have put in.

Now and again there’s the tale of a completely dilapidated property that sold for hundreds of thousands more than asking, but those are rare and it’s usually because it was seriously underpriced to start, or because the lot is large or well-situated.  No one talks about the hundreds of other poorly showcased homes that did not sell and were even pulled off the market.  When selling your home, make sure you check out your competition.  Ask you realtors to show you competitive listings in your local areas and see which are staged and show exceptionally well so that that you know what you’re up against.  Even in a hot market, staging your home properly to accentuate the positives and minimize its imperfections is key to helping you achieve top dollar for what is likely your greatest financial investment.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported that on average, homes sold at 103% of asking at 16 days in 2016. On average, the properties which I staged sold at 107% of asking and in 7 days.  Why leave money on the table when you don’t have to? Be the market leader in your area and set a new benchmark. Watch this video from one of Remax’s top agents and hear his bottom line message.

Lastly, here’s a great article on “Home sellers’ biggest regrets”.  Visit my website to learn more about home services offered by iStage & Organize. Best wishes for a successful sale.


About iStage & Organize

iStage& Organize is your home staging and home organization specialist. Certified UltimateStager™ & Re-designer and owner, Nina Doiron, works with homeowners to help them disassociate themselves from their homes in order to attract more buyers and sell for top dollars. She also helps people to declutter, get organized and inspire redesign ideas so that they may love their home again.  Visit or call 416.993.0131 for more information.