Plan your selling strategy well

As far as Thanksgiving weekend weather goes, this past long weekend has to rank up there as one of the best we’ve been given in a long time. It was like summertime all over again. Really quite spectacular, wasn’t it? And now that the last of the turkey leftovers are gone, or unless you celebrate the American Thanksgiving too, then you may not be carving the big bird again for a few months.

Our beautiful Beach neighbourhood trees are now reaching full radiant colours, and the hockey and football seasons are in full swing. Fall is indeed a very busy time for children’s sports and programs, and now it’s full-on until the Christmas break.

The Beach fall real estate market is also in full swing by now, although this year there wasn’t a real traditional kickoff date like after the Labour Day weekend. This year, the Beach fall real estate market just seems to be a continuation of this year’s late spring and summer market.

To date, there isn’t a lot of inventory throughout the scope of price ranges we have in the Beach, but that hasn’t pushed sale prices that much higher as has traditionally been the case when lack of good product and a bigger pool of eager buyers snap up whatever listings come along.

Instead, buyers are treading fairly softly these days, what with the risk of dark economic clouds that seem to hover above; then dissipate; only to reappear again days or weeks later. It’s no wonder the Beach fall real estate market can’t seem to gain a strong foothold.

This fall market is different from the last several years, and especially last year, when the Bank of Canada was on record as stating that by the spring of 2011, interest rates would begin to move upwards to more normal levels. That created somewhat of a push by buyers in the fall of 2010 to take advantage of what appeared to be the last of the all-time low interest rates. But as we know, those interest rate hikes never materialized, and now buyers have been given the good news that the rates won’t be increasing in the short term. Without the threat of higher rates on the foreseeable horizon, buyers instead have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for that near perfect property to pop up before making their move. If most of the boxes on their wish list get punched, they’ll jump. There’s not the anxiety out there for buyers that has been prevalent in the last several years, that if they pause too long, or wait until the spring, prices are going to rise quickly.

No, this fall we’re seeing a steadier Beach market overall, with both sellers and buyers searching for the common ground. I guess you could call it a more ‘normal’ market, but it’s hard to know what normal is now, seeing what the Beach market has accomplished this last decade. Is a normal Beach real estate market one whereby sellers are compelled to hold back offers to create mind-numbing bidding wars? Or is a ‘normal’ Beach real estate market one where the listing is placed on the market at an achievable list price, to sell at its own pace? Or, is it somewhere in the middle?

This uncertainty leads to the question of just how you should price and market your property this fall. Pricing and strategy for selling a home in the Beach this fall should be somewhat more taxing for agents than in the past. Selecting the listing price point and the accompanying strategy is always the most important factor to consider.

Sellers should be wary of the practise of putting their property on the market at a list price that is evidently much lower than it should be, then holding back on the offer presentation date with the thought that they’ll achieve a better final sale price through attracting multiple offers.

The same can be said for sellers and agents that believe the Beach market is still feverish and silly, and price their property much higher than what the comparable market really calls for. The strategy of delaying the offer process still has merit in certain price ranges, but should be exercised in a form whereby the process is more subtle in order to effectively market the property to those available buyers whose time constraints may impede their availability to see the house and think about an offer.

Of course, the ‘traditional’ strategy of placing the home on the market at the right price or slightly above, with competent marketing and timely reception of offers and negotiation, is never a bad choice.

So what’s the right strategy this fall? Well, after over 22 years of selling Beach homes, experience has taught me that there isn’t a perfect strategy for the Beach fall market. Rather, it’s the one that you feel most comfortable with, and the strategy that fits well with your goals and needs at the time. As I’ve stated before, the Beach fall market tends to flip-flop almost on a weekly basis, and even more so this year depending on the economic news of the day. The housing market indicators are still robust, but I always think that by time the media makes their statements on the general real estate market, the market itself has changed or moved on. The national media tend to be a month or so behind what’s really happening, and the Beach market can easily change within that time frame.

It’s always important for your agent to have a good feel for what’s happening at the very moment you’re putting your home on the market. Your agent should be thoroughly knowledgeable with the current Beach market conditions, and give you their opinion of each of the available strategies, presenting you with the different concepts of each, with the inherent pros and cons.

Make sure you know the choices because ‘one-size doesn’t fit all’ this fall. When the sold sign is on your front lawn, you’re the one that needs to feel satisfied and justified by your decision.

On a personal note, I’d like to give the long-time editor of BMN, Carole Stimmell, who is retiring from her position with this paper, a huge thank-you and best wishes into the future. Carole has been a terrific help and mentor to me over the past decade that I’ve written the real estate column for this paper. She has been a tireless supporter of all things Beach, and has made a contribution that has enriched our community far beyond her role as the editor. I wish her and Gord all the best in the future. Thank-you!

If you have any questions or comments about this article, or would like more information about the Beach real estate market, feel free to contact me at, or call my office at 416-690-5100. Take care.

Thomas Neal is a well-known and respected local Beach agent

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