Ever since the new stress tests have been announced, many prospective homebuyers have been advised to get a mortgage approval before New Year. Probably, many of them are in the application process, and since a mortgage approval can expire, they’ll probably try to find a nest as quickly as possible. Sellers can use this new market conditions to their benefit.  Namely, the last month of 2017 is expected to be driven by high demand, which means that sellers should also get ready to meet the demand.

Usually, winter is not an active season in the real estate market, but there is always a fraction of buyers and sellers who try their luck when almost no one does.  But this winter is special, and it could count more interested parties on both sides as the clock for buyers is ticking when it comes to their purchasing power. As of January, homebuyers will be subject to new mortgage stress tests which will reduce their purchase power by 20%.  Buyers are not pleased, but this is an outstanding opportunity for sellers to use the current situation before the market goes quiet once the new mortgage rules enter into effect. Despite the facilitating circumstances, sellers should still walk the extra mile and prepare their home for sale.

Preparing the home for sale in the winter
Unless you are selling a condo apartment, shoveling the snow from the driveway is a must. For de-icing, you may use gravel, rock salt or sand. Curb appeal also matters in the winter, and your front yard needs still to look neat and well-maintained.

The inside of the home should be inviting and warm. Heating plays a crucial role in general, but especially in the winter.  Interested buyers get to see firsthand how it works, so make sure your heating works flawlessly. Besides the regular cleaning and decluttering, you may also add Christmas decorations in the spirit of the holiday season, but keep it tasteful and classy.

The right amount of light is always important regardless of the season, but especially during the short winter days when it gets dark in the late afternoon. Make sure to keep the lights on in your home when you have potential buyers visiting. We already mentioned curb appeal, and appropriate lighting is a mandatory part of it in the winter. Most home shoppers will probably come after work in the late afternoon or the evening, so you should invest in automatic exterior lighting. It doesn’t only look good, but it’s practical as well.

If your home needs major updates, chances are that it will pay off to replace everything that needs to be replaced given that a pre-sale investment of a couple of thousands of dollars usually results in a $10,000 - $20,000 profit, especially when we look at the Toronto and GTA market these days. The last weeks in Toronto have shown that the number of listings increased and that the inventory features really nice houses. Toronto’s list-to-sale climbed to 103%, which is also an indicator of the quality of homes in the market as well as buyers’ hurry to purchase a home before January 2018. 

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