Saanich realtor Jane Johnston, with the Briar Hill Group, part of RE/MAX Camosun.

Adapting to a changing market: What sellers need to know now

Proper pricing is more important than ever

In a rapidly changing Victoria real estate market, knowing how to price your home is critical to securing top dollar – the last thing you want is to chase a falling market.

And that’s where an experienced realtor is crucial.

The number of properties available for sale in Greater Victoria is up from what it was, and that, paired with tax and borrower stress-test changes mean homes aren’t automatically seeing the competing offers they were, explains Saanich realtor Jane Johnston, with the Briar Hill Group, part of RE/MAX Camosun.

“It’s a shift in the market and all of a sudden the buyers don’t feel they have to move quickly,” Johnston says.

Several factors are affecting what has been a strong seller’s market for several years.

The federal government’s new stress test restricting the debt load home buyers can carry came into affect Jan. 1, typically reducing allowable mortgages by about 15 per cent.

Also affecting the region is the expansion of the 20 per cent Foreign Buyers Tax to Greater Victoria, and the B.C. government’s new speculation tax that applies to residential properties in British Columbia’s largest urban centres – including most areas of the Capital Region.

How do sellers adapt?

“The solution is to price your home at a point where there is activity in the market,” Johnston says.

Have your realtor look at comparable homes in your neighbourhood and what they’ve sold for. “If you price it right at market value, you’ll generate more interest and often, multiple offers that come in over the listing price.”

Understanding how the market is changing and being able to adapt to those changes means finding an experienced and innovative realtor.

Look at factors such as a realtor’s list-to-sale ratio and whether they’ll have time to meet your needs. Ask how they’ll market your home and about their pre-market strategy, Johnston suggests, point out that 90 per cent of people will preview a property before visiting.

“I market to other realtors, as well as buyers, and I use social media and video to generate that interest in my properties,” she says.

Johnston has also launched a testimonial series – vancouverislandtime.com – where locals talk about what they love about a particular neighbourhood. “It’s an unbiased look at what people enjoy about living in a community from the people who live there.” This is a great way to generate interest in home sellers’ markets without being salesy.

For more information about selling your home, visit briarhillgroup.com

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