We often hear "buyer beware," but when it comes to the up-and-down real estate market, sellers would be wise to do the same -- but not too much.
Is this a good time to sell? Should I even be thinking about selling? These are questions people often have difficulty answering with confidence. But Kevin O'Toole, Vancouver-based Managing Broker at Sotheby's International Realty Canada, sees the solutions simply.
"If you're selling out of fear [of a market downturn], that's not a good play," O'Toole says. "Take a breath. Talk to your financial advisors. Talk to your realtor."
O'Toole -- who has 19 years of experience in the Vancouver real estate market -- says if you want to sell because you need more space, or you want to downsize, or you're being transferred for work and need to move, then go ahead and do it, because there is a decent chance you'll be dealing with the same market influences in the future that you're worried about now.
When O'Toole is faced with a client who has this kind of conundrum, he says he always makes a genuine effort to listen. He asks them personal questions, such as "What do you want to achieve?" and "What are your concerns?" or "What do you think would be a better investment?"
Once clients answer, O'Toole says he will often say "tell me more." He jokingly says it makes him feel like a psychologist, but also that he genuinely views himself, as a non-competing Managing Broker overseeing agents -- and realtors, who work directly with buying and selling clients -- not as salespeople, but as consultants. And it's times like those we're in today when, he says, realtors provide the most value. "Realtors deliver value when there is uncertainty," he says.
Realtors are not biased towards buying or selling, he adds. So if after the heart-to-heart, an agent feels like selling would indeed help you achieve your goals, they'll tell you. And if they think it's in your best interest not to, they'll probably tell you that as well.
Once you've reached the point where you've decided to sell, O'Toole says it's important to again work with your realtor to set a reasonable asking price. He says in the past month or so, he's starting to see both sellers and buyers are getting a better idea of where the market is after a series of interest rate increases, and are often coming together to work out a deal.
"For a while, sellers wanted the price that they saw in the early-spring, but are now more amenable to prices for buyers," he says.
Looking forward, he recognizes there are a few unknowns that could potentially impact the market. Premier David Eby recently announced changes to the Province's Strata Property Act that would allow stratas to be rented out in all strata buildings. O'Toole says that could impact the market because it could open up another possible solution for those who are selling primarily due to financial concerns.
"There can be a ton of valid, and right, reasons to sell," O'Toole says. "But selling out of fear is one of the wrong ones."
This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.