Spring has arrived, and as temperatures rise and the flowers bloom, we also start one of the busiest periods of the year for the resale real estate market in Ottawa.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, it’s important to get in touch with me early so we can develop a strategy and start preparing.

For buyers, even though Ottawa has been a challenging market with lower than usual inventory for some time, the good news is that we have still seen the usual surges in new spring listings in recent years. This makes it easier to search for a new home.

For sellers, it’s also important to prepare early. Ensuring your home looks its best and is ready for viewers can require a few weeks of cleaning and other preparations.

With more than 30 years of experience assisting clients in Ottawa, I can give you helpful information when we meet about what you can expect in our current market as a buyer or seller.

In the meantime, here are a few general tips:

For Buyers:

Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval: It’s important to be pre-approved so that you know how much you can offer and the kinds of properties we should be looking at. A pre-approval helps show a seller that you’re a serious buyer.

With interest rates rising, another reason for pre-approval is that a lender will guarantee you terms and a rate for a specified period. Many lenders will guarantee their offer for up to 120 days, giving you time to look and to know the rate you’ll have.

Get to Know the Market: Before you start visiting properties, it’s helpful to spend some time browsing current listings of the kind of property you’re searching for to get to know the market. You’ll get an idea of what’s available.

Focus on Recent Selling Prices, Not Asking Prices: As you browse listings, sometimes you’ll see properties that look similar but have asking prices thousands of dollars apart.

An asking price is part of strategy. Sometimes sellers will list low to attract a lot of interest.  Sometimes they will list at the higher end of the range, closer to what sellers have received recently for similar properties.

Regardless of the asking price, I can tell you the actual prices that similar houses in the area have sold for recently. This will give you an idea of what the sellers are expecting to receive and can help narrow your search to properties in your price range.

Make a List of Essentials and Nice-to-Haves: It’s important to go into your search with a clear idea of your must-have and nice-to-have features. Make a list. If you’re shopping for a condo unit, for example, is a balcony or patio a must-have or would you consider a unit without one if the price is right?

In a sellers’ market, you improve your chances of success when you can act quickly and make an offer.

For Sellers:

Contact me Early: The sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can start preparing your home to be listed.

This process can take a few weeks. I will make suggestions for improvements that will appeal to buyers. This can include simple things like re-painting a few rooms with fresh and neutral paint colours, installing some contemporary lighting or bathroom fixtures or patching up any obvious flaws.

Get that Deep-Clean Started: Preparing a home for showings involves an extensive cleaning and de-cluttering process, to make your home look as spacious and airy as possible. This can sometime mean packing things up and storing them in boxes to give your property that show-home quality.

I offer all seller clients the complimentary services of a professional stager, who will offer final touches, including assisting with de-cluttering and re-arranging furniture to create a better flow. Many of my clients have told us their home has never looked better.

Browse Current Listings: Just as buyers should spend time seeing what’s currently available, it can be helpful if you are planning to sell to see your competition in your area of the city. Check current listings and see how they are presented. This will help you get an idea of your competition and what you might need to do to attract buyers.

Even in a market favouring sellers, you still want your property to look its best and to appeal to as many buyers as possible.

If you’re considering buying or selling, I’d be happy to chat. With more than three decades of experience, I have years of experience negotiating prices for buyers and sellers. On my site, www.nancybenson.com, you’ll find more information for buyers and sellers and testimonials from clients.

Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.