Whether you are buying or selling a property in Kitsilano, it’s important to have the information you need to make the right decisions. Many first-time purchasers and owners come to the table with bad information based on certain myths that they’ve heard about Kitsilano real estate.
Below we share a few of the most common myths and what you need to know to debunk them and make your way to a successful real estate transaction. It should also be noted that some of these myths apply elsewhere in Vancouver, BC, as well.
Myth 1 - Open Houses Are a Waste of Time
An open house invites the public to view a property that is listed for sale. If you’re looking to sell your home in Kitsilano and you think that an open house is a waste of time, STOP! Even if this advice comes from your real estate agent, be quick to question the reason behind it. Open houses are an effective way to get the word out that you are selling your property. They also allow you to showcase the real estate to potential buyers and other agents. Even if you don’t get an immediate offer or any interest on the first day, an open house is still not a waste of time.
Agents typically attend open houses to get an idea of what’s on the market. Doing so enables them to inform current or future clients looking to buy a home like yours. Open houses also represent a powerful word-of-mouth marketing technique. The future buyer of your property may never have attended your open house but may found out about the sale through someone who did attend the event. When selling your real estate in Kitsilano, you need all the help you can get to expose your property to the buying market.
Myth 2 - Always Go with the Most Experienced Agent
If you are looking to buy a house or ready to put your property on the market, then more than likely you will want an agent familiar with the Kitsilano real estate market, who also possesses the most extensive contacts. While this would seem to indicate the need for an agent with many years under their belt, this isn’t always the case. It is a myth to think that only an experienced agent can sell your house or find your dream home. Often newer agents are hungrier and therefore more eager to please. Because they have more to prove, they will work harder to get you the deal that you are looking for. When looking for the right agent, assess their selling ability. However, you should also consider their desire to get the best offer within the shortest amount of time. Also, an experienced agent is sure to have more clients on their roster, which may limit the amount of time they can spend with you. Of course, you don’t want to go the other extreme by finding an agent with minimal ‘local market’ knowledge, so be sure to ask questions going in. If the agent has the answers you want to hear, then don’t let inexperience hold you back from working with the real estate professional.
Myth 3 - You Can Save Money by Going 'For Sale By Owner'.
A homeowner has several different options when putting his home on the Kitsilano real estate market. One is to enlist the services of an agent. Another is to put up a “for sale” sign and try selling the property without the help of a Realtor. One advantage of the latter is that you won’t need to pay an agent's fee if the property is sold. Accordingly, many sellers will opt for a “sale by owner” strategy believing that they can save money in this manner. However, this isn’t always the case. There is so much that goes into selling real estate in Kitsilano. You may get lucky and find a buyer without an agent, but that is the exception and not the rule. Without real estate knowledge and training, you might find yourself burning through tons of advertising dollars to sell the property on your own. What’s more is that if your DIY efforts don't work, you may still need to hire an agent anyway.
Some buyers also fall for the myth that ‘for sale by owner’ properties offer better deals. The idea is that without the middle man - agent - the seller will have more negotiating room. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A seller is not generally inclined to sell below market price. Furthermore, if the seller was trying to avoid fees by not hiring a realtor, chances are he will not be the best person to talk to about lowering the sale price. Instead of instantly writing agents off as unnecessary, it is in your best interest to plot your goals, do your research, and determine your game plan before hiring a real estate agent. This way when you interview agents you can be sure that you are asking the questions that matter most. Ultimately, this should result in you finding an agent who is best suited to get you the deal that you had in mind. All of which makes the agent fee much easier to swallow.
Myth 4 - Each Home Has a Set Price
No home has a ‘set’ value, no matter its listing price or what an appraiser tells you. For example, if you are selling your Kitsilano home and receive an offer for a particular amount and for some reason the deal doesn’t go through, this doesn’t mean you will be able to receive that same amount from the next offer, assuming that another comes along. In some cases, the offer may be a higher for the second deal than the first one that fell through but again there are no guarantees. The prices for homes are in constant fluctuation depending on the market and many other factors, so never bank on one particular price if you’re in the process of selling.
Myth 5 - Top Earning Agents Are the Best Agents
Although you may assume that an agent who makes lots of money and has closed many deals would be the specialist you want to work with when buying or selling your home, it is important to note that this is not necessarily the case. Many agents specialize in niche markets, and although they may do many transactions within their niche, this doesn’t mean they will be the best agent for you. For example, if you’re looking for a house in West Kitsilano, then it may not make sense to work with an agent who focuses almost exclusively on selling downtown. Even though the agent may have a fantastic reputation, they aren’t going to be able to help you as much as someone who specializes in locating homes in the area your heart is already set on.
The bottom line is you must do your homework when searching for an agent. Make sure to focus your research on agents who specialize in the area and price range that you're focusing on. Don’t be distracted by claims of ‘most properties sold’, since this doesn’t automatically mean they are the right agent for your specific needs.
Myth 6 - You Must Always Make the First Offer
When purchasing a home, many buyers think that if they make the first offer, then this will set into motion a negotiation period leading to the eventual closing of the deal. In reality, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. The seller is under absolutely no obligation to react to the first offer. As a matter of fact, the seller can ignore the offer completely and instead go with the second, third, or fourth offer.
In real estate, being first in line doesn’t guarantee that you will get the deal. Sometimes it can be advantageous to hang back for a while and then put in a really good offer after the first few have already come in. This way, if the seller had not been satisfied with the initial offers, yours could seem like a welcome relief and tip the scales in your favor.
Myth 7 - It's Best to Lead with a Low Offer
When it comes to negotiation, many choose to leave a cushion by intentionally leading with an offer that’s much lower than what they have to spend. Although this may seem like a safe way to go, the fact is that you are weakening your initial offer by playing down your cushion, leaving room for another buyer to sweep in and take the deal with a higher offer. The trick is to know the market. When you know what constitutes a good deal for the particular home you are going for, you can be more certain in your offer and not feel the need to keep a cushion. After all, some sellers are looking to close quickly and making a higher offer on the first go-round can sometimes swing the deal your way much quicker.
So, whether you are buying or selling a home in Kitsilano, don’t rely on myths. It is best to speak with an agent who is knowledgeable about Kitsilano real estate and able to give you the most sound advice about your options.