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Get ready to sell

This spring set to sizzle in local real estate market

By: By Lucy Haines

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 06:00 am

SIGNS OF SPRING – Spring always brings a slew of
SIGNS OF SPRING – Spring always brings a slew of "For sale" signs on lawns across St. Albert, and first quarter statistics suggest the season is shaping up to be a sellers market, with low inventory and high demand.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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Early indications show that the St. Albert housing market is in for a banner spring selling season. Spring is traditionally the busiest time of the year for house and condominium sales. Realtors say the present limited inventory, combined with the usual influx of spring home-buyers, has already set up scenarios of multiple offers and homes selling at or above asking price within days, rather than weeks.

Scott Storry, a St. Albert realtor with Royal LePage, said the city’s range of housing – from near-million dollar executive homes to affordable condos under $200,000, attract a wide variety of buyers – and both can sell quickly in a hot market, as long as they are priced right.

“In my view, listings that are priced to sell can get at or over full list price. And, it’s a big deal that St. Albert was just named a top city in Canada – it’s safe and beautiful – so people want to move here. Interested buyers and an attractive product make for a hot market,” said Storry.

“But homeowners still need a plan to get a quick sale, simple things they can do to show the home at its best. Remember, you only have one chance to impress.”

The median home sale price in St. Albert was $441,000 in March, with 79 sales. In the entire Edmonton Metro area, sales of all types of residential properties were up 5.8 per cent in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2013. Realtors Association of Edmonton president Greg Steele said first quarter data shows high demand for housing and good consumer confidence throughout the capital region.

For homeowners planning to sell in this buoyant spring market, experts offer a few common sense tips to keep in mind before the “For sale” sign goes up.

“Make sure your home is sparkling clean. De-clutter, take down most personal pictures and mementos, and think about freshening up the house by painting with neutral colours,” said Sheryol Shera, local realtor and owner of Shera & Co., which provides interior redesign and staging for home sellers in St. Albert and area.

“And remember the outside of the house too – curb appeal – clean the front door, sweep away leaves and cobwebs. Homebuyers take 60 seconds to make a decision about the property, so the house had better be clean.”

Shera said that as soon as a sign goes up on the lawn, homeowners shouldn’t think of the house as theirs anymore – that mindset can help people take the emotion out of the home-selling experience.

“We come in with an objective eye, and show homeowners that the house needs de-cluttering or a fresh coat of paint,” Shera added, even recommending a favourite paint colour to customers: a neutral blue-grey paint from Benjamin Moore called Perspective that she said won’t offend potential buyers.

Storry agrees that paint is an easy, low cost-fix when preparing to sell – providing well over a 100 per cent return on investment – along with minor changes like cleaning the carpets, replacing missing baseboards and patching holes in walls.

“If your home is tidy, shows well and is priced right, it’s likely to sell quickly in this market,” he said.


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