Selling a Home in Ottawa During the Pandemic

Saturday, August 15, 2020   /   by Sergey Korostensky

Selling a Home in Ottawa During the Pandemic

You might think a global pandemic would slow the housing market. However, in major Ontario cities such as Ottawa, quite the opposite seems to be happening. Demand is high and supply is low, so homes are moving quickly and often for more than asking.

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, you might see this as the perfect opportunity and jump in (like I did).  But there are a few things to consider before moving quickly into a sale during these strange new times. Here are six things to expect when selling your home in Ottawa during the pandemic.

Things Move Quickly

This is not the first time I’ve sold a home in Ottawa. Based on my previous experience, I was expecting it to be a relatively slow process. When I sold in the past, properties were readily available, and no one was in a rush. Now, many people are seeking more space as a result of sheltering in place. This, in combination with the limited supply, has created a sense of urgency.

In the past, it was not uncommon for a home to take a few months to sell. In Ottawa right now, very few properties are staying on the market longer than a week.

Preparation is Key

Since everything happens so fast, it’s important to prepare in advance. So when your listing goes active, you have to be ready! Take the time to declutter, paint and make repairs before you even contact your realtor.

Since demand is so high, you can expect a LOT of showings. For instance, my condo was booked first thing in the morning until the last showing at night for three days straight. And because there are so few public places open right now, it can be tough to find somewhere to go for a full day. You’ll also have to do a lot of cleaning to return home between showings safely. If possible, plan to get away or stay with a friend for a few days once your property is listed.

It’s a Virtual World

With the pandemic and the many social distancing protocols that go along with it, online is where it’s at. That means good photos – and when possible, virtual tours – are more important than ever. People want as much information as possible before they visit a home, and dark, cluttered or too few photos can deter buyers.

When choosing a realtor, look for one that offers virtual tours as part of the listing. Now that I’m on the buyer side of things, I realize the virtual tours are SO helpful. They give a much more accurate impression of the layout and size of the home than photos alone.

Multiple Offers Are Not Uncommon

High demand and low supply mean people are willing to fight for the home they want. As a result, many properties on the market right now are receiving multiple offers and sometimes even going to bidding wars.

Depending on the area of town, homes are going anywhere from $10,000 (rural areas) to $100,000 (urban neighbourhoods) over asking. If your property is in good condition, the better your offers will be. So, it’s worth putting in a bit of effort to get top dollar.

People Are Taking Risks

We are also seeing homes being bought instantly without conditions. And not just new homes that are low risk. Older homes with possible reasons for concern are also being purchased on the spot. This practice was almost unheard of in the past but is happening fairly regularly right now.

Some people are even bringing inspectors with them to showings in case they want to put in an offer. So, expect that you may have inspections happening during open houses.  A no-condition sale is definitely preferred as a seller. It means there are no delays, and all risk is in the hands of the buyer. But as the seller, you should always disclose any potential issues to avoid any legal issues down the road.

It’s A Seller’s Market

It’s definitely a good time to sell a home in Ottawa. You’re almost guaranteed a sale, and chances are good your property will go for over asking. But proceed with caution if you don’t already have another home to go to. A seller’s market is a lot tougher to navigate from the other side!