When we started this website, we wanted it to be a source of honest and reliable information, written in plain English. We opened the door for anyone to ask us questions, and along the way, we wrote blogs about those questions to share with others who might be in the same boat; below is the holistic guide to all the most commonly asked questions when thinking of selling your house. We also added a few important pages in there, which most people do not think about when selling their house: We always have your back! So, sit back, bookmark this page, and learn at your leisure.
What to do when you're thinking of selling your home:
The first step is to sort out your finances. That involves completing your taxes, and paying off any outstanding credit card balances. At this point in time, it’s important to cover all your bases, so you’re not hit by surprise costs down the line. While Realtor fees and lawyers costs are associated with every sale, sometimes there are additional fees like mortgage cancellation fees, and bridge financing. To protect yourself from unforeseen costs, call your lender now and see how much you owe on your mortgage and ask about the fees associated with canceling your mortgage. Also, gather your municipal tax statement, any appliance warranties and manuals, a property survey (if you have one), and your floorplans (if you have them.)
Next: Figure out if it’s a good time to sell. The market is smarter than you expect, and while you’ve heard the saying: “buy low, sell high”, it’s rather difficult to do in real life. If you hire an honest Realtor, they will do their due diligence before listing the home, to make sure you don’t sell it in a market low. Read “When Is The Best Time To Sell My House?”.
Next, it’s the age old question: “Should I buy first or sell first“. While both have their benefits and drawbacks, it comes down to the market. If you are buying in a low inventory market, we personally would prepare our home for sale, and list immediately after purchasing a home. If you buy in a hot market, sell your home while the market is still hot; A rapidly appreciating market is like love, if you fall into it fast, you can fall out of it fast.
Trust a Realtor to tell you the demand for your home in today’s market. There are many cohorts of buyers out there. Condos are in high demand all year round, while family homes in certain neighbourhoods are in demand while school is out. $4,000,000+ homes are growing in demand as international families look to Canada as a world power for education, safety, and lifestyle.
hiring the right realtor
Sometime during this process, you’re going to need an agent’s expert advice. We believe in contacting someone early process, so they can help you decide if moving is the right choice. You get what you pay for. Although, there’s more to that… Real Estate Agents come in all shapes and sizes, and although some of them have years of experience, they are falling behind with the times when it comes to marketing. Adversely, some are brand new, and do not have the negotiation skills to sell a home for a top price. Don’t hire a Real Estate Agent without checking out this blog: What Does It Cost To Hire A Good Real Estate Agent.
Are all Real Estate Agents created equally? Not at all. 20% won’t sell anything this year, and over 50% will sell less than 6 homes this year. This guide will give you the gist of what to look for, and what to ask your agent. Honestly speaking, agent’s personal statistics are a marketing rhetoric that has no meaning to your specific home and sale. We list historic homes with acreage, as well as starter homes, and everything in between. Each home type and neighborhood will impact a Realtor’s average days on the market, average sale price, and average list price. Check out our guide to find out what’s really important when hiring an agent.
Picking the right brokerage
When it comes to selling homes, no one solution fits all homes. Of course, most homes will need professional photography, and to be uploaded to the local MLS system. But marketing needs range drastically, and some homes need a much bigger marketing push to reach the right audience. It’s important to know exactly what your Realtor is going to do to advertise your home. For ever listing, we advertise on multiple real estate boards, pay for Facebook advertising, and market the home nationally and internationally. But some homes still need an extra push, and that’s where Sotheby’s International Realty comes in.
So, you've decided to sell your home
This part of the sales process can get a little overwhelming. There are the questions: “To Stage Or Not To Stage?“, “Are Open Houses Worth It?” “Do I Need A For Sale Sign On My Lawn?“, as well as much more serious ones like: “If My House Doesn’t Sell, Can I Relist It At Another Time?” (If you’re curious about any of those questions, click on the link and read that blog.)
In this market, there are also a few standard marketing practices that you should not skimp on! 94% of Buyers are actively searching the web for their next home. They are comparing your home to other listings solely based on the images. We believe professional photography has the highest return on any investment when you’re marketing your home.
We listen to our clients, and one of their biggest fears was hiring someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart. For us, honesty and integrity are beyond reprieve, so we are very transparent on how we decided the marketing price of their home. It’s in our best interest to get you the best sales price for your home, and to do that, we take a lot into consideration. Check out this guide to learn how real estate agents price your home.
10 years ago, it was unheard of to stage a home when offering it for sale. Today, many Sellers are seeing a great return on their choice to stage their home. We believe your staging and photography should look as good, or better than your neighbors. While staging is unanimous in the market today, however, now we’re fighting the same battle for pre-listing home inspections, and transferable warranties. It’s a rather new product, but it’s helping Sellers make their home more saleable. An inspection and warranty assures the Buyer that the home is free from unseen deficiencies, and the warranty covers all major facets of the building for 18 months! Set the stage to receive the highest price for your home with a pre-list inspection, learn more here.
What to expect while selling your home
To say this market has been heated is an understatement. The Greater Toronto Area continues to lead Canada’s real estate appreciation. Year-over-year, the number of homes that have breached the $1 million bench mark has increased 41% (That includes all home types). Single family homes are leading the rapid appreciation, with sales over the $1 million dollar benchmark up 33% year-over-year, and sales over $4 million up 92% year-over-year. Within the City of Toronto itself, sales activity trended up 13% and 82% in the market for $1 million-plus and $4 million-plus homes respectively. (TREB, July 2017).
Even after the Ontario Fair Housing Act announcement in April, and the Royal Bank Of Canada Rate Hike in July, the market is still very heated. We don’t foresee a drop in sales, although the crazy bidding wars of February are over and homes are selling much closer to asking price. Although, if your home is in a very high demand neighborhood, and there are more buyers than there are homes for sale, we would suggest setting up a bidding war. We believe hosting a successful bidding war is an art; this is how you do it right.
How Quickly Can I Sell My Home? While we prefer to roll a listing out over a week or two, in extreme circumstances the photography, brochures, signage and listing the home on the internet can all be done within 48 hours. Of course, it’s possible to list the home same-day without the professional photography, brochures, and professionally installed signage.
What are the most important things to look for on the listing paperwork? Obviously the commission, but also the listing commencement and expiry. Industry average for commission is around 5% of the sale price, and the duration of the contract is usually anywhere from 3 months – 6 months, but specialty properties will be signed into a longer contract because of their tendency to take a long time to sell.
Can I stay at home during the showings? Technically yes. But Buyers are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and instinctually want to check inside closets and under the kitchen cabinets, and if you’re there they will feel uncomfortable. It will hurt your chances of selling.
Can I restrict when people view the home? Yes, it’s still your home. But list during a week when you expect you are able to allow the most buyers through. Most buyers are working day jobs, so as flexible as possible on evenings and weekends.
Should I repair deficiencies in my home before listing? It will give you the upper hand in the sale. Buyers often think of the “worst case” scenario when budgeting for deficiencies in the home, so if you have a subpar electrical system or Kitec plumbing, it’s in your financial interest to remedy that before the sale.
Should I do any exterior upgrades while it’s still summer? Summer is a great time to increase the curb appeal of your home. Think of installing an out door living space, like a deck. Also think of repainting your home, upgrading the driveway, or simply spending some time in the garden.
When it comes to removing valuables from my home, how far should I go? Usually, when something goes missing in a home, it’s the buyer’s children picking up something interesting and mistakenly taking it home. However, we recommend packing and storing all your valuables, including wines, watches, sentimental ornaments, prescription drugs, and jewelry.
This page is ever growing because it’s such a large topic, so if you have questions which were not addressed, ask them in the comments. If you’re thinking it, others are too.