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COMMON QUESTIONS

FOR SELLERS

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) provides information to consumers about buying and selling their property, and about working with a registered real estate salesperson or broker. You may also find the information you need in the FAQ’s for Sellers below.”

IS THERE A BEST TIME to sell my home?

The best time to sell is when both you and your home are ready for it to be shown to prospective buyers, however, the market can fluctuate based on supply and demand, as well as other economic factors. The time of year you choose to sell can make a difference in the amount of time it takes to sell and the final selling price. Weather conditions can be a consideration in some parts of the country, and the real estate market generally picks up in the early spring. A strong spring market can place upward pressure on interest rates, contributing to a slow down in the summer months. The end of July and August are often the slowest months for real estate sales as prospective home buyers take vacations. After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up again, lasting into November, and slowing again as folks turn their attention to the holidays.

A REALTOR® can help you decide if this is the right time for your to list your home for sale.

ARE THERE IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELLING A HOME?

The two most important factors, when selling your home, are price and the condition of the home. The first step is to price it appropriately to attract as many potential buyers as possible. The next step is to ensure that the home “shows well” by fixing cosmetic repairs and making it appealing to potential buyers.

A third factor is exposing the home to as many potential buyers as possible by listing it on the local multiple listing service (MLS), holding public and agent open houses, erecting good signage, and creating print and social media advertising.

A REALTOR® can help you determine the best price for your home and help you determine what repairs need to be done, and they have the tools to give your home the exposure it deserves.

HOW MUCH IS MY HOME WORTH?

There are two methods that are usually used to determine the value of a home: an appraisal and a comparative market analysis.

An appraisal, completed by a qualified appraiser, will vary in cost. Appraisers review numerous factors and base information on recent sales of similar properties, their location, square footage, construction quality, excess land, views, water frontage and amenities such as garages, number of baths, etc.

A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value completed by a real estate salesperson or broker. It is based on sales and listings that would compete with a property that are similar in size, style and location. A range of values are determined, thus arriving at a probable market value. Many REALTORS® offer a free comparative market analysis anticipating they will have a new client.

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO GET MY HOUSE READY?

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different things. The first step in preparing your home for sale is to “declutter” counter tops, walls and rooms. Too many of your possessions make it difficult for the buyer to see themselves living in your rooms and their photos on your walls. However don’t strip away everything completely as you want it to appear warm and welcoming. Next, clean everything: bathrooms, kitchen, inside appliances and cupboards, floors, walls, windows and ceilings. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells clean. Before showings, hide the kitty litter and pet dishes and beds. and put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. Pleasant background music is also a nice touch.

The second important thing to consider is “curb appeal.” People driving by a property will judge it from outside first and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.

A REALTOR® can guide you in preparing your home. Many real estate agents work closely with local home stagers who will view your home and make recommendations for making your home “show beautifully”.

SHOULD I MAKE REPAIRS?

Minor repairs before putting the house on the market may lead to a better selling price. Buyers often include a contingency “inspection clause” in the purchase contract which allows them to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers can attempt to negotiate with the seller to have the repairs completed or to lower their offer price. Any problems that are known to the seller and not repaired must be revealed as a material defect. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect.

A REALTOR® can help you determine what repairs are best to complete before putting your home on the market.

WHAT ARE MY OBLIGATIONS TO DISCLOSE?

Items sellers that a seller must disclose include: homeowners association dues and condominium fees: whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; any defect in the home that may not be able to be seen by a potential buyer; the presence of any neighborhood nuisances or noises which a prospective buyer might not notice; any restrictions on the use of property, like easements and zoning ordinances. These are only some examples of what a seller may need to disclose.

A REALTOR® can help you determine what items must be disclosed in the listing documents to ensure that a potential buyer has all of the information they need to make an informed decision.

ARE THERE STANDARD CONTINGENCIES IN AN OFFER?

A “contingency” in an offer from a potential buyer is a condition that must be met for the property sale to go through, such as a satisfactory home inspection or the approval for a mortgage. “Home Inspections” and “financing” are the two most common contingencies in an offer, but others may include items such as the review of a condominium status certificate, water tests, septic system inspections, and the sale of the purchasers property.

When you receive an offer on your home, your REALTOR® will help you make sense of what contingencies are in the offer so that you can make the most informed decision.

SHOULD I BE FLEXIBLE IN GRANTING CONTINGENCIES?

This will often depend on whether the market is in the buyer’s or the seller’s favour. If there are a lot of buyers and very few homes on the market, you may receive multiple offers with very few contingencies. At other times, you may only receive one offer for your home, with several contingencies.  The condition of your home, the price you hope to get, and how motivated you are to sell, will all contribute to your decision of whether to accept contingencies in an offer.

Your REALTOR® will help you make sense of what contingencies are in the offer so that you can make the most informed decision.

WHAT DO I DO IF MY HOUSE ISN'T GETTING ACTIVITY?

Even in a slow market, price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home.

If a home is not getting the activity it needs in order to sell it may be because it is overpriced for the market. The first step is to work with your REALTOR® to adjust the price. Then go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed that can be repaired.

The second step is to make sure that the home is getting the exposure it deserves through the listing on the local multiple listing service (MLS), holding public and agent open houses, erecting good signage, and creating print and social media advertising.

A third option is to remove the home from the market and wait for overall real estate market conditions to improve and catch up to the price you are asking.

It is important to communicate regularly with your REALTOR® to work together to give your home the best chance of being exposed to potential buyers and selling quickly.

Have questions?