THE SELLING PROCESS
- Get together any pertinent
information such as the deed, survey, tax bill, mortgage statement, utility
bills, information on upgrades and improvements etc.
- Attend to minor
repairs--loose doorknobs, leaky faucets etc. Ensure that the doorbell and all
electrical fixtures work and replace any burned out light bulbs.
- Have the house cleaned.
Kitchens and bathrooms should sparkle and clean windows are impressive. Watch
for and remove cobwebs on the ceiling.
- Closets should not be
overcrowded. If necessary, rent a storage locker temporarily or give away
items you no longer use.
- Interview one or two
agents who are experienced with your neighbourhood and your style of
- Get answers to any
questions or concerns.
- Find out how they would
market the property, discuss commissions and how much they offer to the
selling agent and ask what they expect of you. Do they charge additional
marketing costs to the selling agent?
- Do not be taken in by an
agent who suggests the highest price but may not be able to deliver.
- Read Agency Relationships Explained provided by the Toronto
Real Estate Board or Working with a Realtor
published by the Ontario Real Estate Association and discuss agency issues
with your realtor. Make sure you understand it.
- Choose a realtor with whom
you have rapport, who listens to you and understands your needs and in whom
you have confidence.
- The listing agreement is a
contract between the seller and the listing broker describing the property to
be sold and the terms under which it is to be sold.
- The listing agreement is
on a standard form provided by the local real estate board and must comply
with their regulations.
- You are appointing a
realtor to market the property for a specified length of time and agree to pay
them a commission (usually a percentage of the sale price) for bringing an
acceptable offer from a purchaser.
- On an MLS listing the
listing broker agrees to share the commission with the co-operating broker who
brings the offer from the buyer. You should discuss with your realtor how the
commission will be split and how much they offer to the selling agent and
whether they deduct marketing fees. This practice is growing but is considered
- Commissions are negotiable
and in Toronto only the amount paid to the selling agent is published on the
listing. The total commission is kept confidential so no one knows for sure
what the listing agent is paid and this is subject to negotiation.
- You must also indicate
whether you want the property to be advertised only by the listing broker or
whether to allow other agents to advertise it.
- There is usually a
holdover clause stating that if a buyer who was introduced to the property
during the listing buys the property within a stipulated time period after the
expiry of the listing you will still have to pay commission to the realtor.
This is to protect the realtor from the situation where the buyer and seller
make a private deal to wait until the listing expires to avoid paying the
realtor who introduced the buyer to the property.
- Pricing your home right is
the key to selling it quickly and for the best price.
- The seller sets the asking
price for the home but ultimately the buyer determines the value.
- Homes sell quickly and
usually for the most money when they are priced properly in the
- Your realtor will provide
you with information about similar properties which sold recently and
properties currently for sale.
- A good strategy is to list
a little more than the price of properties recently sold and a little less
than the competition.
- Highest prices are
obtained when there are multiple offers which generate a "bidding war". This
occurs when a property is perceived to be a good buy. Pricing it right can
result in a sale price higher than the asking price.
- A buyer will pay a price
similar to what he would have to pay for similar properties.
- Things that don't affect
value are your original cost, the cost to rebuild it today, your investment in
improvements, personal attachment, what you need, certain types of
- The dangers of
overpricing: reduces the number of showings, reduces advertising response,
loses potential buyers, eliminates offers, helps sell the competition, can
cause appraisal problems, extends market time.
- Your realtor may want to
hold an open house for agents on the day the listing appears to facilitate
many agents previewing it at once with the least inconvenience to you.
- It is your responsibility
to have the house looking good for showings. It should be clean, tidy and
odour-free, and pets and children should be out of the way. Curtains should be
open in daytime and closed at night with lights turned on.
- You should be out or
inconspicous. Allow the agent to show the property without interfering. Do not
get involved in conversation with the purchaser.
- Showings are by
appointment and buyers will always be accompanied by an agent. The listing
broker keeps a record of all the appointments.
- It is standard practice to
provide a lockbox which makes a key accessible for agents to show the property
when you are not home.
- Your agent may want to
hold open house for the public on weekends. This is a marketing strategy which
is advisable in some situations but not always necessary. If they do hold an
open house you should go out and leave it in their hands.
- When someone prepares an
offer they advise the listing agent who advises you and makes an appointment
to present it to you.
- Usually both the listing
agent and agent representing the buyer meet with you to present the offer.
They read through it and explain it. You can ask for clarification of any
questions of concern to you.
- You can request that the
selling agent leave the room so you can consult confidentially with your agent
to discuss price and terms. Remember the other agent may be the agent of the
purchaser and anything you say will not be held in confidence.
- Your agent will explain
any clauses and conditions and advise you what is normal wording and what is
unusual or may be of concern.
- Offers are on standard
forms provided by the local real estate board with many standard clauses to
satisfy the lawyers.
- Besides identifying the
parties and properties the offer lists all the items the purchaser wants
included in the sale and any fixtures to be excluded.
- There is an irrevocable
date and if you don't accept it by that time the purchaser may revoke
- You may either accept the
offer as is, reject it, or make changes and sign it back to the purchaser to
see if they are willing to accept your changes. If you make changes to it, you
have rejected the original offer and they are no longer bound by it. They may
either accept your changes, reject it or come back with a counter-offer. This
process continues until either a deal is reached or negotiations
- The purchaser makes a
deposit with the offer which is usually turned over to the listing broker once
an offer is accepted and is held in their trust account to be applied to the
purchase price on the closing date. The agent's commission is usually deducted
from this deposit on the closing date and if there is a deficiency your lawyer
is instructed to pay the balance of the commission owing from the proceeds of
- Once agreement is reached
and any conditions are waived, the documents are handed over to your lawyer
who prepares the transfer papers, deals with any adjustments, and meets with
the purchaser's lawyer on the closing date to exchange the keys for the