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1. “I didn’t tell you about the leaky basement because I didn’t want it to affect how much you thought our house was worth.” Please remember: we’re on your side. The reason we want to know about the leaky basement and all the issues you’ve had with your house is because you have a duty to disclose it to potential Buyers – and not doing so will land you in court. Also: that leaky basement will affect how much your house is worth – but wouldn’t you rather know that in advance instead of when the Buyer brings it up at the negotiating table?
2. “The furnace stopped working”. If you’ve agreed to sell your home to a Buyer, there is likely a clause in the agreement that requires that all chattels and fixtures (things being sold with the home) must be in working order when the Buyer takes possession. If your furnace breaks before close, you’ll need to fix it. (this actually happened to me 2 days before closing on the sale of my own townhouse)
3. “I covered up the hole in the floor with a carpet.” I get it – you want your house to look its best. But you can’t just consciously hide the defects and hope Buyers don’t notice. True, Buyers are entitled to take possession of the house in the condition that they saw it in – but if you’ve strategically placed carpets and plants to hide defects, that’s not cool and we’ll probably both end up in court.
4. “I’m at a cottage and don’t have access to a fax machine, scanner or internet–I can’t be reached for the next week.” While your home is listed for sale, it’s important that you be reachable – there’s nothing worse than your REALTOR getting an amazing offer on your home and not being able to reach you. Offers have expiry dates and times and if you don’t respond in the required timeframe, that offer is gone. You can always get a Power of Attorney to make decisions and sign on your behalf if you will be on a canoe trip or something and in fact not be reachable.
5. “I want to sell my house but my ex-wife doesn’t want to.” In Ontario, spouses have rights, and the marital home is one of them. If you are looking to sell the house that you shared with your spouse, you need their explicit permission (and signature) in order to sell the home.
6. “I know this offer meets 100% of what I said I wanted (price, closing date, conditions), but I want more.” Of course the offer price that you choose to accept is 100% your decision, but getting greedy at the last minute might hurt you more than it helps you. If you change your mind about your asking price once you’ve already listed the home, legally, you’ll have to re-list the house at the higher asking price in order to avoid breaking any unfair advertising rules, and you’ll likely alienate a lot of the Buyers who were interested in your home. Decide what you want ahead of time, and if you’re lucky enough to get it, be happy!
7. “I don’t want a sign on my lawn and I don’t want any open houses. I only want people to view my house between 2-4 from Mondays-Thursdays.” If you’ve hired a real estate agent to sell your home, I’m guessing that means you actually want to sell it. One of the big determining factors of how fast your home will sell and for much, is how easy it is for potential Buyers to see it. If you put a lot of restrictions on how it can be marketed and when it can be shown, expect that it will take longer to sell and you’ll likely be accepting a lower price.
8. “I want my condo sold for the price that I want and I want it sold in 30 days.” That’s great if the price you want is in line with recent sales in the building, but if condos in your building take 60 days to sell and sell for less than your dream price, expect to be disappointed.
9. “I want my house to look lived in, so I don’t want to de-clutter and clean before listing it.” Part of our job as real estate agents is to coach our Seller to present their home so that it appeals to the widest selection of Buyers as possible. That means de-cluttering, neutral furnishings and paint and removing personal items such as photographs. The idea is for the Buyers to picture themselves living in your home – not to picture how you live in it.
10. “I did the electrical updates myself.” We’re fans of DIY, but when it comes to electrical, always hire a licensed electrician. The risks just aren’t worth it.
Thinking of selling? Contact us–we’d be happy to give you the straight goods on your home and the selling process.