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faq for sellersWith over 1,000 Buyers and Sellers reading our blog everyday, we get a lot of questions.  Here are answers to our most popular questions about selling a home in Toronto.

Don’t see an answer to your question? Feel free to leave a comment and we’ll get right on it!

Do I need a real estate agent to sell my house?

No. You can price, market, show and negotiate offers on your own home without the help of a real estate agent. Keep in mind though, that over 90% of home sellers do use a REALTOR and find that the expertise, saved time and higher sold prices are worth the cost of commission.  Of course we’re biased!

I need to sell the house I bought last year. Will I lose money?

That depends.  What sorts of improvements or renovations have you done? How have prices changed in your neighbourhood in the last year? Is there demand for your type of property? Historically, it has taken home buyers 3 years to break even.  You can read more about selling a property you recently bought in this blog.

Do I need a for sale sign on my lawn? 

Some Sellers prefer not to have a ‘For Sale’ sign on their lawn. While it’s completely within your rights to request ‘no sign’, keep in mind that exposure to Buyers is critical to getting top dollar for your home. Your neighbours already love your neighbourhood – why not let them know your home is for sale so they can tell their friends and family?

How much does it cost to sell a house?

When budgeting for the cost of selling your home, you’ll need to take into consideration the costs of staging, real estate commission, legal fees and potentially, a mortgage penalty.

Should I get a pre-listing home inspection?

Generally, we believe in getting pre-listing home inspections for Toronto houses.  Knowing the potential issues with your house before it goes up for sale will give you time to remedy them, or alternatively, price them into your asking price. It will also encourage multiple offers in a hot market. We wrote a blog about Pre-Listing home inspections too.

How much will it cost to stage my house?

Staging costs vary depending on the amount of labour required and how many accessories or pieces of furniture need to be rented and can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Some agents (including the BREL team) have an inventory of staging items that they lend to their clients, greatly reducing the cost of staging. Effective home preparation can make a significant difference to the sold price, though you should always have a frank conversation with your agent about what is worth spending money and time on before you begin the process.

Do open houses work? 

Statistically, open houses account for 4% of home sales, though our team stats are significantly higher (12-15%). As a Seller, you want to make it easy for Buyers to see your home, and open houses are one of the least intimidating ways for Buyers to do that. Of course you’ll have a few nosy neighbours come by your house, but a good real estate agent will be able to concentrate their sales efforts on the real potential Buyers.  In almost every circumstance, we’ll recommend a well-advertised public open house on the first weekend of the sale.

Does marketing matter? Won’t my house sell if I just put it on the MLS?

If sheer availability determined whether or not something would sell, then companies in all industries would save their marketing dollars. We believe that a comprehensive marketing campaign is essential to reaching more Buyers, and that reaching more Buyers is essential to getting the highest price. Effective marketing reaches Buyers both online and offline. 92% of Buyers search for a home online so it’s critical that they are finding your home.

When should I sell my house?

If only there was one answer to this question! Historically, February, March and September have been the months with the highest sold price to asking price ratio; those months are notorious for some of the fiercest bidding wars in Toronto. December and January are historically the slowest months, but depending on the type of property you own, having fewer competing properties in slow months might be a huge benefit to you. It’s best to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of timing the listing of your home  with an experienced real estate agent.

Can I fire my real estate agent? 

When you list your home with a real estate agent, you’ll be asked to sign a Listing Agreement. This legal document will outline the price, commission and length of the contract. Typically in Toronto, Listing Agreements are for 90 days. If you agent isn’t performing to your expectations, begin by having an honest conversation with him/her. If that doesn’t resolve your concerns, contact your agent’s Broker of Record – technically your listing agreement is signed with the brokerage and not the agent, and the broker will have the ability to remedy the situation. Some agents (like our team) offer our Sellers a satisfaction guarantee (you can read our guarantee here).

Who pays Toronto and Ontario land transfer taxes?

The Buyer pays both land transfer taxes.

Should I sell before buying?

The answer to this depends on your personal goals and what’s happening in the real estate market. If you’re buying an in-demand property and selling a less desirable one, you’ll likely want to sell before buying. We looked at all the factors in depth in this blog: Should I buy or sell first?

How should I go about hiring a real estate agent to sell my house?

We always suggest you interview multiple people – skills, experience and a personality fit are critical to having a good selling experience.  Have a read of this list we compiled: 15 Questions to Ask Before Listing Your House.

Should I price my house for a bidding war?

That depends on the kind of house you have, the time of year, what’s happening in the real estate market in general and your goals. We explored this strategy in detail in this blog.

Why isn’t my home selling?

That’s a tough question. Generally, a home doesn’t sell for one of 3 reasons: 1- it isn’t priced right; 2- it hasn’t been well marketed, or 3 – it doesn’t ‘show well’ to potential Buyers (and might need a good cleaning or staging). Talk to your agent and ask to see: 1- what’s been happening in the market in your neighbourhood since you’ve been listed, 2-the marketing that’s been completed and 3- the feedback from agents/Buyers who’ve seen your home.

I have 3 kids under 7 and my house is a disaster. Anything I can do to mitigate this?

Selling a home with young children does present some unique challenges. It’s always important to be flexible with Buyers and let them see your home when it’s convenient for them, so that might mean you and your in-bed-at-7- toddler should consider a temporary move out during the sales process. We’ve written a blog specifically for parent Sellers here.


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