Selling your home can seem like a complex process, but the more prepared you are, the easier it’ll be to navigate each step and sign on the dotted line with confidence. We’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide to help ensure you’re moving in the right direction and that your selling experience is as smooth as possible.
Hire A Listing Agent
Although you’ll be paying a commission to use a real estate agent (typically 5% – 6% of the sale price), the value they add is far worth it in the end. A listing agent can help you navigate the real estate market with ease, offer professional guidance, share industry knowledge and interact with interested buyers on your behalf.
Decide On A List Price
Whether you’re moving through the process alone or working alongside a listing agent, how you price your home will have a massive impact on your end results and overall experience. It’s important to focus on what your home is worth based on comparable homes in the area, and not what YOU think it’s worth. If you’ve chosen to work with an agent, part of their job will be to help you price the home as accurately as possible. An agent brings a lot of market knowledge and industry experience to the table so it’s important that you allow them the space to analyze and determine the best-selling price based on comparable properties and other factors.
Understand How Long It Will Take To Sell
Selling your home can take months from start to finish, potentially longer depending on the market conditions and available inventory levels. Working ahead and checking some tasks off your to-do list before you’re ready to sell, can help you shave off extra time and potentially save you a lot of money.
A few months before you’re ready to list, you should consider getting a pre-sale home inspection to see if there are any issues or problem areas that an inspector will catch for potential buyers. Give yourself enough time to schedule any necessary appointments or repairs with service providers so you can ensure your home is ready to pass any inspection once you list.
Renovate, Repair And Stage The Home
Chances are you’ll have a few renovations or repairs that will need to happen before you list your home for sale. While it’s wise to fill in holes, touch up paint, clean up your landscaping, make any minor repairs and get things looking good, it’s also wise to know your limit and not over invest in this area. If you do plan to invest in renovations or changes before you list, make sure the projects you’re pursuing have a high return on investment, so you know they’ll translate into more value for your home. A good real estate agent can help guide you through this step to ensure you’re investing wisely and not spending money on projects that will just have you break even or worse, lose money.
Staging your home can also be a wise investment depending on your situation. This process involves removing excess furniture, personal belongings and any unsightly items from the home while it remains on the market. Staging can also involve re-arranging rooms for optimal flow or to illustrate their purpose more effectively. If you’re worried about selling in a slow market, a professional home stager could help your property stand out from the rest.
List The Home
If you’ve ever looked at home listings, then you definitely know the difference between a good one and a bad one. A professional real estate agent will ensure you have high quality photos/videos and a high quality listing for your home so you can make the best possible first impression online.
Once your listing is live, your real estate agent will manage everything on your behalf so you’ll just need to keep the lines of communication open, ensure your space stays organized and tidy for walkthroughs and that you know about open houses in advance. It’s usually wise to make yourself scarce when buyers come to view your home so they feel more relaxed and are able to envision themselves living in the space.
Market Online And Offline
Ensuring that your property is marketed properly, both online and offline, can have a huge impact on your ability to sell quickly. Speak with your real estate agent about how you can market your property to the widest possible audience and what those options might look like. It’s wise to work with an agent as their knowledge and insight lends itself well to helping you navigate steps like this one smoothly.
Settle On A Final Offer
If everything goes well, a buyer’s agent will present your agent with an offer to buy the home. At this point you’ll have three options – accept their offer as-is, counter the offer or reject it entirely. A real estate agent will always have your best interests in mind and can help you determine how to approach these choices strategically, so you don’t lose out on any solid opportunities or commit to something that isn’t ideal.
Anticipate The Costs Of Selling
It’s important to note that the process of selling a home still comes with a price tag. As with any financial situation, the more prepared you are, the easier it is to make smarter decisions. If you’re thinking about selling your home, make sure you go through the list of potential costs to ensure you have what’s necessary to invest and move forward at full steam ahead. The last thing you want to do is commit to selling only to discover you don’t have the funds to do it properly.
Some costs you can expect to encounter include:
- Real estate agent commission fees
- Government transfer tax
- Recording fees
- Outstanding liens
- Attorney/legal fees
Assemble Your Documentation
In order to properly close a home sale, there’s paperwork required from both the seller and the buyer. Having everything organized in one place means you can quickly grab this documentation once an offer is accepted and not have to stress about gathering it all at the last minute and potentially running into issues with missing items. Some of the main documents you’ll need to have prepared are:
- The original purchase contract for your home
- Property survey, certificate of occupancy, certificate of compliance with local codes
- Mortgage documents
- Tax records
- Appraisal from your home purchase
- Homeowners insurance
- Home inspection report (if applicable)
If you’re unsure about certain documents or want to make sure all your bases are covered, consider speaking with your agent in advance so you can go over exactly what’s needed based on your personal situation.
Close On The Sale
The day your sale closes is the date that funds and ownership will be transferred, so you’ll need to be packed up and moved out beforehand.
While it may seem a little confusing, the closing process is a big part of the home buying/selling experience. For this reason, being prepared for closing day is vital to ensure everything goes smoothly for both you and the buyer. At closing you can expect to review and sign some legal/financial documents including the agreement between you and the buyer transferring ownership of the property.
The final document review and signing will usually take place at your lawyer’s or notary’s office, sometimes a few days before the official close date. On closing day, your lawyer/notary or closing agent will handle arranging the delivery of closing funds from the buyer’s lawyer, registering the transfer and mortgage and releasing keys for the new owners.
Selling a home in Canada doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Being prepared with the knowledge you need to make calculated decisions and choosing to work with a real estate agent will ensure you’re on the right track to success. This step-by-step guide can help you approach the prospect of selling your home with a strategy and some professional guidance so you can feel prepared and confident through each step of the process.