The Ultimate Guide To
Selling A Home In The GTA
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
SELLING A HOME IN THE GTA
- A. Finding the right agent
- B. Valuation
- C. Special features of homes and their impact on value
- D. Costs of selling your home
- E. Your sales strategy
- F. Preparing your home for sale
- G. Accepting an offer
- H. The role of a lawyer
- I. Closing the deal!
- J. The Justo Advantage
FINDING THE RIGHT AGENT
There is a lot more to selling a home than putting a listing on MLS and a sign on your lawn. Success is in the details and proper preparation is key.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong and having an experienced agent who communicates clearly is imperative.
If you are in a rush to get a property on the market, there is a lot of information that needs to be obtained about the property, such as:
Rental Contractsfor things like water heaters or security systems
Warranties and/or Service Contractsfor any appliances, mechanical items, or major components like roofs and foundation waterproofng
Details of Any Major Issueswith the home that occurred during your ownership (e.g. structural, electrical or mechanical)
As a homeowner, you are also responsible for disclosing what is usually referred to as latent defects. These are things that could affect the value of the home, sometimes significantly. Attempting to hide such defects could get you into legal trouble.
Some examples of defects include:
- The home was previously used as an illegal grow-op
- There was a death in the home not from natural causes
- A major structural issue with the property that you’re aware about but isn’t visible
Once all of this information is disclosed, your agent does additional research to validate that everything is accurate and consistent.
If you’re looking to get the maximum exposure and the best price for your home, you’ll likely want to sell it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system with the help of a licensed agent. The MLS is a network of virtually all properties available for sale. All licensed agents are members of this network and have access to these properties for potential buyers. The MLS also feeds this listing data to many third party sources (such as Realtor.ca, treb.com) so that purchasers can search for information about the available properties.
It’s likely that you’ve received hundreds of glossy marketing cards from local real estate agents and seen dozens of shiny “For Sale” signs advertising various agents.
Because of their team approach, Justo operates more efficiently than individual brokers, allowing them to charge only half of the traditional listing fee. If you sell your home using a Justo agent, your commission will be reduced from the standard 2.5% to just 1.25%. On a $1 million home, that’s $12,500 saved.
Your agent should always be advocating for you and your property. They should also keep in close contact with agents
It’s a tough business: Most agents operate as independent, small businesses and spend most of their time and energy on business development, leaving little time to actually service their clients.
Justo takes a collaborative approach, hand-picking experienced agents who are tired of the status quo and are eager to be part of a real estate revolution.
Justo does all of the marketing and business development, then passes on the qualified leads to its agents, allowing them to spend 100% of their time focused on YOU! All Justo agents are rated by clients in a short survey provided at closing, and part of their compensation is dependent on client happiness and satisfaction.
who showed the property or buyers with direct inquiries. Once you have an offer in hand, you want to ensure all people who expressed interest know that an offer has been placed so they can potentially act on it.
This is the person helping you through the sale of likely your single largest asset, so it requires you to put a lot of trust in their expertise. Justo agents understand the magnitude of this transaction, and are sensitive to your individual needs and preferences.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN AGENT:
1. How experienced are they?
2. How busy are they? Will they have time to dedicate to you?
3. How much commission are they charging for their services
4. What is their listing cancellation policy? Are you free to leave if you’re not happy?
5. Do they offer any free services to assist in the sale like staging or virtual tours?
6. How do they market their listings?
7. How well do they know the neighbourhood your home is in?
8. You’ll be relying on them to guide you, so perhaps the most important question is: Do you trust them?
How much is your home actually worth? The short answer is, “Whatever someone is willing to pay for it.”
The value of a home can ﬂuctuate dramatically from one month to the next. For this reason, home valuation is an art, not a science.
It’s important to find an agent who is skilled at providing the most accurate valuation to determine the best listing price. This valuation should also be provided to you in writing, and you should not hesitate to ask your agent to explain how they came to their conclusion.
To make the process as simple as possible, Justo has created a proprietary algorithm to help users quickly and accurately determine what a property is truly worth. The algorithm uses sold data, market trends, and additional factors to give you as accurate a price as possible.
SPECIAL FEATURES OF HOMES AND IMPACT ON VALUE
If backing onto green space, a wooded area or a park, there is a premium on the home’s value.
Potential bump: 7-15%
A waterfront home can add a tremendous amount of value.
Potential bump: 25-50%
The kitchen will always be the heart of the home! A new kitchen with a great layout and equipped with top appliances and finishes will have a big impact on value.
Potential bump: 5-10%
Energy efficient homes, solar or geothermal heating systems, and low VOC materials are all examples of things that can add value to your home.
Potential bump: 7-15%
High Tech Homes:
Automated blinds, high tech thermostats, hard-wired security and smart systems… Smart features that allow you to control your home’s functions remotely definitely add appeal to potential buyers.
Potential bump: 7-15%
Although this means something different to everyone, a great outdoor space definitely adds appeal. Whether you like sport courts, pools, hot tubs & cabanas, or maybe simply a lovely garden, investing in a private backyard oasis can add value to a home if potential buyers see value in it.
Potential bump: 5-8%
Heavy traffic noise and lack of privacy will mean a lower value. However, a home fronting onto a main road could be seen as an opportunity for a buyer to get into a desirable neighbourhood for a reduced price
Potential impact on value: -5 to 10%
Home in disrepair or in need of updating:
Although a home in disrepair will affect what it will sell for, one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. There are many people who love a good fixer upper, but the cost of renovations must be factored into the asking price.
Potential Impact on value: -10 to -30%
Living near major highways or train tracks:
All of these things have a negative impact on a home’s value due to potential noise pollution.
Potential Impact -3 to -6%
Living near major hydro lines, gas lines or wind farms:
All come with some health warnings, which impact on the bottom line.
Potential impact: -4 to 7%
Being close to industrial and or commercial uses:
Major industrial or commercial areas bring traffic, people, rodents and noise, all of which can impact your privacy, along with your asking price.
Potential impact -5 to -10%
Most expensive house on the street:
Being the first to rebuild or renovate in an area can kickstart a whole neighbourhood’s regentrification. However, if you’re trying to sell a substantially high-value home, it can come with a financial drawback.
Potential impact on value: -7 to -15%
CALCULATING THE REAL POTENTIAL REVENUE
Congratulations! You just received a valuation of $1 million for your home. But before you start hunting for that newer, larger house, you need to do a little math, because there are a number of costs associated with the sale of your property:
Typically, sellers pay 5% of the final sale price of their home in commissions; this is usually split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent 50/50, so 2.5% each
E.g. On a $1 million home, the seller pays out $50,000 in commissions. Real estate commissions are subject to HST so that is $57,500 in total.
With a Justo agent, sellers pay only half of the typical listing fee, meaning that on the same $1 million home, the seller would save $12,500
2. Additional closing costs
a. Mortgage Penalties: This is a fee to pay off your existing mortgage if it is in a closed term, which will involve a prepayment penalty.
b. Lawyers fees and disbursements
c. Penalties to break any contracts that are not being assumed by the buyer or are not transferable.
It is important to be aware of these costs so you’ll have an accurate idea of how much you’ll net from the sale of your home.
Justo agents help their clients fully understand all fees and expenses so they’ll always know exactly what to expect.
YOUR SALES STRATEGY
Your real estate agent will provide you with a valuation based on the criteria outlined in section “D” above, and from there you can decide on the listing price.
One thing most often overlooked by sellers is the amount of time it takes to properly prepare a home for sale. If you want to sell in the spring, you should start working with your agent about 1-2 months prior to that, depending on the condition of your home. It takes a lot of time and energy to declutter and organize, especially if you have lived in the home for a long time. It also takes time to complete all of the marketing materials, such as 3D virtual tours, floorplans, etc. You’ll want these in hand from the day your home hits the market, when interest is at its peak. A number of strategies exist for listing your home, and should be discussed at length with your agent:
a. Listing price: Depending on market conditions, you’ll need to decide if you want to list your home for less than it’s worth to increase interest, at current market, or above market value with the hopes of getting your desired price.
b. When to list: Spring and fall are usually the busiest times for real estate, with the highest number of buyers and sellers. However, if selling at these times, you will usually be competing for buyers’ attention due to more available inventory.
c. Open houses or private showings only? An open house can bring more traffic through your home, but can take a toll on your time. You may want to show your home by appointment only.
d. Updates: You and your agent should discuss if they think there are any updates you should do to the home that may increase its value. Together, you can make a decision about whether to invest a bit into the home in hopes of a better return, or let the new buyer complete some updates to their own personal tastes.
Your Justo agent will be a great resource in helping your build the best plan for selling your home.
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE
Sure, you love your home, but everyone has different styles and preferences. When marketing your property, you want it to appeal to the most people possible. There are a number of tactics that can help in this area and maximize the price you get.
Once you have made the decision to sell, think of your home as a product you are trying to market instead of your own personal haven.
If you’ve ever watched HGTV, one thing is abundantly clear: Most home buyers have no imagination! People want to buy and see homes that are move-in ready, bright and spacious.
This is where staging becomes important. When you are living in a home it is to your personal taste and style, but when you decide to sell it, it becomes a product that you are marketing, and you will face competition.
Staging shows potential buyers what it could be like to live there, helping you get the most equity from the sale of your property.
A professional stager like Michelle Finnamore from Michelle Finnamore Interiors can do wonders for your home’s appeal. Whether your home is currently empty and requires furniture rentals, or is filled to the brim with too much stuff, Finnamore can help with suggestions to market your home for the greatest return on investment.
For those wanting to go the DIY route, Finnamore offers room by room detailed tips to instantly add value to your home:
Professional staging can increase a home’s worth anywhere from 6% to 15%, and can help sell a home up to 10 days faster than an unstaged property
Justo offers their clients professional consultation on home staging, helping to sell their home faster and for the highest possible price.
CLOSETS: Keep what you need for the next 90 days and place the rest of the items in empty suitcases. Buyers are looking for space in their new home, and a roomy, organized closet gives a good impression.
KITCHEN: Bring all of the tallest items to the front of the food shelf; this makes the cabinet appear very organized.
CABINETS: White ceramic items are best to display in glass kitchen cabinets as they create a calm and spacious look in listing photos.
WINDOWS & GLASS DOORS: One of the most overlooked things when selling is the windows. Taking the time to clean the windows and screens inside and out can go a long way towards people’s first impression of the home. This step will make your home appear brighter and cleaner, and better connects the home to the outdoors
U.S. firm Zillow reports that using gray-blue paint shades on the walls of your kitchen will increase the value of your home by an average of $2,000 or more!
TOP 4 SIY
(STAGE IT YOURSELF TIPS)
Judy Romeo of Judy Romeo Interiors offers these four DIY tips:
1. Declutter and clean: This is number 1! Get rid of all personal items around the home, such as family photos. Remove any clutter that isn’t decorative or serving a design/functional purpose. Finally, deep clean the home so it’s free of dust and dirt.
2. Pay attention to the outside: It’s the first thing people see upon approaching the home, so keep it clean, tidy and fresh. Adding two simple planters by the porch or front door, along with a mat, will make the property more welcoming.
3. Small home repairs: Make sure everything’s in good working order and there are no major damages. Small things can go a long way, such as refacing cabinet doors or replacing door handles.
4. Lighting: Make sure to swap out burnt out bulbs or blue-hued bulbs for warm yellow ones, so when buyers come through in the evening, the home is inviting and shows well.
Already moved out and taken your stuff with you? No problem. Virtual staging can help potential buyers imagine not what your home is, but what it could be. This special program allows the stager to virtually populate furniture and decor into the empty space, turning it into a beautiful showcase for online visitors.
When preferable, Justo provides their clients with cutting-edge virtual staging to help maximize exposure. It’s all part of Justo’s free, valueadded services.
3D VIRTUAL TOURS
New technology is dramatically changing the way we market homes, and one great example is the emergence of 3D virtual tours.
Using high resolution infrared 4K cameras, tour producers like Jonas Lood of Lightbound 3D create an interactive experience of your property that allows viewers to “walk-through” the home directly from their desktop or mobile device.
3D Tours offer several advantages including:
- Interactive 3D which lets the viewer walk through different rooms
- Engaging Dollhouse view. Advanced infrared cameras read the dimensions and layout of each space to create a three dimensional 3D dollhouse ﬂoor plan that is completely interactive.
- Auto tour feature allows users to run the tour like a film
- Schematic ﬂoor plans with measurements.
Lightbound 3D also provides 20-25 high-definition photographs to the homeowner for use on MLS, as well as two video snippets -10 seconds and 15 seconds respectively – to share on social media.
With the real estate process going digital, a 3D virtual tour is a great way to market a home to a far-reaching audience, particularly investors overseas.
Good photographs are essential to selling a home in today’s market. With the majority of interest in a home being done online, it is critical that listings feature professional, accurate photos that show your home in the best possible light.
Justo includes professional photography as part of its value-added services.
DIGITAL AND TRADITIONAL MARKETING
Many agents are content to plant a yard sign, put a listing on MLS, and hope for the best.
Justo believes this is not enough, and goes above and beyond to market and advertise your property to bring maximum exposure.
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE
If you’re lucky, you’ll receive multiple offers and ultimately get more than you hoped for.
If, however, you receive only one offer (or at least only one reasonable offer), you’ll need to decide whether to accept it or not.
Often buyers will offer less than they are actually willing to pay, so you will likely have the opportunity to negotiate for more.
Once you have landed on a mutually agreeable price, you can accept the offer!
THE ROLE OF THE LAWYER
Once you have sold the property, you’ll need an experienced lawyer to help you get all of your paperwork in order.
Mark Weisleder, Senior Partner and Notary Public with RealEstateLawyers.ca, offers the following counsel:
1. Make sure you have given your lawyer a copy of any deed, mortgage, survey and current property tax bills. You should have received most of these documents from your lawyer when you first bought the home.
2. Do not cancel your insurance policy until the deal has closed. Also, if you are moving out more than 30 days before closing, you need to notify your insurer that the home will be vacant for more than 30 days, as your risk has increased. This way, you will still be covered if anything happens in the home up to the closing date.
3. You’ll meet your lawyer to sign the papers a few days before closing. Make sure you give them at least one set of keys for the buyer’s lawyer at closing.
4. If you are a non-resident of Canada, you must obtain a certificate from Canada Revenue Agency regarding any income tax payable, or else the buyer can hold back 25% of the sale price until you receive it. Non-resident means you have not lived in Canada for at least 183 days before the closing day. This can take up to two months so let your lawyer know right away.
5. Call your utility providers to read your meters on the day of closing to ensure you are only responsible for your share of utilities.
6. Notify your cable and telephone provider as soon as possible so that your services can be disconnected. If you wait until the last minute they often charge cancellation fees or an additional month’s service.
7. If your house is heated with an oil tank, you need to make arrangements to fill the tank on the closing day.
8. Cancel any pre-authorized or postdated cheques at your bank to ensure you’re not paying unnecessary bills after closing.
9. You have to be out of the property when the deal closes, so arrange to move out before 5:00 pm.
CLOSING THE DEAL!
Congratulations on the sale of your home! Enjoy the next stage, wherever or whatever that may be!
THE JUSTO ADVANTAGE
All Justo real estate agents are experienced with local expertise and compensated based on a Star Rating System to ensure client satisfaction.
No Seller Obligations
No obligation necessary. Clients may cancel at anytime throughout the transaction process.
In-house professional photography, home/virtual staging, 3D virtual tours, and home marketing & advertising services are all included with Justo.
Additional services cost extra and require clients to hire multiple companies.
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* In addition to the listing fee, the seller also pays a buyer’s agent commission, set by the seller, but commonly 2.5% + HST. HST is applicable on all commissions. All commissions are negotiable.
** Justo Inc., Brokerage covers the cost for basic staging, professional photography, 3D virtual tours, floor plans, and comprehensive home marketing. These services are provided by industry professionals selected by Justo Inc., Brokerage in its sole discretion. Terms and conditions may apply.
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