You can sell your home privately, and easily. In Canada’s real estate market, especially in the Toronto and Vancouver, homes are in high demand and in many occasions even sell themselves.
So Why Sell Your Home Privately?
Money. Lots of it. By selling your home privately, you save $5,000 + HST for every $100,000 your home is worth. Therefore, for average home in the GTA (which is at about $700,000), the average savings of selling privately are just shy of $40,000. For $40,000 you can buy a car, put a kid through university, get a new kitchen or put in a pool. Unfortunately real estate commissions in this market are crazy high!
OK I Want to Save Money. How Do I Get Started?
Step 1: Research Neighborhood. Find out what your home is worth. In Canada you can get to the main real estate website and look for other houses in your area. That should give you an idea of a range of how much your home is worth.
Step 2: Appraisal. Get a more firm price for your property, for several hundreds of dollars you can get a professional appraisal done by a certified professional appraiser. There are a few appraisal firms and for example searching on google for an appraisal firm in the GTA shows Appraisal Hub which advertise that the complete certified appraisals within 48 hours. Appraisal generally gives you a more conservative estimate for your home, since they can generally estimate your home in relation to what sold. Your home may sell for more, but they will be reluctant to suggest this to you for liability reasons. For your price you can either go 10%-15% below your asking price and hold offers for a week or two to create a bidding war, or if you see that houses take long time to sell in your area, or that there are multiple similar houses, you may want to price your house at what you actually want it to sell it for plus 5% to allow for “discount” to prospective buyers.
Step 3: Find a Lawyer. You will need a lawyer. You will need one irrespective of whether you are using a real estate agent or not, since real estate agents are not allowed to give you legal advice. Best bet is to find a flat fee lawyer. As of the date of this article the price of a flat fee lawyer ranges from around $1400 to $2500 depending on the value of your home. You want to identify which lawyer to use since you can ask him to review the offer you are most interested in, and generally speaking you can negotiate to have this service included in your fee. Remember, this is cost that you would have to pay regardless of whether you are using a real estate agent or not. Ask around some of your friends for which lawyer they used.
Step 4: Preparing Your Home. New light fixtures, door handles, and some paint can do wonders. Make sure you de-clutter and get some storage bins / storage lockers to put away everything you don’t need. Store your valuables somewhere safe. Clean. For more ideas, you can check out this pinterest page which has a lot of articles as to how
Step 5: Photograph Your Home. You should take pictures of your home. It is very important to get a camera with wide angle lens (NOT fisheye) to be able to show your rooms more accurately. Some touchups with filters such as clarity or photoshop can do wonders do. If you are photography / tech sevy you can do it yourself, otherwise you should get a professional photographer. Depending on the size of your home, it should cost a few hundreds of dollars but it should be worth it.
Step 6: Prepare Some Brochures. You don’t need to go too fancy. Open up word and just put in the most important information about your home. Use smaller font to optimize your page usage and try to include the most relevant information about your home. Dimensions, taxes, maintenance fees (if applicable), upgrades, renovations, schools are a good way to start. Make sure to put 1 or 2 nice pictures of your home. You can also have a brochure professionally printed for you for a few hundreds of dollars. Make the “home made” ones available to the masses and keep a few high quality ones for serious buyers.
Step 7. List. There are plenty of free home sites out there, homenova seems to be a good one since it is free to list and offers a clean interface. They also have a blog with suggestions and ideas. The site is easy to use and takes less than 3 minutes to list. the nice thing about the site is that it also requires registration to message (a free feature) so that you do not have to deal with spam or solicitation. You can also use other sites, like kijiji or craigslist, but those are more succeptible to spam and solication by real estate agents who want to represent you so that they can make commission on your home.
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