Selling a House: The Ultimate Toronto Homeowners Guide

Here's the Best Tips & Advice on Selling a Home in Toronto, Ontario


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What are the Best Tricks to Selling a Toronto House

Selling a home in Toronto is a fun and exciting venture. The real estate market in Toronto is still going strong, and there are tons of buyers looking for their next home purchase. Whether you are a seasoned seller or a first-time seller, getting your house ready to sell can feel like a daunting task. There are lots of things to consider when you are thinking of putting your house up on the Toronto market. While you may know a thing or two about the process, you may also be wondering about those extra tips for selling your home that can really save you time and money.

Luckily, there are lots of easy things you can add to your to-do list that can help you when it is time to sell. The process does not have to be stressful or daunting – with some research and preparation, your home will be ready for the open house!

So, what are the best tricks to selling a Toronto house? Let’s look at a few tricks and tips for selling your home as we go through what is involved in selling a home in Toronto.

How to Get Your House Ready to Sell

Getting your house ready to sell is a lot like preparing for a job interview. It takes preparation and research! First, you want to find a trusted Toronto Realtor to work with. Your Realtor will help you understand the current real estate market in your area, and help you understand what you might want to ask for when you list your home.

Also, your Realtor can help you understand what you can do to improve the value of your home. You may want to do some quick renovations or upgrades to your house, such as fixing a dated kitchen or swapping out carpets for laminate floors.

You will also want to start packing up your stuff and clearing out any clutter to prepare for showing your home. When you show your home, you want to have the décor as un-personalized and minimal as possible. No one wants to see a cluttered bookshelf, or a walk-in closet filled to the brim. Buyers want to be able to visualize what their life would be in your home if they were to buy, so you want to make it as clean and chic as possible, while removing things like family photos.

In a market like Toronto, it may also make sense to stage your home for simplicity. Staging your home means you work with a staging company (or a talented realtor who is savvy at staging) to bring in rental furniture to design the interior of your home. This can really help improve the bids you get for your home, and the small investment you make in staging can really pay off.

Lastly, before you list as one of the house for sales in Toronto, you should consider getting a pre-inspection so you can fix anything before the house is on the market and a home inspector is brought in by a potential buyer.

Things to Do When Selling a Home in Toronto

When you are selling your home in Toronto, you really want to understand the real estate market. There are high and low seasons, and different areas in the city have different expectations of the market. While your friend in the East end may have had 10 bids over asking, your other friend in the West end may have only gotten one bid for their home because they listed their home too high in the winter time.

When you are wondering what to do to sell your house, talking to a realtor and doing research on the market and your area is key. Understand the buyers who would be interested in your home, and cater to those buyers.

Steps to Selling a Toronto Home

Now that you are ready to sell, you want to understand the procedure for selling a house. Listed below is a loose timeline of what steps you will take to sell a Toronto home:

  1. Find a good Realtor – The most important step, as your realtor will be there to help you during the entire process!

  2. Hire a lawyer – You will need a real estate lawyer when it comes time to close, and you will need one if you are buying a new home. Find someone you trust, and if you are not sure who to hire, your realtor can probably recommend someone

  3. Get your house ready to sell – Hire a home inspector, declutter, do any fixes and renovations, and stage/prepare your home for viewing

  4. List your home – Your Realtor will to ensure your pricing is what you want and competitive in the market

  5. Schedule an open house or house showings – Be prepared to make arrangements to allow for chunks of times for an open house or block of showings

  6. Negotiate and accept a bid – Work with your Realtor on how much you are willing to negotiate. Included in this will also be a closing date, which is negotiable, and it may include things that came up in the inspection that require resolving before the house closes

  7. Paperwork for closing – Your realtor and lawyer can help you navigate these steps

Note that this timeline can move quick or slowly. Some buyers and sellers move really fast, while others have a longer close date.

Should I Get My Home Inspected Before Selling My House

Having a home inspection done is always a worthwhile investment. Many buyers will get their own inspection before they make an offer, and you want to be prepared to deal with anything that they find. Big issues, such as cracked foundation or a leaky roof, will really impact the sales process and could be quite costly for you.

Toronto is a competitive market, so many buyers are willing to take on some extra work to secure the property of their dreams. However, you want to have a full view of what might come up should an inspector come in and it is good to have your own individual inspection. Once you know what needs fixing, you can choose to fix it yourself before you list, or amend the price to reflect the fixes that the buyer will have to take on. At the end of the day, the more information the better because surprises are never fun, and usually cost money, in the home selling process.

Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a House

It is good to come to your Realtor with a list of questions when selling a house. This will help you feel confident you have as much information as possible, and it will help you decide if your realtor is the right realtor for you.

Some good questions to ask are:

  1. Are you a full-time realtor? Will I be dealing with you exclusively if we work together?

  2. What tactics will you use when selling our home?

  3. What is the current market like in Toronto? What are comparables to homes like ours?

  4. How much do you think we should list our house for?

  5. What are some things you would recommend we do to the home to increase the value?

  6. What are some marketing tactics you will use to sell our home?

  7. What is your track record for selling homes like ours?

  8. What is your negotiation style like?

  9. Do you have a lawyer you can recommend? A staging company?

  10. Do you have any references?

  11. What is your communication style like?

Do not be afraid of asking questions! Selling your home is a big decision. Any good realtor should be more than happy to answer as many questions as you have. You want to feel at ease knowing that your realtor will work with you, and for you on your behalf.

How to Buy Your Next House Before Selling Yours

If you are considering buying a home before selling yours, you should work very closely with a trusted, talented Realtor. Buying before selling can be risky, because you do not want to be in a situation where you are holding two mortgages. Unless you can afford it, you want to avoid this situation. However, for some people this risk is totally okay and they choose to find a new home before selling.

At the end of the day, juggling the buying and selling of homes in conjunction can be an emotional process. Home owners that are selling do not want to be without a home, either, so they often try to find their new home while selling theirs. Your Realtor should be able to advise you on how to proceed if you are moving from one house to the next.

The most important thing you will need in place is the financials. You will need to have enough money available in order to qualify for the mortgage on the new house, since you will also have a mortgage on your current home (since it is not sold yet). If you do not have enough money in savings or investments, you might be able to take out equity on your current home to be able to qualify for the new home while you sell.

Talk to your realtor and lender about everything before you get started, so you have a good idea of what you need financially to make it work.

Forms for Selling a House

There is lots of paperwork involved in selling a home. You want to make sure that you have everything organized and crossed off as you move into the home sale.

Some paperwork you will need are:

  • Seller representation agreement (an agreement between you and your realtor to list your home and work together)

  • Seller Property Information Statement (everything you know about the home – some of this information can come from the inspection, but if you choose not to have an inspection, you can fill this out yourself)

  • Deeds

  • Surveys (if available)

  • Property tax receipts

  • Renovation contracts (if applicable)

  • Transferable warranties (on any appliances or renovations)

  • Agreement of Purchase and Sale – A legally binding agreement once signed that means the buyer has agreed to buy your home for an agreed upon price

Taxes on Selling a House

The CRA introduced new rules in October of 2016 stating that you do need to report any sale of a home on your income taxes. However, you do not have to pay capital gains taxes if you are selling your primary residence. Only one property can be listed as your primary residence – it can be a condo or your cottage – and you don’t have to live in it all the time, but you can only have one. If you sell a property that you have not designated as your principal residence, such as an income property, then you will have to report half of any capital gains from the sale and pay taxes on those.  

How Important is Curb Appeal When Selling Your Home

The curb appeal of your home is incredibly important when selling. Your curb appeal is the first impression any potential buyer will get when they first walk up to your house, and in a competitive market like Toronto, it can make or break the sale.

Take the time to do some quick and easy landscaping. A lot of what you can do is cheap and easy. Pressure wash any decks, stairs, sidewalks, and siding. Paint the door or windows for a quick refresh. Get the lawn looking good and plant some flowers. A little goes a long way, and you will see the benefits once you sell.

The Bottom Line

Selling your home is exciting. It is a great time to finally cash in on the investment you have made in your home. The process should be as stress-free as possible, and if you surround yourself with the right professionals, you should feel confident that you are taking all the right steps.

With a few easy tricks, selling your home in Toronto should be a breeze. The market is healthy, and buyers are eager to find their next property!