Most that own a home know that this is a valuable asset to them, that can be cashed in on once the decision is made to sell the home. Many homeowners spend years on building the equity in their home. Once it is going to be put on the market, they want and expect a good return on this investment. But, they soon realize that it costs money to sell a home. Those who are intent on cutting some of these costs may consider selling a house without a realtor in Ontario.
Selling a House Without a Realtor In Ontario
Anyone that is going to sell their house without a realtor has some learning ahead of them. There are a lot of legalities that come with this type of venture. For the sale to be valid and to avoid costly mistakes the private home seller has to be well informed about the entire process of selling a home. There can be a variety of reasons why someone would want to sell their home privately such as;
- They want to be able to save on the real estate commissions. These usually range from 3% to 6% of the sale price.
- The homeowner doesn’t have much equity built up in the home and cannot afford to sell if it means paying realty fees.
- The homeowner wants to keep control of the showings and when they are scheduled.
- Not having to pay the real estate fees many give them more room when negotiating the sale price
How Do I Sell My Own House Without a Realtor?
It is quite possible to sell your house without a realtor, but there is a process that has to be followed for one to be successful at this.
Do You Need a Licence to Sell Houses?
As a private homeowner, you have the right to sell your house privately and do not need a licence to do so. However, if you are assisting someone else in selling a house and are going to receive payment for this, then you may need to be a licenced realtor.
Do I Need Lawyer to Sell My House in Ontario?
You will need a lawyer to finalize the sale of your house in Ontario. This applies to both if you are using a realtor or if you are selling the house privately. There are several legal aspects that come with a house sale, and only a lawyer has the resources and expertise to attend to these. Real estate lawyers act for both sellers and buyers of houses. For the seller they will take on the responsibility of;
- Determining what the closing costs are when the deal is closed
- Ensure that the agreed-upon money is given in trust to the lawyer at the time of closing
- Make sure that the agreement of sale is legal
- Prepare the deed
- Make sure that all the seller’s obligations have been met
- Help the seller to address any concerns about disclosure
- Deal with the buyer’s lawyer
How To Sell a House Privately in Ontario
Selling a house means following a process. For those that are selling privately, they will have to follow the home selling process as closely as possible if they want to be successful. Anyone that is going to take this one has to realize that it is going to demand a big time commitment. But, if they are willing to do this, then there is no reason why they cannot be successful with a private home sale. The following is a step by step plan that is easy to follow.
Step 1: Get Prepared
Before you even put the house on the market, you need to be prepared. This in itself is comprised of several steps.
You need to know what your plans are for yourself once the house is sold. This will help you to determine a closing date when offers begin to come in on your home.
If you are going to be buying a new home, then you may want to get pre-approved for a new mortgage. This can help give you some guidelines as to what you will need to sell your house for. Also, what playing room you have when negotiating a sale.
What do you need to do to your home to get it in proper selling condition? There is a lot to this question because it deals with those aspects where improvements can be made to the house to help boost the selling price. It can also deal with issues that the home may have when it comes to disclosure about the home.
Disclosure about the state of the home can differ in some respects for the private home seller compared to the real estate agent. Some agents will have home sellers fill out a Seller Property Information Statement. This may be as a result of a policy of the real estate agency. It is not compulsory by law for a home seller to fill this out. It is a very complex and detailed form.
Ontario law dictates that homeowners only have to disclose issues that are considered to be a “latent defect disclosure”. These are defects that would make the home or property dangerous to occupy, or not fit to live in. Conditions that could come into this category are;
- Structural damage
- Leaking or damaged roof
The seller has to be aware of these conditions before the sale. If these are evident to the homeowner then before putting the home on the market, they should be corrected.
Esthetic Upgrades for Increasing the Value of the Home;
There are several options when it comes to doing esthetic improvements that may help to increase the sale value of the home, as well as help to sell the home faster.
- A fresh paint job: A new coat of paint throughout the home can do wonders for sprucing up the home and giving it a fresh new look. At the same time, any minor wall repairs can be done. Sticking with neutral colours should be the priority.
- Cleaning Carpets: Even if the carpets are not going to be sold with the home cleaning them will create a better impression of the home.
- Capitalize on Natural Lighting: It may be worth while to remove heavy drapes and replace them with lighter ones that will allow the natural light to come on. This is something that is important to many home buyers.
- Declutter: A good time to declutter is before you put the home on the market. This allows it to show better and is something worthwhile doing being as you are going to be moving anyway.
- Clean and Organize Basement and Garage: By making sure the basement and garage are clean and organized it creates the picture that the house is bigger than what they thought and that there is plenty of storage space.
- Organize Closets and Cupboards: Many interested home buyers will want to see inside the closets and cupboards. If they are organized, it allows for a much more positive presentation.
- Get Rid of Pet Odours: You may have become desensitized to the odours created by your pets. It is worth getting a third party to come into your home to see if they detect these odours. If so then the necessary steps to get rid of them should be taken.
- Don’t Forget About the Curb Appeal. Pay attention to the exterior of the home and attend to any flaws that may be present, that could attract the attention of home buyers.
Setting the Sale Price
Naturally, everyone wants to get the most money they can from the sale of their home. But setting the sale price has to be done in a realistic manner. You want all your efforts for privately selling your home to pay off so there are some tips that you can follow to help you with pricing.
Research Listed Homes
You will need to do some research and see what homes are selling for in your area. Focus on those that are most comparable to your home.
- For example, the date that the home was built, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any updates.
- The square footage of the home
- Narrow this down to homes that have been listed in the last three months.
- Focus on homes listed that are within a maximum of a ½ mile distance.
Do the Reseach for Homes That Have Sold
- Here you are going to put your attention on the homes that have sold compared to what they were listed for.
You also want to check out listings that have become outdated or were taken off the market. Try to determine why they didn’t sell or why there were withdrawn. This can help you to avoid some common mistakes when pricing your house.
You always have the option of getting an appraisal of your home to help you determine the sale price. But, this is an extra expense that may not be necessary. Also, consideration has to be given to what the housing market is like at the time of your sale. Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?
Step 2: Putting the House on the Market
Once the preparation steps have been concluded the next step is putting the house on the market. Private home sellers are going to want to mimic the professional realtors as much as possible, so they get the proper exposure. There is a procedure for doing this.
The private home seller is going to want to advertise the home using as many resources as possible. Ideally, images of the home should go with the advertising whenever possible. This means taking some good images as in this case the adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” will certainly hold true.
Taking Proper Images
There are plenty of tips that can be used to help with taking proper pictures and the following are just a few, with the understanding that good photo equipment is going to be used for capturing the images.
- Try to use a wide angle lens
- Take images in landscape
- Make sure the lighting is at its best
- Focus on the best features of each room
- Review the images carefully before posting
There is also the option of creating a video if one has some good knowledge in how to do this. This should only be done if one knows how to produce good quality video.
Advertising and Marketing Resources
One of the additional costs that realtors are faced with is the advertising and marketing costs. The private home buyer is going to be faced with these costs as well. But there are also plenty of free resources that can be utilized to advertise the home for sale as well as paid resources. Some of which are as follows;
- Online homes for sale directories online
- Online want adds such a kiiji
- Platforms that allow for home listing and will assist with MLS listings. This is not a free service but being able to get your property listed on MLS can be a huge resource. Prices can vary for this service like a monthly rate or a flat rate until the home sells.
- Local newspaper listings
- Putting a for sale sign on the property
Aside from advertising, there are other marketing tactics that can be implemented. Such as having an open house. This will not only attract potential buyers but real estate agents as well. Some of these agents will try and encourage the private seller to list with them. But, many may have interested buyers who they will bring for a showing.
Step 3: Controlling the Showings
One of the advantages of selling the home privately is having control over the showings. However, it should be made very clear in all advertising material that showings are by appointment only. You want to be as accommodating as possible when arranging showings and sometimes may be better than others. Some tips for home showing are:
- Home staging: Focus on making your home look warm and inviting. This can be done by staging the dining room table make it look prepared for a cozy family meal.
- Pleasant Odours. You may want to have something delectable is cooking in the oven.
- Sending the Pets Out Temporarily: If you have pets, you may want to see if a neighbour would be willing to watch them during showings. Or, at the very least perhaps arrange for the kids to take them for a walk during this time.
- The Right Time for You: If you have young children that take a nap at a specific time during the day then don’t arrange for showings during this time. Also, make sure showings are before bedtimes of the children.
- Always Be Prepared: Don’t leave things to the last minute to organize before a showing. This often leads to things getting shoved in closets.It is extra work, but constantly keep the home in show condition.
- Check the Lighting: If the showing is in the daytime make sure there is plenty of natural lighting being utilized. For nighttime showings keep the lighting warm and cozy but bright enough that home shoppers can get a good view of each room.
Step 4: Receiving an Offer
It is an exciting but somewhat stressful moment when an offer is presented. In most cases, the potential buyer will be dealing with a real estate agent. In this case, the agent will present the offer. As the seller, you now need to determine what the offer is. This means two things.
- You need to review it carefully
- it needs to be reviewed by your lawyer before signing it.
What to Look for in the offer to purchase:
The legalities of the offer to purchase should be in order if prepared by a real estate agent. But, there are some important points contained within the offer that the seller will want to review. These include;
- The price being offered
- The deposit
- Down payment
- Terms or conditions: These can mean the offer is good based on acceptance of financing, or on condition that the buyer can sell their home.
- Inclusions or exclusions: Sometimes buyers may want appliances or other items included in the offer.
- Closing date
- Date of acceptance of the offer: Buyer will set a period that the offer is good for. Usually, this is a short period because they want answers quickly as to whether the deal is going to be accepted
Taking the Offer to the Lawyer
It is necessary that the seller take any potential offers to their lawyer. Any changes that the seller wants to make can be done by the lawyer. When this is completed, then the offer is signed back to the potential buyer who then has the specified amount of time to accept the offer with the changes. If they do then the house is officially sold unless anything turns up during the rest of the process that has to be carried out by both the buyer’s and seller’s lawyer.
Paperwork for Selling a House Without a Realtor in Ontario
The seller’s lawyer is going to require some documents from the seller. These will include;
- Copies of the most recent utility bills
- Mortgage information
- The deed to the property
- The latest tax bills
- Other documents the lawyer may request
These documents are necessary to adjust the closing costs as they pertain to the closing date.
Depending on the housing market it can turn out that a seller will receive multiple offers. In this case, the same procedure has to be followed in reviewing the offers. But, only one offer can be accepted. It is up to the seller to disclose whether there want to disclose to the potential buyers that there are multiple offers on the table and what the differences are.
The Pros and Cons of FSBO in Ontario
There are advantages and disadvantages to FSBO ( For Sale By Owner) in Ontario, and these should be carefully considered.
- Being able to ask the price that one wants for the home with no agent influence
- Control over the showings
- The opportunity to take the house off the market as the listing is not bound by a realtor listing contract
- No real estate fees
- Selling a home privately is time-consuming
- The necessity to learn the ins and outs of selling a home
- Increased legal fees as the lawyer may charge more for a private sale because they have more work to do
- Having to be constantly available for seller inquiries
- The hassle of having to find the right resources for marketing and advertising
If you are still of the mind that you are ready to take on the task of selling your home, then this guide should prove to be most valuable to you.