Selling A Property In Canada? Here Are Some Tips!

How to Sell a House Or Property in Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide
  1. Step #1 – Estimate your home or property’s value and cost of selling your home or property …
  2. Step #2 – Choose how to sell your home or property. …
  3. Step #3 – Prepare Your Property for Sale. …
  4. Step #4 – Add Appeal, Inside and Out. …
  5. Step #5 – The Offer Process. …
  6. Step #6 – Prepare for the Final Transaction. …
  7. Alternative: Sell Your House or property on Directly for ZERO Commission.

If you’re wondering how to sell your home in Canada, you’ve got plenty of work ahead of you. Many home sellers believe that Realtors will handle everything and that all they need to do is sign the papers. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

As the homeowner, you play a vital role in preparing your home for the market, determining your asking price, striking the deal, and handing over the role of ownership.

It’s also important to know that everything from Realtor fees to closing costs will vary by market. Even if you’ve sold a home in Canada before,  the process may be different if you’ve moved to a different province.


Below is an overview of the home selling process in Canada to help you make informed decisions at every stage and get the best possible outcome for your efforts.

Step #1 – Estimate your home value and cost of selling your home

When you’re selling a home or property in Canada, all you may be thinking about is making money. But before you decide to sell, you should also consider what it will cost you.

The cost of selling a home can catch homeowners by surprise. A portion of your earnings will be spent on real estate agent commissions, along with an appraisal (about $400), repairs to the home, closing costs (about $500-$1,500 for sellers), moving expenses, and staging fees.

You may also face a mortgage prepayment penalty or discharge fee between $200 and $600 for paying off your mortgage early. You will need to check with your lender to see if this fee applies.

For some buyers, the cost of waiting is another thing to consider. For each month you wait to sell your home, you’re paying another month of mortgage, interest, homeowner’s insurance, and maintenance. If you’re hoping to reduce your living expenses and liability, listing your home as soon as possible may alleviate these costs.

The goal is to calculate what selling your home will cost you so you can set realistic expectations when turning a profit. Simply listing your home for more than you purchased it for doesn’t guarantee an automatic profit. You’ll need to consider how much you’re spending to determine how much you can list it for so you can do better than break even.

You should also estimate your home value to understand what your home is worth.

Step #2 – Choose how to sell your home

When selling your home in Canada, you have three main options: choose from hundreds of Realtors, sell your home yourself, or sell directly with an .

Home sellers might be surprised to know that not all Realtors are created equal. Not only do Realtors vary in skill in the industry; they also vary in commissions. Agent fees in Canada range from 3% to 7%, which has a major impact on how much of your home sale you walk away with.

For example, the average home value in Canada is $455,000, which means you could be paying between $13,650 and $31,850 in agent commissions alone. That’s a major difference that can quickly eat away your profits, so it’s essential to choose an agent that gives you the best value but also provides adequate service for the price you pay.

In hot markets, some homeowners skip the real estate agent commission altogether in favor of a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) approach. This means that instead of losing some of your profit to an agent, you take on their responsibilities yourself. However, homeowners don’t save as much as they expect because they still need to pay the buyer’s agent fee and the MLS listing fee. It’s also recommended to get a professional appraisal to set your listing price.

Make sure you weigh your options to see if you’re better off doing all the work yourself to save a little money vs. paying an agent to bear much of the home sale process and give you less responsibility in the process.

If you’re looking for a mostly hands-free approach that also gives you the best value, an ad on might make the most sense. You get a guaranteed offer on your home, no matter its condition, and don’t have to pay hefty real estate commissions.

Step #3 – Prepare Your Property for Sale

If you want to attract buyers the traditional way, you’ll need a standout listing that not only talks about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms but also sells the vision of what it’s like to live in your home. Aside from home features like big closets and square footage, talk about how close you are to area amenities. Mention if you’ve just repainted or added new appliances.

Use our guide on how to write a standout listing that will earn buyers’ attention or skip the listing and hassles of home preparation altogether if you choose to use an .

Most homes, commercial properties in Canada are not in sell-ready condition, which means you’ll spend time and money fixing up the home for potential buyers.

It’s difficult to estimate exactly how expensive this step is because repairs and maintenance can vary. Here’s a look at what some of the most common tasks will cost:

  • Power washing the home’s exterior: $200
  • Replacing the weather stripping on doors and windows: $150-$500
  • Repainting all walls, doors, ceilings, and trim: $6,500 for a typical 2,000-square-foot home
  • Repainting exterior elements: $1,000 or more
  • New stove: $400-$3,000 or more
  • New countertops: $70 to $80 per square foot
  • New mailbox: $50-$200

Approach home repairs with caution. Some repairs and upgrades are necessary, but not all of them will add value to your home or help it sell faster.

The most valuable repairs are increasing energy efficiency (recoups about 60% of your investment), adding a kitchen island or whirlpool bathtub (earns about 65% of your investment), and replacing the roof (ROI ranges from 50% to 80%). Your real estate agent can help you figure out which upgrades are the most worthwhile in your market.

Step #4 – Add Appeal Inside & Out

Curb appeal makes a strong first impression. Boosting your home’s exterior with bright flowers, a new mailbox, or freshly washed walkways can set a positive tone for what the buyer will find inside.

You may also want to do a little home staging to make your home more attractive to buyers. Home staging goes beyond cleaning and painting to make your home stand out from others. Some people even go as far as renting art or furniture to create the right look. This can cost hundreds of dollars per room, so make sure you weigh the benefits carefully.

Step #5 – The Offer Process

The average time a home will stay on the market before going under contract will vary between markets. There’s also the possibility that your home will remain unsold, especially given Canada’s real estate market downturn at the end of 2018. 

If you receive an offer on your home, you can either accept the offer as-is, decline it, or make a counteroffer. The negotiation process is a tricky scenario as each party wants to walk away a winner in the deal.

Once both parties have reached an agreement, the offer is documented as a formal contract, and the closing process begins.

Step #6 – Prepare for the Final Transaction

While most of the tasks associated with closing are the buyer’s responsibility, homeowners also have work to do. Before the final closing date, you’ll need to locate important home documents, make repairs stipulated in the purchase agreement, and create the official disclosure statements.

The seller is obligated by law to disclose any known latent defects in the home, such as mold infestations or other dangers. Under certain conditions, you may be required to disclose if the property has been the site of a marijuana grow operation or if there’s a stigma related to the property (e.g., a murder occurred on-site).

  • Always Consult A Lawyer To Close Your Deal And To Draft Your Purchase & Sales Agreement. 

Free Real Estate Purchase Agreement

Buying A Property? Here Are Some Suggestions & Tips!

Buying a For Sale By Owner house

Nancy Barker did, but the senior vice president at Arm Energy also recognized a big opportunity to own the house of her dreams—a four-bedroom, custom-built, one-owner with a large backyard and a converted attic office space. An Internet search, a generic sales contract and a lengthy phone call later, Barker and her boyfriend, Rob Bieco, became the proud new owners of a beautiful Canmore, Alta. family home, located just north of 8th Street. Were they mad?

For some, the idea of buying a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home conjures up the image of a penny-pinching, emotionally charged seller flogging a defect-laden house. But if you’re in the market for a new home, choosing to avoid FSBOs may mean eliminating up to 25% of the homes currently listed for sale. Not a smart strategy. Instead, would-be FSBO buyers can learn a thing or two from Barker—and realize that, just like all real estate transactions, buyers of FSBOs simply need to do their own homework.

First: Know your market

Barker didn’t bat an eye when she heard how much the sellers wanted for their home. She already knew it was too high. “I’d watched the sales activity in the neighbourhood for at least six months. I knew what homes in that area were worth.” So Barker went in with an initial offer that was 50% less than what they were asking. “They didn’t even counter our offer,” recalls Barker. That didn’t stop her. “We had wiggle room, so I called the sellers.” For 45 minutes Barker discussed price, timing and conditions. “That conversation helped me appreciate where they were coming from and helped them appreciate where I was coming from,” she says. Once off the phone, Barker drafted a second and final offer. This time the sellers accepted. “I paid just a little over half of what the seller’s originally wanted and I’m sure we would never have reached a deal had we not been able to talk.”

Next: Get the right papers

Since the sellers were in their 80s, Barker took it upon herself to find a home sales contract online. “I didn’t want them to feel the added stress of trying to find a contract,” says Barker. She got lucky, says Jeff King, a real estate professional. “At the end of the day a spit and a handshake is sufficient to close the deal, as long as nothing goes wrong,” King” says, But when things do go drastically wrong, it can be devastating. For instance, the bank can refuse to give you a mortgage if the home has a lien against it, if there’s a health advisory, the owners owe back taxes or the house is deemed overvalued by the appraiser. Quite often, even the seller is unaware of these potential pitfalls. “The sad fact is, it costs as little as $400 to get a sales contract from a lawyer, but you can pay $40,000 or more in fees to get out of a signed deal.”

Then: Do some digging

Getting an iron-clad contract is just the start. There are other pitfalls that can occur within a real estate transaction. For example, Ontario buyers can take legal possession of a property without a survey, but in Alberta a buyer must have a Real Property Report—a legal document that shows the location of visible improvements relative to property boundaries. “Neglect to ask for one and the buyer will have to pay $1,000 for the report to close the deal.”

Then there’s the measurements of a home. “Most sellers don’t realize that we have standards when recording home measurements. “Like, the bottom level of a side-split shouldn’t be included in the total square footage because it’s below-grade living space.”

And what about a title search? While anyone can go to the land records office and pay for this document, not everyone understand what to look for and why it’s important. Furtado will often pull this document during the early stages of an offer. “I want to verify ownership, check setbacks and confirm there’s enough equity in the home to sell it. There are known cases where sellers, caught with little or no equity, stay put in a sold house, refusing to vacate the home because they have no money to move.

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