Home Seller's Guide
Selling your home is a big decision. In addition to having to understand the market and potential value of your home, it often involves saying goodbye to a property that’s wrapped up in years of family memories. But that doesn’t mean the home-selling experience has to be a difficult one.
With the right professional advice, the home selling process can be smooth and straightforward. Our Home Seller’s Guide will help guide you through the most important details in selling your home. For any other questions you may have, get in touch. We would love to talk about your home, your unique situation, and how we can help.
WANT TO SELL YOUR OTTAWA HOME?
If you’re thinking about selling your home, there are a few things to consider. Do you know the value of your property? The state of the local real estate market? Have you thought about why you want to sell your home, or how you might get it in front of potential buyers?
This is a big milestone in your life, and we want to help you make it as stress-free as possible. Our Home Seller’s Guide contains tips, advice, and insight gained from 12+ years of helping our Ottawa-based clients sell more than $135,000,000 worth of real estate.
We hope you find it helpful as you begin the home selling process. Once you are ready to sell, or if you would like a free evaluation of the value of your property, please feel free to contact us. We would be delighted to help you sell your home.
Deciding to sell your home
At this stage, you’ve likely already decided that it’s time to sell your home. However, before moving on any further, it’s important to get clear on your reasons for selling. This is also an excellent time to figure out the ideal timeline for your home selling process.
We recommend asking yourself these questions:
- Why do you want to sell your home? Are you ready for a larger property, or do you want to move to another neighbourhood, city, or province? Each reason for selling has different implications on the process, particularly your timeline.
- When do you want to sell your home? Do you need to sell quickly, or are you in a position to wait for the best offer?
- Are your finances in order? While you may think financial security is most important when buying a home, the home-selling process can also impact your finances. Can you afford not to make a profit on the sale of your home? Might you have to pay hotel fees (or similar) if you can’t move into a new home right away?
Choosing a REALTOR®
While you can try to sell your home on your own, it’s important to remember that the home-selling process will have a significant impact on your life, family, and finances. You don’t have to do it all alone.
Working with an experienced REALTOR ® can help take the stress out of that situation, dealing with the fine details, extensive paperwork, and other responsibilities, so you don’t have to.
What To Look For In A REALTOR®
You shouldn’t necessarily choose the REALTOR ® who gives you the highest suggested asking price. Instead, shop around for candidates and choose the one who fits all your requirements.
When considering your options, here are some things to look for in a real estate agent:
- Credentials: To be a licensed real estate agent, you must take basic training and pass a licensing exam. A registered REALTOR ® is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS ® and follows their rules and regulations, including their Code of Ethics.
- Experience: How long have they been helping people like you sell their homes? You want a full-time REALTOR® who is familiar with the Ottawa real estate market and with selling similar properties.
- Availability: You’ll want to work with an agent who prioritizes their clients and is always there when you need them. At Nick Labrosse Real Estate, we communicate with you every step of the way - through email, on the phone or in person - to make sure you’re always in the loop.
- Reputation: What do other sellers have to say about them? Many REALTORS ® will include testimonials on their website, and you can also look online if any complaints have been made against them.
- Language: Ottawa is a bilingual city. Having a REALTOR ® who is proficient in both English and French can be helpful in the home selling process.
- Rapport: Finally, it’s important to find a REALTOR ® whom you can trust - someone who listens to your wants and needs and makes sure you feel comfortable, every step of the way.
We pride ourselves on meeting all these needs and more. Over more than a decade of helping people sell their Ottawa homes, we have what it takes you make the selling process simple and stress-free. Click here to learn more about our approach.
Now that you’ve found a REALTOR ® to help you through the home selling process, it’s time to prepare to list and sell your home. The most important thing to do at this stage is to ensure your property is presented in an attractive way to potential buyers.
There are many changes you can make to enhance your property’s appeal without spending much time or money. The most important areas to consider are:
- Curb appeal - Ensure the outside of your home looks immaculate to make a great first impression. Keep your lawn neat and tidy, mow your grass, remove any garbage, and consider adding creative touches and pops of colour (like flowers).
- Cleanliness - Remove clutter from all rooms and make sure your home smells nice and fresh. Clean carpets and floors, and consider bringing in fresh flowers. The classic trick of baking some cookies in the oven is always a good option!
- Repairs - Scan your home for anything that is in evident need of fixing or upgrading. A fresh coat of paint, new panes of glass for the windows, and filling nail holes in the wall can make a big difference.
You may want to consider staging your home with extra furniture or lights to accentuate the property, especially if you’ve already removed your own furniture. We can put you in touch with an expert staging consultant, who can let you know what changes need to be made to make your home as appealing as possible.
Remember that a buyer may ask to look at your home at any time. Ensuring everything is in order well ahead of time - that your home is always clean, well-lit, and at a comfortable temperature - will help make the whole process as stress-free as possible.
Also, be sure to have a plan to go somewhere when your REALTOR ® calls to let you know a potential buyer wants to drop in. Most buyers prefer to have an honest chat with the agent when the current homeowner isn’t around.
Listing your home
The first step in listing your home is to get an accurate home value estimate. Nick Labrosse Real Estate provides free home value evaluations, ensuring you price your home fairly in a way that gets you the most money without scaring away potential buyers.
Once you’ve decided on a fair listing price, your real estate agent will ask you to sign a listing agreement so he/she can start selling your home. Such an agreement defines your working relationship in legal terms, outlines all the necessary information about your property, and becomes the foundation for any offers you’ll receive. It also outlines the official asking price, the agent’s commission, the completion date (the amount of time you have after a sale to move out of your home), and any other relevant legal and financial information.
Your listing agreement will be one of two types:
- An exclusive listing agreement, which means only your chosen listing agent can help you find a buyer for your home
- A multiple listing agreement, which means your listing agent can advertise your property on an MLS® System to be marketed by other REALTORS®
How a REALTOR® can market your home
Once your home is listed, there are several ways that your listing agent can get your home in front of potential buyers:
- Putting a for sale sign on the front lawn
- Advertising in traditional media, like newspapers and real estate flyers
- Advertising on the internet, like online real estate boards
- Networking with other real estate agents to spread the word
- Hosting an open house, either for agents or buyers
Accepting an offer
If a buyer decides they want your property, they’ll put in an official offer. Your listing agent can help you go over all the terms in the offer to make sure you understand everything before giving their professional opinion on what to do next. You may even receive multiple offers at one time, in which case your agent will help you evaluate them and weigh your options.
While you will immediately want to look at the price on the offer, there will be other relevant terms and conditions detailed that may even be more important. For example, your buyer may want to negotiate based on aspects like financing, closing costs, decorations, necessary repairs, furnishings, closing date, and more.
You can respond to the offer by accepting it, rejecting it, or providing a counteroffer. It’s completely normal for offers to go back and forth a few times, in a process called the “signback.” If your agent is experienced, he or she will have the right negotiation skills to make this part of the process as easy as possible while looking out for your best interests.
Negotiating is key to ensuring the best deal for all parties involved. Having an experienced professional in your corner can not only help you get a higher final price but also secure the most favorable conditions. At Nick Labrosse Real Estate, we do our negotiations in a way that protects everyone involved. We can help you negotiate all terms so you can make a well-informed, suitable decision for you and your family.
Out top negotiating tips
- Keep written records of all negotiations. Any verbal agreements or counteroffers should be recorded and signed by both parties involved.
- Get a lawyer involved. While your agent can help you navigate the ins and outs of your offer(s), a lawyer must be involved when it comes to all legal documents and transferring the property.
- Get clear on the timeline. Review all proposed dates in the contract and make sure that you and your REALTOR ® feel you can meet any deadlines, like the closing date or any mandated inspections. This ensures you’re always ready for the next step in the process.
Closing the purchase
The Conditional Period
The offer that you ultimately accept will detail agreed-upon conditions, which must be finalised during the conditional period. This period begins once you accept an offer, and ends once all conditions have been met and the appropriate paperwork is signed.
Typical conditions include:
- Buyer’s mortgage approval
- Home value appraisal for the buyer’s lender
- Home inspection
- Buyer’s property insurance
You may also come across a Sale of Purchasers Property (SPP) condition if your buyers need to sell their current property before buying. Your real estate agent can help you decide whether to accept an SPP-conditional offer based on your personal needs and timeline.
Depending on what is found during the conditional period, particularly during the home inspection, the offer may be renegotiated. Once again, working with an experienced REALTOR ® ensures that your best interests are protected throughout this process.
Closing the deal
Congratulations! It’s now about time to finally close the deal on the sale of your home. However, there are a handful of steps to take before you can completely move on, including:
- The final walkthrough. The buyer will likely want to revisit the property a few days before closing to ensure everything is the way they expect, as per the conditions of the offer.
- Can your home utilities. Be sure to let all relevant services know of your upcoming closing day.
- Get ready for any surprises. Even in the smoothest of processes, things can always pop up in the last few days of the sale. Working with a trusted, experienced agent will help ensure you know how to handle any surprises or minor issues in the days before closing the deal.
It’s important to realize that your closing date and your buyer’s moving date aren’t the same thing. The buyers must wait for the property title to be transferred before they can move in and then must wait to collect the keys to their new home.
However, you must vacate the property as soon as the title has been transferred. So, please pack well in advance and be prepared to move out early in the day on closing day.
Now, it’s time to celebrate! You’ve officially sold your home — congratulations!