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Category: Notice of Termination for LandlordsAll the forms you will need to provide your tenant notice of eviction or termination of their tenancy. Successfully manage the legal landscape of your rental unit.
Category: Notices of Rent Increase for Landlords
All the forms you will need to provide your tenant notice of rent increase. Successfully manage the legal landscape of your rental unit.
Category: Application Forms for Landlords
All the application you will need to submit following your notices. File online and get some savings. Successfully manage the legal landscape of your rental unit.
Category: Finding the Right Trades
A comprehensive list of all the best and most reputable vendor sourcing platforms for DIY investors. Successfully manage the maintenance requirements of your rental unit.
Ever wondered what the most successful leasing platforms are aside from MLS? If you are going to try doing it alone it’s important to use the right internet listing services to lease your rental unit.
Disclaimer: Sign up to our HOME.DIY management package and receive a discount on all leasing platforms that pays itself starting at $39.99
Rhenti gets your listing noticed on the top listing sites with professional-grade advertising features. A simple end-to-end leasing platform to connect with more renters than any other method. Listing syndication, lead management, online application and screening. Rhenti is a one-stop shop.
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Rent Board of Canada allows property owners and managers to create, manage and post rental ads on the Rent Board in order to fill their vacancies in a cost effective manner. Every ad you create may contain a full description of your property, features list, multiple contact points, unlimited photos and videos.
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RentCanada focuses on enabling searching by lifestyle. As lifestyle becomes more important to renters, they are eschewing city-wide searches and identifying exact neighborhoods where they hope to live. RentCanada™ users will now be able to use the robust Map-Based Search feature to find apartments exactly where they want.
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Louer is designated to target the Quebec market. By adding your rentals with Louer.ca, you gain instant visibility for your Quebec rental properties. They translate English content to proper French at no cost. Ad Performance Statistics such as clicks, views, emails received and call tracking are provided.
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Founded in 2010, RentCompass launched Canada's first mobile apps for finding rentals on smartphones (iPhone, Android and iPad). The RentCompass mobile apps have been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of users across Canada and are highly rated by thousands of positive reviews.
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NextHome renters have every resource they need to help with their apartment search. Available on desktop and for iPhone & Android, renters can search for their next home from wherever they are and discover neighborhood hotspots, local amenities, and access to public transit. Renters can contact you directly from the website and app, making it easy for you to get qualified leads for your properties.
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Walk Score's mission is to promote walkable neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods are one of the simplest and best solutions for the environment, our health, and our economy. Walk Score helps you find a walkable place to live. Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address.
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TorontoRentals Servicing Ontario since 1995. Thousands of people a day visit the website looking for apartments, houses, condos, and townhouses to rent. From product design, to smoothly functioning tech, to "surprise and delight" support they are transforming the TorontoRentals brand into an innovative market leader. They offers free listings and add-on photography services.
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Category: Screening Considerations
With tenant evictions becoming more difficult each day, it’s important to ensure you are selecting the right tenant. If you are going to try doing it alone, it is important to identify the right resources. Here is a tenant screening guide to help select your next tenant:
Disclaimer: Sign up to our Investor + program and connect with one of our Certified Financial Accountants and Real Estate Analysts to ensure you’re finding the best property for you.
The most basic screening verification documents you should collect:
- Letter of Employment
- 3 Most Recent Paystubs
- Government Issued ID (Passport or Driver’s Licence)
- Credit Report with FICO Score
- Reference From Last TWO Landlords
Some reputable screening resources we recommend:
Selling / Buying
Category: Buying Tips
If you are thinking of buying a home, this 12-step plan will help to guide you in the right direction. But before jumping in, you must make sure three things are ready: you, your bank account, and the real estate market. A buying guide to ensure you choose the right property:
Step 1: Make Sure You’re Ready to Buy.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, this 12-step plan will help to guide you in the right direction. But before we jump right in, you have to make sure three things are ready: you, your bank account, and the real estate market.
Are you ready? Be sure.
Owning the roof over your head will bring you great pride, but with that pride comes accountability and sacrifice. There’s the obvious financial responsibility, but your home will also require constant care and upkeep. That’s what real pride of ownership is all about.
Is your bank account ready? Check it twice.
Your first home will be the biggest financial obligation you’ve ever faced. You should already be an experienced saver, and good at managing debt like student loans or credit cards. Ideally, you’ve also saved up some money for a nice down payment. Talk to your financial institution about the Home Buyers Plan too. Our next step will give you a crystal clear picture about how much you can afford.
Is now a good time to buy? Here’s the hottest market tip you’ll ever get.
Markets go up, markets go down and even the smartest experts can’t accurately predict when a market will peak or bottom out. The good news is, if you’re buying a home as a long-term investment (and for long-term enjoyment), you’re protected from short-term changes in the market. Over time, real estate has almost always increased in value.
All you have to do is pick a home that meets the needs of you and your family. Then you’ll enjoy living in your investment as it grows in value. A home is one of the best financial decisions you can make, so make sure you think things through.
Step 2: Figure Out How Much You Can Afford.Before you start looking for your dream home, let’s find out how big you can dream. Knowing your true budget is the first and most important step in buying a home. Why? A home is a big purchase. It’s probably the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy, and there are lots of expenses you might not even know about. Everybody’s total costs are different, but it’s almost guaranteed you won’t have that much money saved up. Hopefully you have enough for a nice down payment. Here’s the reality in detail: Cost of buying a home = One time costs (down payment, legal fees, inspection fees, taxes) Monthly costs (mortgage, utilities, maintenance, insurance, property taxes) Yes, you need a mortgage. Step 9 is practically bursting with tips on how to arrange your mortgage but for now, we just need to figure out how much a bank will lend you. How much will a bank lend you? Well that depends on how much you can afford each month. This is determined using two lending principals. The first lending principle is that your monthly housing cost should not exceed 32% of your gross monthly family income. This principle is known as the Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio calculation. The second lending principle used, the Total Debt Service (TDS ) ratio calculation, is that your monthly housing cost and payments on all of your other debts (including loans, credit card and lease payments) should not exceed 40% of your gross monthly income.
Step 3: Decide What You Want to Buy.
First, decide where you want to live.
Urban – The big city. Sure the prices are generally higher, but you can walk to a restaurant, maybe even to work. You’ll also have the widest range of housing options.
Suburban -Newer schools, newer shopping centers, bigger yards, bigger homes, no wonder so many people love the suburbs. But if you work in the city, be prepared for lots of rush hour traffic. It’s a packaged deal.
Smaller Cities and Towns – There are many wonderful self-contained communities, and compared to the big city, you can save a bundle.
Rural – If you like the idea of owning land, how about a few acres all to yourself? Seclusion is not for everybody, but for some, it’s heaven.
Next, decide what type of home you want.
By now, you probably have a good idea of what type of home is right for you. To familiarize you with the terminology, here’s a quick overview:
As the name implies, the home is not attached to the home next door. Styles range from a single-story suburban bungalow, to a three-story Victorian.
Semi-detached or linked
Two houses that share a common wall. Typically less money than a fully detached home.
Duplex or Triplex
A two-storey or three-storey home, with each floor belonging to a separate family. Separate entrances are most common.
Also known as terrace or row housing. Several homes with a common style joined in a row. They usually share walls on both sides. May come with a monthly maintenance fee.
An upscale version of an apartment. Usually located in high-rise buildings with access to common elements. Maintenance fees usually apply. Condos also make a great first home purchase because they’re often thousands of dollars less than a detached home.
How Condos are owned
You’ll own 100% of your unit, and a share of the common areas. Common areas include the necessary plumbing, electrical systems, hallways and elevators. They may also include lots of fun stuff like a private gym or party room.
Membership has its privileges, and it costs. On top of your mortgage and property taxes, condo owners also pay a monthly fee to operate and maintain the common areas. Be sure to look into condo fees, and how well they’re managed, before signing anything.
New or Resale?
Resale. Previously loved.
Nothing can match the charm and character of an older home. As a bonus, the previous owner may have made improvements and upgrades and you get them with the house, usually for less than the cost of putting them in yourself. However, some may have a little too much ‘character ’ like a leaky roof…know what you’re getting yourself into. You should always work with a knowledgeable REALTOR®, and as we cover in Step 10 never buy a resale home without a Home Inspection.
Ahh…that new house smell.
You will be the very first person to live in your new home. In fact, your new home may be so new, that it’s not even built yet. You have the luxury of customizing your home to your décor tastes. But when you move in, be prepared for constant touch-ups by your builder; dust, mud and unpaved roads if your area is still developing; and shifting and settling of your home (cracks and popping nails) within the first year.
Before you commit to anything, carefully examine the property, the blueprints and visit other homes built by the same building company. Check to see you like the finishes they offer and the craftsmanship and quality of their work. Have your REALTOR® and lawyer review everything before you sign. While your home is being built, stay on top of the process and remember, you have a legal right to make a full inspection of the house before you accept it as complete.
You know what you want, but remember to focus on needs.
Are you getting out of a two-bedroom apartment because it’s too small? Then your new home should have at least three bedrooms, and probably a second bathroom. REALTORS® call these must-have features “needs”. Features you’d like to have are called “wants”.
Your strategy should be to find a home within your price range that fulfills all or most of your “needs”, and as many of your “wants” as possible. Use the Dream Home Checklist to help you decide what you’re looking for in a home.
Step 4: Find a Realtor® that is Right for You.
You know how much money you have, and you have a good idea of what you want. Now you need the help of a real pro, to make your search a success.
REALTORS®. Highly trained, and continually training.
In Canada, licensed REALTORS® are members of their local real estate board, a provincial association and The Canadian Real Estate Association. This system of membership ensures the highest level of service and that you are always treated with honesty and integrity. This is backed by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Take a look at ‘The REALTOR® Commitment’ to learn more.
The Three REALTOR® Relationships
The relationship between a real estate brokerage and a client is called “Agency” and there are three major kinds:
Seller (Vendor) Agency
The real estate brokerage and all its REALTORS® represent the seller exclusively and it’s their job to get the best offer on the home. They are legally obliged to tell the seller anything known about a buyer. For instance, if a seller’s REALTOR® knows a buyer will pay more for a property, they must tell the seller.
Buyer (Purchaser) Agency
The real estate brokerage and all its REALTORS® represent the buyer exclusively. They seek out homes that meet the buyer’s needs and help assess the merits and defects of potential homes. They keep the buyer’s information confidential and never disclose information like the maximum amount their buyer is willing to pay. You may be asked by your REALTOR® to sign a buyer agency agreement. In fact, in some provinces,
REALTORS® are required to ask you for your own protection. This agreement ensures that the REALTOR® and the brokerage can look after your best interests.
Sometimes, a brokerage may have an agency relationship with the buyer and the seller. Both the seller and the buyer must give their informed consent, and the REALTOR® must always provide full and timely disclosure of all pertinent information to both parties.
SELL AND BUY WITH THE SAME REALTOR®?
Absolutely! Especially if you’re remaining in the same community. Your REALTOR® is already an expert on your needs, so it can save you a lot of time and energy.
Selecting a REALTOR®
There are lots of ways to find a REALTOR®. As you drive through prospective neighbourhoods, jot down the names and numbers of REALTORS® on the ‘For Sale’ signs. Open Houses are a great way to meet face-to-face. Maybe friends or family members have worked with a REALTOR® they love. Interview two or three and pick the one you like best.
How REALTORS® help buyers like you.
A REALTOR® will review your list of wants and needs to help you determine your price range.
Answer questions about the markets you’re interested in and help you compare homes and neighbourhoods.
Use the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The MLS is the single most powerful tool for buying and selling a home. Your REALTOR® will give you access to exclusive features of the MLS system that the public is not privy to.
Preview properties to ensure you’re only shown homes that meet your needs and budget.
Make appointments and walk you through potential homes, answering all your questions.
Give up-to-the-minute information on financing and explain your mortgage options.
Negotiate with the seller, smooth out any potential conflicts and draw up a legally binding contract.
Stick with your REALTOR®
One dream, one team. The REALTOR® you select will become an expert on your specific needs and tastes.
Scattering your time and energy amongst multiple REALTORS® will work against your goal of finding your best home. And because most REALTORS® have equal access to the same property listings, there’s no real advantage to having multiple REALTORS®.
Step 5: See What’s Out There.
The hunt is on! Time for you and your REALTOR® to find that perfect home.
Read all about it.
Start reading real estate ads in local papers, or visit www.mls.ca. Let your REALTOR® know what you like. Visit areas you are considering and get a feel for them. Make note of the surrounding schools, shopping and recreational areas. Keep an eye out for not-so-great things like large industrial areas, railway tracks, high-voltage power lines and airports. Visit during the day and at night.
Open House, come on in.
‘Open houses’ are a great way to see inside the homes of your potential neighborhood. The hosting REALTOR® probably knows the local market inside and out, and will be happy to answer the questions that are bubbling up inside you – don’t be afraid to ask!
House hunting with your REALTOR® – hunting smarter
If you’ve been very good, you’ve armed your REALTOR® with your Dream Home Checklist. Even if you’ve just talked about it, your REALTOR® knows what you’re looking for.
Welcome to the wonders of mls.ca
REALTORS® run an incredible research tool called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). You can view information about properties listed in MLS systems across the country at www.mls.ca, the public advertising portal. Your REALTOR® will start sending you listings of potential homes right away. You’ll be amazed how fast and easy it is to zero in on your favourite few homes.
Work from a short list
If you and your REALTOR® have done your homework, and used MLS listings to scout ahead, you only need to visit a handful of homes to make an informed and wise selection.
Stay objective when visiting potential homes
Walking through a potential home is a thrill, but try not to lose your head. Don’t let a giant kitchen island or swanky hot tub distract you from your real goal, finding a home that meets all your needs and fits your budget. That’s why we’re arming you with this comprehensive House-Hunting Checklist. Print it out and be sure to take it with you to homes you’re serious about buying. Good luck and happy hunting!
Step 6: Sell Your Current Home.
Not many people can hold on to two homes, so you’ll probably need to sell the home you have now. Be sure to check our incredibly helpful 10 Steps to Selling Your Home. In the meantime, here’s a quick overview.
When should you sell?
Buyer’s and seller’s markets explained.
When there are lots of people looking for homes but not many for sale, this is called a “seller’s market” because the seller has something everybody wants. When there are lots of homes for sale and not many people buying them, this is called a “buyer’s market” because buyers have more power of choice.
Wait for the market to improve?
If you’re selling one home and buying another, you don’t really have to worry about playing the market. If you sell your existing home for a ‘low’ price, you’re probably also buying at a low price. If you are upgrading to a larger home, this actually works to your advantage. Imagine when your bigger home is on the upswing.
Seasonality. Do home sales get frostbite?
It’s true. Winter sales tend to be slower, and Spring sales are more brisk. Regardless, there are always people looking to buy and sell, and seasonality is only one of many factors to consider.
If you need to sell fast.
Talk with your REALTOR®! They are experts, and know the price that will make your home look attractive, without making you look desperate.
Buy first or sell first? The eternal question.
Many people are able to time their sale and purchase so they happen on the same “closing date”. Buyers can make their offer “conditional” on the sale of their existing home, to make sure they’re not left paying for the upkeep of two homes. When selling, you can try to extend the “closing period” to give yourself more time to find your next home. REALTORS® are very skilled at this sort of negotiation, and can make your transition a lot easier.
Sell with a REALTOR ®, or go it alone?
In the same way that many people decide not to fix their own cars or do their own dentistry, it’s wise to enlist a professional when selling your most valuable asset. Real estate transactions are complex, time consuming and involve a lot of legal documentation. Finding your new home and changing your life is hard enough! Your REALTOR® is expertly trained and highly motivated to get you the most for your home.
Step 7: Add a Lawyer to Your Team.
Buying a home involves piles of legal documents. You need someone to translate the ‘legalities’ and ensure your best interests are protected.
Finding a good lawyer.
There are lots of good lawyers out there. Ask your friends or people at work. REALTORS® will happily give you the names of several good lawyers. They can’t legally recommend just one, but they’ll only refer lawyers experienced in real estate. Be sure you ask how they structure their fees, and get an estimate of the other legal costs you can expect.
How your lawyer will help.
There are many, many legal steps to transferring ownership of land from one person to another. Even if pitfalls like fraud, government legislation, zoning issues or unpaid taxes don’t come up, your lawyer will more than earn their pay by making the legal transfer of the home a smooth one.
Don’t be scared of your lawyer.
They are there to help you. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything. Explaining legal jargon in plain language is a big part of their job.
Step 8: Make an Offer.
You’ve found a home? Congratulations! Now, if you actually want to make it yours, you have to make a successful offer, one that the seller will accept.
Preparing the offer.
REALTORS® are expertly trained and will prepare the offer for you. Here are some terms you’ll see in the offer:
Buyer or Purchaser – That’s you.
Seller or Vendor – The present owner(s).
Purchase Price – The most important number.
Deposit – A cheque you write to the seller’s broker, who deposits it in a trust account. This is your way of saying “my offer is serious”. The size of the deposit is up to you.
Clauses Particular to This Agreement – Every transaction is unique, and your REALTOR® may add conditions important to you. Making your offer conditional upon a proper Home Inspection is a good idea.
Chattels Included and Fixtures Excluded – Be sure you know what is included with the house! The washer and dryer, the microwave, draperies, light fixtures. Don’t leave anything to ‘chance’ because chances are, it won’t be there when you move in.
Irrevocability of the Offer – The length of time you give the seller to consider your offer. Usually less than 48 hours.
Completion Date – The glorious day you take possession! Often 30 or 60 days after signing.
About the offer.
When it comes to the type of offer you make, it really depends on your individual situation. Discuss your options with your REALTOR® to see which of these offers is right for you.
Firm Offer to Purchase
Usually preferable to the seller as it means you, the buyer, are prepared to purchase the home without any conditions.
Conditional Offer to Purchase
Usually means there are one or more conditions on the purchase, such as “subject to home inspection”, “subject to financing”, etc. The home is not sold unless all the conditions have been met.
Acceptance of Offer
An Offer to Purchase is presented to a seller who may choose to accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counter-offer. The counter-offer may be in regards to the price, closing date, or any number of other variables. Offers can go back and forth until both parties have arrived at an agreement or either side ends the negotiations.
Submitting the Offer
You’ve signed on the dotted line and your REALTOR® has whisked your offer to the seller’s REALTOR®. This process works best when you don’t meet the seller in person.
The seller can accept your offer – Fantastic, when do you move in?
The seller can reject your offer – It’s not common for an offer to be completely rejected. Your REALTOR® will likely investigate, to see if there was some sort of misunderstanding.
The seller can ‘sign back’ or counter your offer- The seller wants to alter ‘some part’ of your offer. It’s almost always the price. The seller will cross out the price on your offer and write a higher number. Now it’s your turn to sign back, and see if you can bring that number down. It can feel a bit like a ping-pong match. Emotions can run high, so both sides will be reminded that a little flexibility goes a long way. Good luck!
Step 9: Arrange a Mortgage.
Money makes the world go round, and a mortgage gives you the power to buy a home. This isn’t the most fun step in buying a home, but it’s vital.
Who do you talk to?
There are hundreds of banks, credit unions and other lenders out there who would love your monthly mortgage payments. So talk to everybody. Now is not the time to be money-shy! Talk to your banker and call around to other banks. Ask people you know. REALTORS® are very knowledgeable about Mortgages and have lots of good advice.
Call a Mortgage Broker.
Mortgage brokers are another great resource. They find low rates for a living, and they usually don’t get paid unless you sign a mortgage through them, so they’re highly motivated to get you the best deal.
Your best mortgage might be the seller’s mortgage.
You can sometimes take over or ‘assume’ the seller’s mortgage. This is a great idea if the seller is locked into a lower interest rate than you can get right now. Your REALTOR® can help you.
Mortgage Term – Typically from six months to five years, the ‘term’ refers to how long the bank has agreed to lend you the money. At the end of the term, you usually renegotiate a new term.
Amortization – The length of time it will take you to pay off the whole mortgage. Often as long as 40 years, if you don’t accelerate your payments. The longer your amortization, the lower your monthly payments, but the more you pay in interest over time.
Interest Rates – Interest is the cost of borrowing money, and the interest rate tells you exactly how much. Using the mortgage calculator, check the difference between borrowing $100,000 at 6% and at 9% at the same amortization. Surprising, no?
That interest rate not only affects how much you pay, it also affects how much you can borrow. So remember to keep searching for the best rate!
How big a down payment?
You want as small a mortgage as possible, which means making the biggest down payment possible. Just remember to set money aside for all the fees associated with buying a home. Not to mention moving, repairs, renovations, new furniture…think ahead.
The RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan – A little sweet relief.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer with money in an RRSP, you can withdraw up to $20,000 without paying any income tax. If your spouse is also eligible, that’s $40,000. Ask your REALTOR® how to best take advantage of this plan.
Lock into an interest rate – for how long?
It’s a tough question. What if you ‘lock in’ for five years and rates go into a period of decline? That could mean you’re stuck paying more than you had to for a long time. But if rates were to steadily climb over the next five years, locking in for five years now would be a great move. For many, a long-term mortgage offers peace of mind in knowing that their mortgage payments will stay the same for several years. Your REALTOR® will have a lot of good advice.
What you need to apply for a mortgage.
Letter of Employment Confirmation – Ask your employer for a letter that confirms your position, your pay and how many years you’ve been with the company.
List Your Assets – Your car, stocks, bonds, GICs. Show which assets will be used for your down payment.
List Your Liabilities – Car payments, student loans, credit card debt. List all the money you owe, and note how you’re paying it off.
Social Insurance Number – And your chequing account number, and your lawyer’s contact information
Information about the house you want to buy-The home is your security on the mortgage, so the lender wants to know all about it.
Don’t forget these extra costs.
Face your new financial responsibilities head-on, and you may even dodge some of them. And then won’t you look smart!
Application Fee – Some mortgage lenders charge a fee to process your application. Many lenders will agree to waive this fee, so make sure you ask!
Appraisal Fee – Your mortgage lender may need to have your new home appraised by a professional, and they often pass the bill on to you. Sometimes your lender will also waive this fee. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Mortgage Broker’s Fee – Your mortgage broker may charge a fee that’s payable on your closing date. Ask your broker, to avoid surprises.
Land Survey Fee – Lenders may require a survey of your property. It can typically cost between $600-$900. Lenders will often accept an existing survey. Get your lawyer on the case.
Home Inspection Fee – A home inspection is so important, we devoted an entire Step to it. Avoid surprises and protect yourself…this is money well spent.
Home Insurance – Mortgage lenders require you carry fire and extended-coverage insurance because your home is the security deposit on the mortgage. Often you can have these payments added to your monthly mortgage payments. Shop around.
Fire Insurance – Mortgage lenders require a certificate of fire insurance to be in place from the time you take possession of the home. The amount required is generally the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. This cost can vary on the property size, amount of coverage, the insurance company and the municipality. The cost can vary anywhere from $250-$600 annually for most properties.
Provincial Sales Tax on Mortgage Insurance – If your mortgage is insured, you will be required to pay the applicable taxes on the insurance premium on closing. While the insurance premium can be added to the mortgage amount, the tax must be paid at closing.
Title Insurance – Not mandatory, but it protects you from all sorts of fraud and potential errors surrounding the title to your land. It’s normally a few hundred dollars. Ask your lawyer for details.
Legal Fees – Your lawyer is vital to the home-buying process. You’ll pay legal fees for their time and “disbursements” which are the costs involved in title searches, drawing up the title deed, and preparing your mortgage.
Maintenance and Utility Costs – Just a reminder, you now have more regular monthly payments in the form of property tax, utilities, repairs etc.
Land Transfer Tax – Most provinces charge a land transfer tax payable by the buyer, and is based on the purchase price. First time home buyers purchasing a new home may qualify for a refund. Ask your REALTOR® or lawyer to calculate the payment.
The HST and New Homes – If you have decided to purchase a resale home, you successfully avoided paying HST. Nevertheless services associated with the property, such as a home inspection, will still be subject to a HST. When buying a new home, however, you will come face to face with that 12% HST rate of a combined 5% federal and 7% provincial tax. Make sure you confirm who is expected to pay this tax, you or the builder. On the housing offer, the purchase price will state “Plus HST” or “HST included” as well as the recipient of any HST rebates. For new properties at $350,000 one can expect a rebate of $23,800 and for properties worth $525,000 or more, one can expect a rebate of $26,250.
Closing Adjustments – The previous owner may have paid property tax or utilities in advance, and they want to be credited for those payments. Any bills after the closing date are the responsibility of the purchaser. A lawyer will let you know what they are once the various searches have been completed.
New Home Warranty – In most provinces new homes are covered by a new home warranty program. The cost to the purchaser for this warranty is approximately $600. Should the builder default or fail to build to an agreed-upon standard, the fund will finish or repair the deficiencies to a maximum amount. For more information on Ontario new home warranty visit http://www.tarion.com.
Step 10: Find a Home Inspector.
When walking through a home you’d love to buy, it’s hard to put aside your emotions and really ‘see’ what kind of shape it’s in. Now that you are buying, it’s time to see everything. Home inspections rarely cost more than a few hundred dollars, and their service can save you from unpleasant surprises when you move in.
Your offer to buy may be conditional upon a satisfactory home inspection.
This is an increasingly standard condition on any resale home. If the seller doesn’t want you closely examining the home before you take possession, you have to wonder why.
Go with a qualified professional.
Make sure your inspector is a member of a provincial association of home inspectors. It’s your guarantee they have the training and experience for the job. Your REALTOR® can recommend several home inspection companies to choose from.
What will they check during the inspection?
Lots of stuff. Plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and the integrity of the foundation. They check for nasty stuff like lead paint, asbestos, mould, outdated and dangerous wiring, and they’ll look for evidence of pests like mice or termites. A good inspector should make you feel like you’re watching a CSI detective.
Join the inspection.
There’s no better way to get familiar with your new home than being part of this checkup. If any problems are detected, you’ll see them firsthand, and you’ll also learn some maintenance tips from a genuine pro.
You’ll get it in writing.
Their report will summarize the condition of your home. If there’s anything that needs work, the home inspector will provide an estimated cost for the repairs.
Home inspection for a new home?
New does not equal perfect, and construction quality can vary greatly from builder to builder.
Repairs and corrections will probably be covered by a provincial new home warranty program like Tarion, so bad news doesn’t necessarily mean it will cost you.
Step 11: Close the Deal.
Your offer has been accepted and you can’t wait to move in. These are exciting times, but don’t break out the bubbly just yet. You have to close the deal. Your REALTOR® and lawyer will do most of the closing work, but here’s your checklist.
Immediately begin satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part. Your REALTOR® will fill out the documents stating that the conditions have been satisfied.
Have your lawyer begin searching title to the property. This can take a while, so make sure you give ample time.
We recommend a home inspection to avoid any unpleasant surprises on move-in day.
Well before closing, get your homeowner’s insurance. Your insurance broker will give you a ‘binder’ letter certifying that you’re covered. You can’t get a mortgage without this letter!
Contact your lender and have them finalize your mortgage documents. Have your lawyer review them before you sign.
Your lawyer will transfer essential utilities like hydro and water, but you’ll have to make sure telephone and cable companies switch their services to your name.
If you rent, you must give notice to your landlord, or sublease your apartment.
Begin planning your big move! Where are those cardboard boxes? Book your moving service early to avoid scheduling problems.
Send out your change of address information and fill out a card at the post office.
Contact the Ministry of Transportation about changing your driver’s licenses.
A day or two before closing, you’ll meet with your lawyer to sign the closing documents.
Your lawyer will tell you in advance what certified cheques you’ll need to seal the deal.
The Big Day Arrives
Deliriously happy and emotionally exhausted, here you are on closing day. You made it! If your lawyer has arranged everything well, closing day can be surprisingly low on drama. Before you know it, you’ll be handed the keys you new home.
Step 12: Move In.
Moving day will come sooner than you think, so get planning now.
‘Closing date’ often means moving date.
Unless you have major repairs or renovations planned, you probably want to move in the day you take possession. If you intend to move at the end of the month, contact a moving company or truck rental company now. Most people move during this time and there aren’t trucks and movers for everybody. If you can move mid-week or mid-month, a moving company might cut you a deal. Keep in mind, the closing process might not have the keys in your hands until early-to-mid afternoon. Verify with your lawyer and schedule your moving times accordingly.
Go with a reputable moving company.
We’ve all heard moving horror stories. Go with an established, insured mover, so your items are protected. If any damage does occur by the movers, call the moving company immediately to notify them.
Pack it yourself, and pack early.
Nobody will take the same care you will. Start early and spread it out over many days. Label all your boxes by room so the movers know where to put them, and label anything that’s fragile. Smaller breakables should be driven to your new home by you to ensure they are safe from breakage.
Do you really need to take that with you?
A new home is a new lease on life, and a chance to liberate yourself from stuff you simply don’t need. If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last year, you don’t need it. Have a garage sale to make some extra cash for your move, or give your items to Goodwill or United Way. You won’t have to pack and unpack it, and it will become someone else’s treasure.
Once You Move In.
The boxes are mostly unpacked and you’re settling in nicely. You will now feel a strange urge to begin making changes and improvements right away. That old carpet has to go; a bigger deck would be great for entertaining…slow down! Take time to get a feel for your new home, and more importantly, your new budget. Take a deep breath and enjoy what you have, your new home.
Selling / Buying
Category: Selling Tips
If you are thinking of selling your home, this 10-step plan will help to guide you in the right direction. In real estate, timing is not everything, but it does influence your home’s selling price. A selling guide to ensure you take the right approach.
Step 1: Decide When to Sell.
In real estate, timing is not everything but it does influence your home’s selling price. Let’s see if we can make timing work for you.
Status report. Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market?
When there are lots of people looking for homes but not many for sale, this is called a ‘seller’s market’, because the seller has something everybody wants. When there are more homes for sale and not many people buying them, this is called a “buyer’s market” because buyers have more power of choice. A REALTOR® is the best person to consult about this.
How quickly do you need to sell your home?
In a seller’s market, top price and a fast sale can go hand-in-hand. In a buyer’s market, more sellers are competing for your potential buyer. If you have to sell right now, you may wish to lower your asking price a bit to speed up the sale. REALTORS® are masters at figuring the price-to-listing ratio and know how to attract offers without going unnecessarily low.
Seasonality. Do home sales get frostbite?
It’s true. Winter sales tend to be slower, and Spring sales are more brisk. Regardless, there are always people looking to buy, and seasonality is only one of many factors to consider.
If you’re also buying a home.
In this case, you don’t really have to worry about playing the market. If you sell your existing home for a ‘low’ price, you’re probably also buying at a low price. If you are upgrading to a larger home, this actually works to your advantage. Imagine when your bigger home is on the upswing. If you’re downsizing from a bigger home to a smaller home or a condo, you need to pay a bit more attention to the market.
Buy first or sell first? The eternal question.
Many people are able to time their sale and purchase so they happen on the same “closing date.” Buyers can make their offer “conditional” on the sale of their existing home, to make sure they’re not left paying for the upkeep of two homes. When selling, you can try to extend the “closing period” to give yourself more time to find your next home. REALTORS® are very skilled at this sort of negotiation, and can make your transitional life a lot easier.
If you find your new dream home before you’ve even started to sell your old one.
Talk to your existing mortgage lender. You may be able to arrange “Bridge Financing.” This is when your lender (the bank) is confident your existing home will sell quickly, and they agree to lend you the down payment for your new dream home.
Step 2: Find a REALTOR ® Who is Right for You.
There are many reasons why a REALTOR® is essential when selling your home but which REALTOR® is best for you?
Your REALTOR® who helped you buy your current house is a good start.
Sticking with a REALTOR® just makes sense. If they did a good job helping you buy your home, they’re probably the best candidate for helping you sell it. They already know the home inside and out, and they know you, so you’ll save time two ways.
Jot down the names and numbers of REALTORS® on the “For Sale” signs in your neighbourhood. Maybe your local friends or nearby family have a REALTOR® to recommend. You can also visit one of your local real estate offices; it’s guaranteed they’ll know your area.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or screen a few REALTORS® before deciding. Make sure you feel comfortable with them and that they show a genuine interest in helping you. For a list of questions you can ask view the page “10 Questions to Ask when Hiring a REALTOR®”
Should you choose the REALTOR® who suggests the highest asking price for your home?
Ask what method they used to assess your home’s market value. How was your home compared to other homes in your neighbourhood that have been sold recently? Step 4 will give you a better understanding of listing price and how it affects the sale of your home.
Step 3: Sign a Listing Agreement.
The “Listing Agreement” authorizes your REALTOR® and their brokerage to market and sell your home. This agreement serves three purposes.
It defines your relationship. Every detail of your work together, including the limits of your REALTOR’S® authority, will be clearly defined.
It provides detailed information about the home. This information can then be placed on the board’s Multiple Listing Service, to help potential buyers find you.
It forms the basis for drafting offers on your home. Any formal offer on your home starts with the Listing Agreement.
Highlights of the Listing Agreement Authority.
This describes the legal relationship between you and the real estate brokerage, and it sets a time limit for the REALTOR® to sell your home.
Exclusive or Multiple Listing Service?
“Exclusive Listing” means that only your brokerage can find a buyer for your home. REALTORS® generally recommend a “Multiple Listing”, which allows them to put your home on the Multiple Listing Service.
The Multiple Listing Service, which is one of the tools used by REALTORS® in providing you with MLS service, is paid for and operated by REALTORS®, so it can be used to spread the word to other REALTORS® to help you find a buyer. It’s a popular real estate marketing system paid for and operated by REALTORS®, so it can be used to spread the word to other REALTORS® to help find you a buyer. A “Multiple Listing” gives your home maximum exposure and your commission stays the same. It really is the better way to sell.
The real key to attracting buyers. You have the final say over this magic number, but your REALTOR® will have very useful advice. You can learn more about choosing the right asking price in Step 7.
Real Estate Commission.
This is usually a percentage of the final sale price, and you only pay once your REALTOR® has found you an acceptable offer. This commission or percentage is negotiable, and is agreed upon between you and the individual brokerage.
A Physical Description of Your Property.
Your REALTOR® will itemize the lot size, the age of your home and the style of construction. They’ll list the style, number and size of the rooms. They will also be sure to include any outstanding selling features of your home such as “backs onto ravine” or “fabulous kitchen renovation.”
Legal information such as the lot number, land surveys and the zoning code will be included.
Financial information like the minimum deposit you require with any offers. If you have a mortgage that can be assumed (taken over by a buyer) that information should be listed because it could make your home more desirable, especially if you’re locked into a lower interest rate than what is presently available.
This lets everybody know how long you need to move out, once your home is sold. The standard time is 60 or 90 days, but if you can be flexible be sure to make note.
How the home will be shown?
Normally your REALTOR® will arrange appointments. Any specific instructions, such as “make sure the cat stays in” can also be noted.
What exactly is included in the price?
Chattels and Fixtures.
Chattels are moveable items like washers and dryers, microwaves and window blinds. Chattels are not automatically included in the sale, but sellers will often include them to sweeten the deal. Any chattels you wish to include should be clearly noted.
Fixtures are permanent improvements to a property like central air conditioning, installed lighting and wall-to-wall carpeting. Fixtures are assumed to be included in the sale of the home unless you note otherwise. Maybe the dining room chandelier is a family heirloom and you wish to take it with you. The line between chattel and fixture can get blurry, so leave nothing to chance! Go over every item with your REALTOR® and make sure it’s accounted for in the Listing Agreement.
The importance of a Seller Property Information Statement.
Many real estate boards now request a Seller Property Information Statement. This can list any recent renovations or improvements, but more importantly, it lists all the known major defects and faults with the home, hidden or not.
Be honest about imperfections.
Maybe the basement leaks during the spring thaw, maybe the kitchen sink backs up when both showers are running. It is best to come clean and report it. If you don’t, and a significant fault is discovered before the sale, it can cast a shadow of doubt over the rest of the home. If the fault is discovered after the sale, and it can be proven that you knew about the problem, you may be sued for the cost of the repairs.
Honesty is always the best policy.
A major defect does not mean your home will not sell. List the defect and state how your home’s price has been lowered accordingly. This can actually be attractive to some buyers, especially if they have experience with the required repairs!
Step 4: Determine Your Home’s Asking Price.
Lots of people out there want to buy your home. The right asking price will attract buyers’ attention, and pay you a maximum return.
You don’t want to set your price too low or too high.
Setting too low a price means you could miss out on thousands of dollars that some buyer would have happily paid.
Setting too high a price can scare away willing buyers and leave your home on the market for too long. When you lower the price, people may assume you are under pressure to sell, and lower their offers even further.
Your Goal is Fair Market Value.
“Market Value” is a term that simply means the maximum amount of money that interested buyers are willing to pay for your property. Remember, buyers comparison shop, especially for something as expensive as a home.
REALTORS® know the general factors affecting your market.
Maybe larger families are moving into your neighbourhood. This trend will make homes with three or more bedrooms and large yards more appealing than two bedroom bungalows. Perhaps a large employer is opening a plant nearby, which will increase demand for housing in general. How are interest rates affecting people’s willingness to take out big mortgages? Do people feel confident about their financial futures? Your REALTOR® knows the answer to these questions and, more importantly, how they affect the price of your home.
REALTORS® then calculate your home’s value within your market.
After accounting for general market influences, your REALTOR® will get very specific about your home, and perform what is called a “Comparative Market Analysis” (CMA). Using the extensive background information available only to REALTORS® through the MLS listing service, they will compare your home to a collection of similar homes that have recently been sold in your area. No two homes are the same, but REALTORS® are very good at adjusting their calculations according to the differences. Your REALTOR’S® suggested asking price is thoroughly researched, and designed to maximize attention and profit for your home. You can feel confident trusting their opinion.
Yes, First Impressions Matter.
It’s nearly impossible to replace the initial flurry of interest and activity a new listing will generate. REALTORS® in your area will want to see your home right away and tell their buyers all about it. Be sure you’re priced and poised to capitalize on this first wave of excitement.
Step 5: Add a Lawyer to Your Team.
Similar to when you bought your home, it’s essential to have a lawyer handle all the various legal documents that change hands.
You’ve probably already worked with a real estate lawyer.
The most logical candidate is the lawyer you hired when you bought your home. They’re already familiar with the property and may have even prepared the purchase documents. If you were satisfied with their work and fees, look no further.
Other ways to find a lawyer.
Ask the people you trust like friends, family or business associates if they know a lawyer with substantial real estate experience. REALTORS® can also give you the names of several lawyers. Before you agree to a lawyer, make sure they’re experienced in real estate, ask how they structure their fees, and get an estimate of the other legal costs you can expect.
How your lawyer will help with the sale.
Your lawyer will review important documents that require your signature. The most critical of these is the “offer” submitted by the buyer. You want to know exactly what you are agreeing to before you sign any offer. You will be legally committed to anything you sign, so it’s essential to make sure you’re protected.
Step 6: Prepare Your Home for Sale.
Break out the mop and the paintbrush. It’s time to give your home a mini-makeover. Here are all the little things you can do to attract the big offers.
Time to see your home through a buyer’s eyes.
Over the years, you’ve grown quite comfortable with your home’s little imperfections; the hole in the screen door, the chipped paint on the baseboards, the mess in the basement. Grab a clipboard, print out a copy of our “Home Preparations Checklist” and take a tour of your home.
Get Rid of The Clutter.
Your house will feel a lot bigger and more inviting when you get rid of all the non-essential stuff lying around your house. Clear out those closets, remove bulky, unused furniture and rearrange the remaining pieces to make the best use of space. Fight your inner-pack rat at every turn. If you haven’t used something in the past year, toss it, donate it to charity or sell it in a yard sale.
Cleaning is the single most cost effective way to make your home more attractive to buyers. Floors, windows, walls, doors, baseboards…everything! Give extra care and attention to the two most important rooms in a buyer’s mind: bathrooms and kitchens. Once it’s clean, keep it clean! You never know what day your ideal buyer will visit.
Repair as Much as You Can, Within Reason.
During your “home tour” identify anything that’s broken, half-finished or simply doesn’t work. Fix all the little things like leaky faucets, doors that squeak or that don’t close properly and small cracks in the ceiling.
Some repairs are absolutely vital, like a leaky roof or basement. Nothing kills a sale faster than signs of water damage. If there’s an unsafe electrical problem you must fix this too, for the good of the sale and the buyer’s safety (not to mention your own).
Depersonalize your home.
Remember, you want buyers to walk through your house and feel like it’s their home, not yours! People just don’t have good visual imagination. They won’t see past your cluttered wall of family portraits, your collection of curling trophies or your ‘eccentric’ home decor. These things are guaranteed to prevent buyers from emotionally placing themselves in your home. Remove everything that’s too much about you, and ask your REALTOR® for help deciding.
Never underestimate the power of paint.
Strong colours on the walls or wild wallpaper make it hard for buyers to imagine their furniture in your house. Consider repainting your home in bright, neutral colours that will enhance a room’s size and look more inviting. Next to cleaning your home, paint is the most cost-effective way to increase your home’s appeal, and attract offers.
Add some beautifying touches.
Replacing tattered old curtains with some fresh draperies may make a world of difference. Mirrors on the wall will help rooms feel far bigger. A few new houseplants will add undeniable appeal. Pay special attention to the outside of your home. Trim the trees, weed the garden and consider planting a few new flowers. Your home needs to make a great first impression with some serious “curb appeal.” You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a big difference.
Weighing the cost of improvements vs. the potential return.
Don’t get so carried away with prepping your home that you forget why you’re doing this, to get more money! You need to consider two things before making any improvements.
- Will this increase the value of my home more than it costs me to do it?
Painting, minor repairs and modest landscaping work are prime examples of improvements that really pay. There are many home improvement shows that focus on people improving their homes for sale. Watch them and learn. Your REALTOR® is also an expert when it comes to prepping homes.
- Your hidden problems.
As discussed in Step 3, you must disclose any major problems that won’t be obvious to potential buyers. A basement that floods every spring, a shower that backs up when someone flushes the toilet, unsafe wiring…let your REALTOR® know everything and discuss your options. Denying problems now will lead to a much bigger problem later, often in the form of a lawsuit. People love honesty and many buyers are happy to fix a problem if your home’s price is adjusted fairly. Don’t forget our Home Preparation Checklist, and good luck!
Step 7: Let Your REALTOR® Market Your Home.
You’ve spruced up your home and it’s never looked better. It’s time for your REALTOR® to do their thing.
Your REALTORS® marketing tools.
The “For Sale” Sign.
Despite all our leaps in technology, the “For Sale” sign continues to be an extremely effective way to advertise. Anybody responding to your sign is a good lead, because they have seen the home with their own eyes and are interested enough to phone in. If somebody is bold enough to knock on your door and ask for a “quick peak”, politely tell them that all visits are being handled by your REALTOR®.
Your REALTOR® may choose any or all of the following: classified ads in the newspaper (often with a photo), ads in REALTOR® magazines, real estate listings on cable television and good old fashioned mail. Neighbourhood mailers are still incredibly effective.
MLS and the Power of the Internet.
Your REALTOR® will place your home on the Multiple Listing Service, ensuring maximum exposure to all REALTORS®. Most MLS listings are also advertised on www.mls.ca, Canada’s most popular Internet research tool for residential real estate, and a big reason why many Canadians who search for a home start on the Internet.
REALTORS® Really Know How to Network.
Your REALTOR® is part of an extensive community of REALTORS® who collectively represent hundreds of eager buyers. REALTORS® will call their friends, who call their friends, who call their friends. The power of word-of-mouth will really be working for you.
Ultimately, your home itself becomes a selling tool. Start with an open house for REALTORS®.
Most REALTORS® like to see a home with their own eyes before they show it to their buyers. A “REALTOR® Open House” is the most efficient way to attract all these REALTORS®, and if your home is perfect for one of their buyers, you can be sure they’ll rush right out and tell them! Your REALTOR® will organize everything and get the buzz started.
Next, an “Open House” for Everybody.
Many buyers want to get a feel for your neighbourhood before they start working with a REALTOR®. That’s why Open Houses to the public are so important. They usually last a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday, and there are a few simple but important rules to follow.
- Make sure your home looks it’s finest.
Your best buyer may just walk in off the street! Use our “Home Preparations Checklist”to make sure you’re ready.
- Lock away valuables.
Most people are decent, courteous and honest, but it’s wise to stash valuables like jewellery, cameras and other small valuables. As added security, your REALTOR® will request a name and phone number from every visitor.
- Attend to any hazards.
Is there an electrical cord somebody could trip on? Is there a chair that will collapse if somebody actually sits in it? Fix it, or lose it.
- Avoid cooking foods with strong aroma.
Almost nobody’s dream home smells like smoked herring!
- The best way you can help.
Don’t be there. You want people to feel relaxed, and allow themselves to daydream that your home is their home. This just isn’t possible with you there. Go see a movie, or if you have pets take them on a field trip.
REALTORS® will want to show your home to individual buyers.
Remember your REALTOR® Open House? All those REALTORS® have called around and found buyers looking for a home just like yours. Naturally, these buyers want to see your place firsthand before making an offer. Welcome to the appointment-only phase of showing your home. Your REALTOR® will act as a go-between and will give you as much notice for these visits as possible. Keep your home in top shape and be somewhere else during these visits.
A “lock box” makes it easier to show your home.
A “lock box” is a small, sturdy metal box that’s affixed to your front doorknob. It’s a mini safe with a key to your house inside. REALTORS® are given a combination to the lock box, so they can show your home to interested buyers. Be patient with visits. Hopefully they will lead to a great offer, soon!
Step 8: Prepare Your Finances.
Before the offers start rolling in, you should prepare for the massive amounts of money that will pass through your hands.
A lot of the money will probably be going to your mortgage.
If you own your home free-and-clear, congratulations! For the rest of us, there are a lot of mortgage considerations.
“Discharging” your mortgage.
Many people use the proceeds from the sale of their home to “discharge” or pay off their mortgage. If you have what is known as an “open” mortgage, you can pay it all off without any penalties. If you have a “closed” mortgage, be prepared to pay a few month’s payments in penalties.
If you’re buying a new home, is your mortgage “portable”?
Many mortgages are “portable” meaning that you can take your mortgage money with you and buy a new home, without penalty. This can be a real bonus if the interest rate on your mortgage is lower than existing rates! If your new home is more expensive, and requires more mortgage, you’ll have to borrow the extra money at the new, higher rate.
Maybe the buyer is “assuming” your mortgage.
Your mortgage may have a feature that allows the new buyer to take over your mortgage. If the interest rate is lower than existing rates, this can be a very enticing selling feature for your home.
Become a mortgage lender yourself?
If your buyer is having trouble arranging all the money to buy your property, you may consider lending directly to them. This is called a “Vendor Take Back” mortgage, and it’s often used by sellers to help move a property in a slower market. This is an incredibly complicated financial dealing, and you must talk with your REALTOR® and lawyer before choosing this route.
If you find your new dream home before you’ve even started to sell your old one.
Talk to your existing mortgage lender. You may be able to arrange “Bridge Financing”. This is when your lender (the bank) is confident your existing home will sell quickly, and they agree to lend you the down payment for your new dream home.
The Tax Implications of Selling Your Home. Capital gains tax.
If the home was your primary residence, you will not have to pay taxes on any capital gain (the increase in the value of your home). If you had tenants living in part of your home, such as the basement, you will pay capital gains tax on a portion of your profits. You may also owe capital gains tax if you’re selling a vacation property. Talk with an accountant to find out what you’ll have to pay.
HST for professional services.
Your lawyer and REALTOR® are providing services, and services are subject to HST.
Step 9: Receive an Offer.
All of your hard work has paid off, but you won’t know exactly how much it’s paid off until you see the offer. This is an exciting, often emotional time, so be prepared.
Your REALTOR® will walk you through the process. You’ll see every offer.
It’s required that your REALTOR® show you every offer that’s submitted. They’ll call for an appointment, usually at your home, to discuss the offer.
The buyer’s REALTOR® will probably be there too.
They are there to represent the buyer’s best interests in the negotiation. The buyer will not be there, so you can review and respond to their offer without any awkward pressure.
Your eyes will be immediately drawn to the price!
Here’s where emotions can really kick in. This isn’t a poker game, but remain calm. Listen to the REALTORS® before making any judgments.
You’ll probably ask the buyer’s REALTOR® to leave the room.
Now you and your REALTOR® are alone to discuss the merits of the offer. Maybe it’s time for a high five, or maybe it’s time to plan your counter offer. You may also wish some private time to discuss things with your spouse.
About the offer: When it comes to the type of offer you receive, it really depends on your buyers individual situation.
Firm Offer to Purchase: Usually preferable to the seller, you, as it means the buyer is prepared to purchase the home without any conditions.
Conditional Offer to Purchase: Usually means there are one or more conditions on the purchase, such as “subject to home inspection”, “subject to financing”, etc. The home is not sold unless all the conditions have been met.
Acceptance of Offer: An Offer to Purchase is presented to you the seller who may choose to accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counter-offer. The counter-offer may be in regards to the price, closing date, or any number of other variables. Offers can go back and forth until both parties have arrived at an agreement or either side ends the negotiations.
Three Options when Responding to an Offer.
- You can accept the offer.
You got the price you were hoping for, maybe even more! The closing date looks good and there are no fussy conditions. Sold!
- You can reject the offer.
This offer isn’t even close.
- You can “sign back” or “counter” the offer.
This offer is close, but something’s not quite right. Now the delicate art of negotiation begins, by “signing back”.
Reasons Why You May Want to “Sign Back” or “Counter”.
- You want more money.
This is by far the most common reason people “sign back”. Everybody wants to get the most for their home, and as the saying goes “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. Go for it, but don’t get too greedy and insult someone who has made a fair offer.
- You want to change the closing date.
Maybe your buyer has already sold their previous home and has no place to live. They want to move in soon; sooner than you’d like. Maybe you haven’t even started looking for a new home! In the same way that you can “sign back” a higher dollar amount, you can also “sign back” a compromise closing date. Perhaps the buyer is willing to offer more money to compensate you for the inconvenience of living in a motel for a few weeks. Welcome to the world of negotiation and compromise.
- There may be some undesirable conditions on the offer.
Conditions are points of contention that must be fulfilled in order for the sale to go through. Here are some common conditions that buyers place on their offers:
Buyer to obtain financing. If the buyer doesn’t have a mortgage lined up, they will often put in this condition. The sale will only go through if the buyer can get the mortgage they want. For some sellers, this is too big an “if”, but the buyer’s REALTOR® will be candid about their odds of approval.
Approval to assume mortgage. You have a great mortgage rate on the property and the buyer only wants your home if they can also take over your easy payments. Will this potential buyer qualify?
Sale of purchaser’s home. The buyer hasn’t sold their existing home yet and they want to be protected from the expense of owning two properties. Maybe their house will sell in a flash. Maybe it won’t sell at all. Maybe you don’t want the sale of your home riding on so many maybes. Time to consult your REALTOR® about the other home and its odds of selling soon.
Property Inspection. [Linked to Step 10 of Buying] This condition is becoming standard practice. Hopefully, you have followed the suggestion of your REALTOR® and disclosed every detail of your home’s faults, so there won’t be any surprises. Refusing a home inspection before sale is highly suspicious to a buyer, and may spoil the deal.
The Art of Counter-Offers and Negotiation.
A successful negotiation is one that leaves both you and the buyer feeling satisfied with the outcome. This is a highly emotional time, so be sure to regularly “check your head”, and ask yourself “How important is this particular detail to me? Am I willing to jeopardize a sale over this?” Remember once you “sign back” an offer, you are releasing the buyer from their offer and they are free to walk away. Thankfully, your REALTOR® is an expert and seasoned negotiator, and will help you every step of the way.
Happy negotiating and best of luck!
Step 10: Close the Deal.
Your negotiations were successful and you have a legally binding agreement. But, is the house truly sold? Not quite yet. It’s time for the vital final steps known as “closing”.
Your REALTOR® and lawyer will do most of the work.
Thank goodness. Closing a deal involves many, many complicated and time-consuming legal maneuvers. That’s why you’ve hired pros.
YOUR CLOSING CHECKLIST
You still have plenty to do yourself, and here’s a comprehensive list.
Contact your lawyer and notify them that an Agreement has been signed. Make sure they’re ready to close the transaction.
Immediately begin satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part. They have definitive dates for completion and failure to do so can result in a lot of hassles, or even spoil the whole deal.
Notify your lawyer and lending institution if the buyer is assuming your mortgage.
Contact the utilities, telephone and cable companies about transfer or removal of service. Note: Your lawyer will often handle the transfer of utilities.
Call your insurance agent and arrange cancellation or transfer of your homeowner’s insurance. If the home you are selling will be vacant for more than 2 or 3 days, make sure your insurance company is notified.
Contact a moving company to arrange your move on or prior to the closing date.
Send out your change of address notices and advise the post office. Notify the Ministry of Transportation about your new address for driver’s license and registration.
Notify your REALTOR® immediately if anything changes about your property or your situation.
Contact With Your Lawyer
If you plan to “discharge” or pay off your mortgage with proceeds of the sale, your lawyer will obtain a statement from your lender showing your outstanding balance on the mortgage, and any penalties you’ll have to pay to discharge the mortgage.
A few days before closing, your lawyer will ask you to sign the paperwork that enables the title to be transferred to the buyer.
On closing day, your lawyer will receive and distribute the proceeds from the sale, pay off your mortgage and other costs, and give you a cheque for the net proceeds.