must disclose to you in writing, who exactly they represent in any
real estate deal. A REALTOR may represent you as a buyer or a seller;
he or she may also represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction.
Your listing REALTOR is, in law, your agent. An agent owes his or
her client the duties of utmost care, integrity, confidentiality
and loyalty. Make sure you discuss agency with your listing REALTOR.
In some provinces,
including Quebec, notaries perform the same role in the real estate
transaction as lawyers do in other provinces. If you have any questions,
check with a REALTOR.
of selling a home with a REALTOR starts with the Listing Agreement.
It’s a contract between you and the brokerage company that
the agent represents. It is a framework for subsequent forms and
negotiations. It's important the agreement accurately reflects your
property details and clearly spells out the rights and obligations
of all parties. Both you and the listing agent sign the listing
agreement and each receive a copy. The agreement binds both parties
to its terms and conditions.
the agreement you appoint the brokerage company as your agent and
give its representatives the authority to find a purchaser. The
duration of the agreement is indicated, and the compensation is
specified. The agreement also sets out the listing price, and accurately
describes the property you are selling. That will include the lot
size, building size, building style and materials, floor areas,
heating/cooling systems, room sizes and descriptions.
This is when
you must also decide what you are taking with you and what you are
leaving with the house. Generally, unless stated otherwise, fixtures
remain with the property, while chattels -- things which are movable
-- aren't included in the sale. If necessary, what stays and what
goes are listed under "inclusions" or "exclusions."
Listing Agreement also details the financial conditions of the property,
including the mortgage balance, mortgage monthly payments and the
mortgage due date. It should also provide information about annual
property taxes; and references for any easements, rights of way,
liens or charges against the property.
of listing with a REALTOR is that only a REALTOR is able to place
your listing on the MLS® or Multiple Listing Service ®,
which is the co-operative listing system operated by local real
When your listing
is placed on the Multiple Listing Service®, the information
about your property is shared with all other REALTORS accessing
MLS®, and all REALTORS have the opportunity to sell your property.
This type of cooperative effort will result in the listing agent
offering compensation to the selling agent. Your property gains
more exposure, because it reaches the majority of the real estate
professionals in your community.
another benefit of dealing with a REALTOR. Through mls.ca, the national
MLS® Internet website, participating local real estate Boards
can also advertise listings to potential buyers across Canada and
around the world.
One major issue
for anyone selling a property is how much to ask for. Although you
may have an idea of how much your house is worth, it's important
to have your home valued by a professional on its own merits. Be
careful not to price yourself too high or too low. If it's too high,
there's no sale; too low and you lose on your investment.
A REALTOR has
the research and expertise to provide a market assessment of what
similar properties in your area have sold for. They can also provide
information on market history, such as the number of properties
sold in your community the previous month or year.
A REALTOR also
has a number of marketing tools and options to promote your property.
First is the mls.ca web site, which attracts more than 600,000 unique
visitors a month. It shows the details of your home to local, regional
or national buyers looking for a property in your community.
may also recommend an Open House as a marketing strategy. There
are two types: first is an agent's open house, where sales representatives
from the listing company will be invited to view your house. If
you have signed an MLS® agreement, other REALTORS may also be
invited. Remember, each of these REALTORS may have a prospective
The second type
of open house is a public open house, where members of the public
are invited to walk through your home and have a look. It's an efficient
way to show your home to many potential buyers at once. The listing
agent will act as host, answering any questions.
You and your
listing agent will pick the time and date for an open house. In
order to give the agent access to your home, you may wish to keep
a key at his or her office, or in a lockbox. It's also a good idea
to ensure that any valuables are put away in a safe location, then
leave while the open house is underway. If you do stay, be sure
to keep out of the way, and turn off any TVs or radios to let the
agent and the buyer talk in peace.
say, clean counts with open houses. A general rule is that clean,
uncluttered and well-lit spaces look larger and more attractive.
People will naturally want to buy a house that is clean and well
home doesn't sell right away. Avoid the urge to pull your home off
the market... be persistent! Generally, there are three reasons
why a home may not sell as fast as others. First is location; second
is condition; third is the asking price.
can't change your home's location, but you can fix the condition
of your home and you can, of course, adjust your price. Throughout
the listing process, you need to be constantly comparing your asking
price against those of similar properties in your area. It may be
time to adjust the price of your home.
selling strategy regularly with your listing agent: Is your house
being shown regularly? Are you receiving the feedback from prospective
buyers? Are you in touch with the marketplace? Is your property
competing well? If not, what else can you do?
Once a buyer
is found, you’ll be receiving an offer that will detail how
much, specify any conditions that may apply or be attached by the
buyer, say when the buyer would like to take possession, and when
the offer expires. As an act of good faith, the buyer will make
a deposit with the offer.
You don't have
to accept the offer as is. You may wish to make a counter offer
that comes part-way to meeting the offer's conditions. The counter
offer is one more step along the way to negotiating the final terms
and conditions of the sale.
The offer, once
signed by everyone, is a binding contract. Make sure you understand
and agree to all of the terms in the document. You may want to have
it reviewed by your lawyer before signing.
especially if the buyer makes it a condition of sale, you may be
provide a current survey, or a "real property report,"
showing the location of the house is on the property owned by you
and that there are no encroachments. You may also have to prove
that you have title to the property (the buyer's lawyer will check
this out when he or she conducts a title search to see if there
are any liens on the property, easements, rights of way or height
restrictions). Especially in rural areas, you may also be asked
to provide a certificate for a well or septic system, stating the
system meets local standards.
The buyer may
also make the purchase conditional on an inspection by a qualified
engineer or inspector.
Then on or before
closing day, lawyers representing you and the buyer will set up
a trust account for the money coming from the sale and will pay
off any mortgages you owe on the property. After these are paid,
you will receive any money you have coming from the sale. You must
deliver the property deed or transfer documents, mortgage details
and keys to your lawyer. Your lawyer will register the mortgage
discharge and transfer the deed at closing,
should also ensure that you receive compensation for prepaid expenses
such as, property taxes, electrical or gas bills, or if applicable,
any heating oil left in your tank. Some lenders will make it possible
for your mortgage to be portable, so you can take your mortgage
with you when you move to your new home.
Here, your responsibilities
under the listing agreement end. You'll have paid your listing agent
the agreed-upon compensation. This can be done by your lawyer who
can arrange the payment from the proceeds of the sale.
(Note: The comments
contained on this site are for information purposes only and do
not constitute legal advice.)
The Canadian Real Estate Association. All rights reserved.