Looking To Sell

The first question that most of my clients who plan to sell property ask is, “What is my place going to sell for?” A real estate salesperson does not determine the sale price of a property.

The selling price for all properties is generally determined by market conditions at the time of sale. Market conditions include:

  • Location
  • Size
  • Condition
  • Amenities
  • Competition
  • Financing
  • Supply and Demand

Determining the sale price of a property is not an exact science. The best indicator of what a particular property will sell for is to compare it with other recent sales for similar properties in the area. This is generally referred to as a comparative market analysis (CMA).

A salesperson can show you what similar properties in the area have sold for and together you will determine what the asking price of your place should be.


Over the years I have found some common pricing misconceptions:

I know how much money I’ve put into this home.

I know what I need to get out of this place.

Our neighbour’s place sold for ….

I can always lower the price later.


When it comes to pricing your property please remember:

Buyers are more likely to view homes that are priced right.

Your price should be based on sold comparables rather than unsold comparables

Overpriced properties help sell other properties that are priced right

Overpriced properties take longer to sell and often end up selling below market value.

Many salespeople will suggest a higher price simply to secure your signature on a listing agreement. Agents generally refer to this as buying the listing.

Earlier I said that the sale price is generally determined by market conditions however periodically there are outside influences which have nothing to do with market conditions which may affect the sale price of a property. Outside influences include:

Emotion (a purchaser falls in love with a property and just has to have regardless of the price paid)

Business (a developer needs the property for a land assembly).


Pricing your property correctly:

  • Insures greater exposure
  • A quicker sale
  • A higher sale price

Having your property priced correctly at the start of the listing period cannot be over emphasized.  In all but the worst markets there is a pent-up supply of potential purchasers waiting for a suitable property to become available. Once this pent-up supply has viewed your property it will only be new prospective buyers coming to view your place. This will be a trickle compared to the number of initial showings when the property is first listed for sale.

After determining the approximate sale price of the property clients should determine what the net gain will be from the proceeds of the sale. The net gain is determined by subtracting from the sale price any outstanding mortgage amount, mortgage pre-payment penalty (if any), real estate commission, legal fees, outstanding property taxes and any outstanding utility bills such as gas, hydro, water. The net gain is the amount of money that will be available for you to do as you choose once the sale has been completed.

Buying a property should be done whenever you find one that you like and that you can afford. Selling on the other hand is best done when market conditions are favourable to you. That being said, clients must often sell when the need arises, not when market conditions are ideal. This is when the assistance of an experienced real estate sales person can benefit you the most. A real estate professional who has been if the market long enough to experience many different market conditions can provide you with the knowledge and guidance to successfully meet your needs.

Tenanted properties are ideally listed for sale after the tenants have moved out. The next best time to list tenanted properties for sale is after the tenants have given notice of their intent to leave. The most difficult time to sell tenanted properties are when the tenants are still living there and have given no notice of their intent to leave. Tenants who are happy in the property and don’t want to be given notice to vacate can often be uncooperative with showings which will make getting a offer difficult. If you must sell with the tenants still living in the property it is in everyone’s best interest to gain their cooperation before and throughout the sale process.

After you have selected a real estate salesperson to represent you and together you have determined a listing price you will need to sign a listing agreement with your agent. The listing agreement authorizes the agent to advertise and market your property at the agreed upon price and that you will pay the brokerage their commission upon completion of the sale.

Next you may need to prepare the property for sale. Your real estate can best advise you on how to do this.

Your real estate salesperson should have a marketing plan for the property which they have reviewed with you and are now ready to execute. The marketing plan will include items such as signage, a lockbox, feature sheets, open houses etc.

When a prospective purchaser becomes serious about buying your property they will submit a formal offer to purchase through a real estate agent (this may be their own agent or through your listing agent). The offer will detail all of the important information to complete the sale of the property. It will include the buyer’s name, your name, the property address, the price which they are offering, the amount of the deposit which they are prepared to submit and any other terms or conditions which they require and the date on which the transaction will be completed. You are free to accept or reject any offer made to you. You may also counter-offer by changing any of the items which you find unacceptable and ask that the counter offer be taken back to the prospective purchaser for their consideration. This back and forth negotiation process can be spread out over a few hours or a few days. The negotiation process continues until an offer agreeable to both parties is accepted or until one of the parties breaks off the negotiations. Once again advice from your real estate sales representative will make this process an easy one for you.


Following the acceptance of an offer agreeable to both parties, and once the conditions contained in that offer have been successfully satisfied the property is sold firm and the paperwork is forwarded to your lawyer who now becomes responsible to see that the sale closes on time and that you receive the proceeds of the sale.

Depending on the type of property that you are selling (freehold,condo) and the location as well as market conditions at the time of offering you may have to do more or less to prepare the property for sale. Generally it is best that your property be neutral and uncluttered. Your sales representative should advise you on any repairs that may be necessary. Prospective buyers (especially first time buyers) often overestimate the cost of repairs any may deduct an inflated repair cost from the offer they make. You also want to have prospective purchasers thinking about what it would be like to live in your place after they leave the viewing. If they leave thinking about what a mess the place was, or about some other distraction, you may have lost an otherwise potential buyer.

Selecting the right agent to market the sale of your property is not a decision that you should make lightly. Your selection of agent should be based on the experience that they bring to the table, the type of service which you believe that they will provide and the marketing plan that they offer.

Your selection of agent should not be based on any indicated sale price that tell you. The agent has no control over the market – only the marketing plan.

A good agent will be honest with you, provide accurate information for you to base your decision on. They will be fair, competent and professional.