Step by Step Guide to Selling

Step 1 – REALTOR® Interviews and the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

There are hundreds of critical mistakes you can make when selling your home, however there is a universal cure for them all . . . qualifying and choosing the right agent. Ask your agent lots of questions to ensure their motives are in the right place and they have the ability to properly represent you. Furthermore, you need to find out if you are comfortable with this person’s style of business. In addition to an interview with an agent, have them look at your house and give you an idea of value. The agent will then assess the other homes in the area that are comparable to yours, make financial adjustments for the differences and give you an approximate value. This process is called a CMA.

Step 2 – Document & Material Preparation

In order to sell, there are certain documents and materials that you should obtain. These include an updated survey of your property called a Real Property Report (you likely have one from when you bought the home), any relevant repair receipts (such as a new roof or furnace), any home warranty documents, a spare set of keys, relevant rental or lease agreements, etc. If you live in a condo, pull all the documents you have received from the board or management company. Your REALTOR® should help you with the rest.

Step 3 – Home Preparation

If there are major repairs that need to be made, consider fixing them before you sell, or offering a credit to a buyer for the repair. If you try to hide it or don’t address the issue, then in the buyer’s mind it will drastically reduce the quality and price of the property . . . “If this is wrong, then what else is wrong”. In terms of a simple cleaning, the key is to de-clutter rooms (knick-knacks and excess furniture), and make sure the house looks clean and well maintained.

Step 4 – The Listing Documents

When you sign the listing documents, be sure that you understand you are signing a legal contract. Your REALTOR® should clearly explain each clause and the implications. When does the contract begin and how does the contract end? What are my rights and responsibilities within the agreement? Most standard contracts are wriKen to protect you (the seller) and the brokerage as well.

Step 5 – Marketing

Be sure your agent mentions all the features of the house that convinced you to initially make your purchase, because other buyers will likely feel the same way. Look over the marketing materials and if you have any suggestions for additional information, feel free to let your REALTOR® know. Any house will sell if the value exists or is perceived in the mind of the buyer . . . this is the key.

Step 6 – Showings

No one likes to be forced out of their home, but it is extremely uncomfortable for a buyer if you are present during a showing. If possible, make arrangements with a friend, neighbour or relative to be absent during showings. The more flexible you can be the beKer, however if there are specific times that will not work, or if you want a break, simply tell your REALTOR®. We are all human and buyers will understand that the home will not be accessible 24/7.

Step 7 – Strategy Assessment

After a couple of weeks on the market, we should have enough feedback to assess the current marketing strategy, and it may be time to make some adjustments. This may include changing the marketing medium (newspaper vs websites, etc), the features that are focused on, price, agent incentives, etc. Your agent should remain proactive so the listing doesn’t go stale.

Step 8 – Offer & Negotiation

When someone decides to write an offer, you will be contacted by your REALTOR® and a time will be set to present it to you. The agent bringing the offer may want to present in person, however you ultimately have the choice. After some negotiations, signatures and initials will be required to finalize the agreement. The goal in a successful negotiation is to come to a win-win solution. Remember, people will pay your price if they feel they are getting value.

Step 9 – Conditions

It is most common for an offer to have some sort of condition on it. This might be that the buyers agree to purchase your house as long as they can get a home inspection first, or subject to their financing being approved. A due date is usually between 7 – 10 days and your house will be considered “conditionally sold” during this time. The shorter the condition dates the beKer, but it is important to give the buyers a realistic amount of time to save the headache of extensions on dates.

Step 10 – Preparation for Possession

Once the conditions are removed, the deal is considered “firm” and you can prepare for possession. You will need to book an appointment with the lawyer (usually a date about a week before possession), and fulfill any part of the contract that you agreed to. If you said you would paint, clean, or something else, then this must be done before possession to avoid a contract breach.

Step 11 – Closing & Possession

Possession typically happens at 12:00pm unless otherwise agreed to in writing. It is best to have your furniture moved on the previous day as some people like to get in a couple hours early to do a walk through (this is not a requirement and is simply a show of good faith). Keys do not get released to the new owners until noon and only if the money has been transferred to your lawyer (they will notify the REALTORS®). Typically your cheque will be ready a couple days after, and if you are buying a new home, the lawyers will handle any money transfers that need to happen.

Preparing Your Property First impressions count.

Often a small investment in time and money will provide your home a competitive advantage compared to others at the time of showing.

Interior – General Maintenance

  • Oil squeaky doors
  • Tighten and polish doorknobs
  • Repair leaking taps and toilets
  • Repair cracked plaster
  • Clean everything (appliances, furnace, windows, carpets, etc)
  • Remove extra items from all the countertops
  • Remove messages from the refrigerator
  • Organize closets and cupboards (thin them out)
  • Clear hallways and steps of any objects or clutter
  • Remove identifying items such as photo frames
  • Clean and tidy entrance
  • Replace burnt out lights
  • Clean and repair windows
  • Touch-up chipped paint
  • Keep pets outdoors or out of the house


  • Cut the lawn
  • Trim shrubs and plants
  • Weed and edge gardens
  • Pick up any litter
  • Clear walk and driveway
  • Repair gutters, eaves and roof
  • Move all building supplies out of sight
  • Move all gardening supplies out of sight
  • Clear the patio of small items
  • Clean oil stains from the driveway and garage
  • Replace worn, stained or personalized doormats
  • Replace any bulbs that are not working
  • Touch-up exterior paint

The Buying Atmosphere

  • Be absent during showings
  • Turn all lights on
  • Turn on gas fireplace
  • Open drapes to let light in
  • Play quiet background music
  • Be sure the doorbell works

Increasing Your Property’s Value

The most commonly asked question when looking through a client’s home is “what improvements can I make that will increase the value of my property?” Many people make a profit by buying properties, improving them and then re-selling. You may not be in the property investment business, but the main concept is the same.

Here is some insight into the home improvement game and
some guidance into where you should focus your time:

Market Value

The market value of your home is the price you can expect to receive for your home. This is based on location, motivation, market conditions, and of course, features and improvements.
When making any major upgrades to your home, it is best to be sure that you will see a tangible increase in the market value when it comes time to sell.

Put in a Nickel, Get Back a Dime

What is your time and effort worth? Too many times we meet people who are eager to do the work, but don’t consider the buyer’s perspective. Some people may pay more for some  features that won’t matter to others. Consult a professional to determine if the improvements you choose will be worth your money and will give you a return. Make sure this number is worth your time.


Upgrading from carpet or lino to hardwood and tile makes an enormous difference. Focus on look rather than price, since many buyers cannot tell the difference.


This is usually the focal point of the house. Open concepts and modern colours are key. Consider refinishing existing cabinets and just replacing the countertop to save money.


The saleability of a home is best described as the overall impression your home leaves in the minds of potential buyers. These simple maintenance items may not add dollars to your market value, but will certainly ensure that your home sells as quickly and as close to your asking price as possible.


Freeing up room in the bathroom makes a big difference. Pedestal sinks can work well for this. Modern looking tile goes a long way.


Interior and exterior. Use neutral or modern colours and unless you are a pro, avoid creative patterns. No murals.

Floor plan Alteration

People like to entertain and see their guests. When you enter an open concept home it also feels much larger. Furthermore, three small bedrooms may work better as one large master and a spare.

Professional Basement Development

Builders, contractors or professionals only please. Poor workmanship will be adjusted for at the time of the sale. You can do some work yourself, but leave the finishing to the pros.