Real Estate

Selling home private

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[OP]
Sr. Member
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Dec 6, 2013
702 posts
259 upvotes
Ontario

Selling home private

I am in Ontario.

I plan on selling my house in the next couple years (~3) and was wondering if there is anything I could do now to prepare myself to sell it private? Any certification, courses to take, law... things? Are there any guidelines from the government regarding this?

Has anyone where sold their house private in the past? What was your experience like?
:cool:
27 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2014
2148 posts
1384 upvotes
Just Moved To Somewh…
No certification required. That said start researching all you can about house sales and get a good real estate lawyer.

We sold our house last year using Comfree (now Purple Bricks) for a flat fee of around $600.00. Their agent attended took excellent photos and helped complete the listing. Our house sold within 5 days of listing for asking price. I think we may have been heading for a bidding war as we had potentials from as far away as the G.T.A. (we lived in Niagara Region) and a few agents verbally expressed their displeasure when I cancelled some scheduled viewings that were still 24 hours away, after I had accepted the offer.

We made it clear in our listing that we would pay up to 2% commission to the buyer's agent and he accepted that. He did all the paperwork and we made it clear that our own lawyer would need 24 hours to review the offer to purchase.

We did all the showings, the first Saturday and Sunday was more like an open house with all the scheduled traffic. We left out copies of our E.S.A. and Building Permits for review and addressed deficiencies (we only had one major deficiency that would have required structural change, but it was more of a design issue on the initial build itself) as we showed each prospective buyer. All manuals for major appliances were also left out for review. House was de-cluttered and went through a major clean, including under/behind the fridge and stove, cleaning the tops of duct work in the furnace room , etc. Yes, the person who did buy the house had checked the tops of the ducts for dust and under the fridge and stove.

As you can see it can be done but it is hard work, you have to not only sell the house but you also have to sell yourself, be a people person. Fortunately being retired and a people person it was a breeze for me and many a buyer's realtor complimented me on the presentation of the house.

Good luck in your endeavours.
“Before one can have a Clue they must first accumulate 10 Inklings. That said, all it takes is one bad post and you erase all Inklings & Clues accumulated'"
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4166 posts
2950 upvotes
rcmpvet wrote: No certification required. That said start researching all you can about house sales and get a good real estate lawyer.

We sold our house last year using Comfree (now Purple Bricks) for a flat fee of around $600.00. Their agent attended took excellent photos and helped complete the listing. Our house sold within 5 days of listing for asking price. I think we may have been heading for a bidding war as we had potentials from as far away as the G.T.A. (we lived in Niagara Region) and a few agents verbally expressed their displeasure when I cancelled some scheduled viewings that were still 24 hours away, after I had accepted the offer.

We made it clear in our listing that we would pay up to 2% commission to the buyer's agent and he accepted that. He did all the paperwork and we made it clear that our own lawyer would need 24 hours to review the offer to purchase.

We did all the showings, the first Saturday and Sunday was more like an open house with all the scheduled traffic. We left out copies of our E.S.A. and Building Permits for review and addressed deficiencies (we only had one major deficiency that would have required structural change, but it was more of a design issue on the initial build itself) as we showed each prospective buyer. All manuals for major appliances were also left out for review. House was de-cluttered and went through a major clean, including under/behind the fridge and stove, cleaning the tops of duct work in the furnace room , etc. Yes, the person who did buy the house had checked the tops of the ducts for dust and under the fridge and stove.

As you can see it can be done but it is hard work, you have to not only sell the house but you also have to sell yourself, be a people person. Fortunately being retired and a people person it was a breeze for me and many a buyer's realtor complimented me on the presentation of the house.

Good luck in your endeavours.
Thanks for this - I always wondered about these types of services and if they were any good. I do have some questions for you if you don't mind
  1. Why did you settle on the asking price when you potentially could have gotten more if you waited 24 hours?
  2. Why did you pay commission to the buyer's agent? Is this typical? I thought the whole point of doing it privately was to avoid commission.
  3. About the cleaning - if buyer found dust he wouldn't have bought the place or lowered the offer? I keep my house clean regardless but I'm curious to understand this better. I helped a friend sell and she insisted we do a full clean including the garage, which I didn't understand because as I buyer, I am going to be cleaning that myself top to bottom and there's going to be a mess when the seller leaves.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
3979 posts
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Toronto
hierophant wrote: [*]Why did you settle on the asking price when you potentially could have gotten more if you waited 24 hours?
Most viewings don't lead to offers. So they would have been potentially sacrificing an offer at their asking price today, just to do a showing that may not lead to anything tomorrow.
[*]Why did you pay commission to the buyer's agent? Is this typical? I thought the whole point of doing it privately was to avoid commission.
If you don't offer commission, then not many agents will bother showing your home to their clients. So your potential pool of buyers will be reduced significantly.
[*]About the cleaning - if buyer found dust he wouldn't have bought the place or lowered the offer? I keep my house clean regardless but I'm curious to understand this better. I helped a friend sell and she insisted we do a full clean including the garage, which I didn't understand because as I buyer, I am going to be cleaning that myself top to bottom and there's going to be a mess when the seller leaves.
It's psychological. A clean home that is better staged with nice furniture, will probably sell for more and faster than the same home but in dirty/messy condition. It's easier for buyers to visualize themselves living there, even through the new buyers will clean, paint, put their own furniture, etc.
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2014
2148 posts
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Just Moved To Somewh…
My answers appear below each question in bold.
hierophant wrote: Thanks for this - I always wondered about these types of services and if they were any good. I do have some questions for you if you don't mind
  1. Why did you settle on the asking price when you potentially could have gotten more if you waited 24 hours?
    "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" We are also very ethical persons, we priced what we wanted after commissions. We wanted to facilitate our move before summer so that we could relax and live on the boat during the summer, all the same while looking for a new residence closer to our grandchildren.
  2. Why did you pay commission to the buyer's agent? Is this typical? I thought the whole point of doing it privately was to avoid commission.
    We found we had better exposure. Assuming most people do not actively search the MLS site but instead search individual brokerages, including Comfree, and are only exposed to those realtor sites. Other FSBO listings seemed to confirm this to us whereby the listing only appeared on the FSBO site or MLS, my listing was also picked up by at least 6 other brokerages and included on their individual sites.
  3. About the cleaning - if buyer found dust he wouldn't have bought the place or lowered the offer? I keep my house clean regardless but I'm curious to understand this better. I helped a friend sell and she insisted we do a full clean including the garage, which I didn't understand because as I buyer, I am going to be cleaning that myself top to bottom and there's going to be a mess when the seller leaves.
    While what you say is true it shows pride of ownership. In our case I do not think it would have lowered the listing or lost the sale, however the buyer asked very pointed questions and could see that our habits reflected on clean living. We own two dogs and by doing a deep clean once a year we can ensure some appliances operate at full potential whereby dust and fur can cause some problems. Our deep cleaning regimen just happened to coincide. Incidentally the buyer did not like dogs and I am sure that is why she did a thorough inspection. The house we bought had cats (hate cats) in the house, however the litter box was located in a utility room and the smell was confined to that area. If we had smelled the cats upon first entering we would have walked away.
“Before one can have a Clue they must first accumulate 10 Inklings. That said, all it takes is one bad post and you erase all Inklings & Clues accumulated'"
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4166 posts
2950 upvotes
rcmpvet wrote: My answers appear below each question in bold.
Thanks much appreciated...definitely good to know when the time comes for me to sell.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
3759 posts
3172 upvotes
hierophant wrote: Thanks for this - I always wondered about these types of services and if they were any good. I do have some questions for you if you don't mind
  1. Why did you settle on the asking price when you potentially could have gotten more if you waited 24 hours?
I think that it's important that the buyer and seller both feel that they received a good deal. Most houses typically only receive 1 offer so it's important to realize the value of that offer. When negotiating the offer, I think that many people sink an offer by losing sight of the bigger picture. People can get tied down into little details that just frustrate the heck out of everyone. Realtors can tell you stories of offers that have been lost because the seller will not include the washer and dryer or a particular light that is in a room. I get it that people want the best deal, but you have to be rational too.

Here's an example: suppose you list your home for $529. You receive an offer for $525. You think that you would like as close to asking as possible, so you decide to split the difference and counter at $527. Here's the thing though - once you counter, the potential buyer can simply walk away and end it right there. So you have to ask yourself is an offer of $525 in the hand worth the risk of an extra $2000?

As the OP stated, their goal was to get it sold and sold it was.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4166 posts
2950 upvotes
skeet50 wrote: I think that it's important that the buyer and seller both feel that they received a good deal. Most houses typically only receive 1 offer so it's important to realize the value of that offer. When negotiating the offer, I think that many people sink an offer by losing sight of the bigger picture. People can get tied down into little details that just frustrate the heck out of everyone. Realtors can tell you stories of offers that have been lost because the seller will not include the washer and dryer or a particular light that is in a room. I get it that people want the best deal, but you have to be rational too.

Here's an example: suppose you list your home for $529. You receive an offer for $525. You think that you would like as close to asking as possible, so you decide to split the difference and counter at $527. Here's the thing though - once you counter, the potential buyer can simply walk away and end it right there. So you have to ask yourself is an offer of $525 in the hand worth the risk of an extra $2000?

As the OP stated, their goal was to get it sold and sold it was.
That's a good point and I totally get it. I was asking mostly because I thought it was still a seller's market (it was when I bought 3 years ago - multiple offers that went way over ask), but perhaps things are changing now and it's more of a buyer's market if only one offer is being received.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
3759 posts
3172 upvotes
hierophant wrote: That's a good point and I totally get it. I was asking mostly because I thought it was still a seller's market (it was when I bought 3 years ago - multiple offers that went way over ask), but perhaps things are changing now and it's more of a buyer's market if only one offer is being received.
It might not be a seller's market in 3 years when you plan to list though. And, even if it is, that doesn't mean that your listing will garner multiple offers. The take away is to start researching the market now. That will give you 3 years to learn as much as possible and hopefully place you in a better position when you list.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4166 posts
2950 upvotes
skeet50 wrote: It might not be a seller's market in 3 years when you plan to list though. And, even if it is, that doesn't mean that your listing will garner multiple offers. The take away is to start researching the market now. That will give you 3 years to learn as much as possible and hopefully place you in a better position when you list.
Just to clarify - I specifically asked rcmpvet these questions based on HIS situation since he recently sold his house in today's market. I'm not talking about 3 years from now because as you pointed out it would be different but that would be useful information for OP for sure.
[OP]
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 6, 2013
702 posts
259 upvotes
Ontario
rcmpvet wrote: No certification required. That said start researching all you can about house sales and get a good real estate lawyer.

We sold our house last year using Comfree (now Purple Bricks) for a flat fee of around $600.00. Their agent attended took excellent photos and helped complete the listing. Our house sold within 5 days of listing for asking price. I think we may have been heading for a bidding war as we had potentials from as far away as the G.T.A. (we lived in Niagara Region) and a few agents verbally expressed their displeasure when I cancelled some scheduled viewings that were still 24 hours away, after I had accepted the offer.

We made it clear in our listing that we would pay up to 2% commission to the buyer's agent and he accepted that. He did all the paperwork and we made it clear that our own lawyer would need 24 hours to review the offer to purchase.

We did all the showings, the first Saturday and Sunday was more like an open house with all the scheduled traffic. We left out copies of our E.S.A. and Building Permits for review and addressed deficiencies (we only had one major deficiency that would have required structural change, but it was more of a design issue on the initial build itself) as we showed each prospective buyer. All manuals for major appliances were also left out for review. House was de-cluttered and went through a major clean, including under/behind the fridge and stove, cleaning the tops of duct work in the furnace room , etc. Yes, the person who did buy the house had checked the tops of the ducts for dust and under the fridge and stove.

As you can see it can be done but it is hard work, you have to not only sell the house but you also have to sell yourself, be a people person. Fortunately being retired and a people person it was a breeze for me and many a buyer's realtor complimented me on the presentation of the house.

Good luck in your endeavours.
Oh woa thank you very much for your insight, I wasn't aware of services like Purple Bricks at all. Regarding costs, would you say the total cost was Purple Bricks + Buyer Agent Commission (which you set to 2%). Are there any other costs I should consider? This would be my first time selling.
:cool:
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2014
2148 posts
1384 upvotes
Just Moved To Somewh…
@xfftwf The only other major cost would be lawyer fees. I am posting here a cut & paste document that was sent to me by my lawyer. They outline your responsibilities as well as your lawyer's responsibilities. NOTE - This is my lawyer's viewpoint, check with your own lawyer as they may have different expectations.

Real Estate Sales - The Lawyer’s Responsibilities
· to discuss the transaction with the client(s)
· to review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale with the client(s) and advise the client of the Agreement's implications
· to discuss the costs of the transaction with the client including sub-search of title, registration of discharge, expenses and legal fees
· to prepare the sale documents, to review these documents with the client(s) and explain what they mean
· to discuss the discharge payout statement received from the lending institution; we (the lawyer) can’t negotiate the associated penalties and administration charges with the lending institution on behalf of a client
· to adjust the purchase price for any prepaid items (for example, taxes prepaid by the Vendor, oil/propane left in the fuel tank, hot water tank rental etc.)
· to prepare and review with the client(s) a summary of monies being paid out from the purchase price contained in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, adjust that price for prepaid (or unpaid) realty taxes, utilities which are not metered, fuel oil, etc., payout of existing mortgage / secured line of credit, real estate commission, search and registration expenses and legal fees
· to arrange to have keys delivered along with the closing documents to the co-operating lawyer’s office for pick up by their client(s) upon registration of the transaction
· to delivering the funds to the lending institution(s) and real estate brokerage pursuant to their statements received by our office
· to report on the sale and to follow up on any outstanding issues after closing

Real Estate Sales - The Client's Responsibilities
· to work with the real estate agent in determining the price to list the Property at, the date on which the transaction will be completed (the "Closing Date"), and any items which will be included with the property
· to ensure that any rental items are listed as such, ie. alarm systems, hot water tanks, fuel tanks etc.
· to advise the real estate agent and/or lawyer of any special concerns, unusual items or possible environmental problems which may affect the property BEFORE signing the Agreement of Purchase of Sale
· to contact local public utilities (hydro, water, gas, etc.) to ensure that utilities meters are read and to advise them of the name(s) of the new owner(s) to cancel the current account.
· to read the Agreement of Purchase and Sale BEFORE signing it and to review the Agreement with the real estate agent and/or lawyer
· to confirm moving arrangements AFTER discussing with your agent and/or lawyer; you are required to be out of your property the morning on the closing date. The transaction CAN’T be completed until such time as you provide vacant possession of the property as indicted in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale
· BEFORE the Closing Date, to call the hydro, gas, water, telephone, cable, oil and other utility companies to advise them of the transaction and to provide them with your new forwarding address for your final bills to be sent along to. AFTER the closing date, to follow up with the various utility companies to ensure that they have issued out the final bills effective the day of closing
· to review all sale documents with the lawyer before signing them
· to speak with your banker in regards to any penalties or fess that will be added to your payout statement that will be ordered and received by your lawyer
· to speak with your insurance agent to arrange to cancel your insurance effective 11:59 PM on the day of closing
“Before one can have a Clue they must first accumulate 10 Inklings. That said, all it takes is one bad post and you erase all Inklings & Clues accumulated'"
Jr. Member
Oct 11, 2012
186 posts
124 upvotes
xfftwf wrote: Oh woa thank you very much for your insight, I wasn't aware of services like Purple Bricks at all. Regarding costs, would you say the total cost was Purple Bricks + Buyer Agent Commission (which you set to 2%). Are there any other costs I should consider? This would be my first time selling.
Just chiming in here:

I live in a small town and I noticed that a nice house near me was up for sale and was using Purple Bricks. A couple of weeks go by and I noticed that the house is now being sold via traditional realtors. It’s been two weeks and still hasn’t sold so maybe there’s an issue with the house rather than a lack of buyers.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1806 posts
1330 upvotes
GTA West
xfftwf wrote: I am in Ontario.

I plan on selling my house in the next couple years (~3) and was wondering if there is anything I could do now to prepare myself to sell it private? Any certification, courses to take, law... things? Are there any guidelines from the government regarding this?

Has anyone where sold their house private in the past? What was your experience like?
My experience is not current, and I have not done a transaction since options like PurpleBricks became available. But I have done 2 private sales that I handled myself and I also bought privately twice.

My experience was not that great. The biggest problem was that most people still believe that they need an agent to avoid making a serious mistake like you see in those "realtor" commercials (nonsense). So you get less traffic. And the folks that are confident and savvy enough to buy private are also the ones who want all the savings when you cut out the sales commission. .
.
[OP]
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 6, 2013
702 posts
259 upvotes
Ontario
Dealmaker1945 wrote: My experience is not current, and I have not done a transaction since options like PurpleBricks became available. But I have done 2 private sales that I handled myself and I also bought privately twice.

My experience was not that great. The biggest problem was that most people still believe that they need an agent to avoid making a serious mistake like you see in those "realtor" commercials (nonsense). So you get less traffic. And the folks that are confident and savvy enough to buy private are also the ones who want all the savings when you cut out the sales commission. .
.
Thanks for your input, this seems to be the general consensus I've seen (less traffic, people wanting more discount, etc.). Could you briefly list the process? Do you at least need a lawyer to bind the sale etc.?
:cool:
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1806 posts
1330 upvotes
GTA West
xfftwf wrote: Thanks for your input, this seems to be the general consensus I've seen (less traffic, people wanting more discount, etc.). Could you briefly list the process? Do you at least need a lawyer to bind the sale etc.?
For both of my sales, the buyer's lawyer drew up the Agreement of Purchase of Sale. I think my lawyer looked at it too.

Note: I did better on my private purchases than my sales. In one case the vendor was selling in a rising market and was on the market for a long time, so that prices had gone up since he put it up and was asking on the low side. He only had a small hand made sign on a new house in a subdivision. When I contacted him and heard him out, I found out he was sitting on two properties and couldn't afford to carry both - that was not a wise thing for him to disclose. The reason he was selling his new house was because he couldn't sell his old house, which he was also trying to sell privately! He took a low price to get out of that dilemma and also to have the satisfaction of doing his own deal - he really hated agents and had something to prove.

If I were selling my house today, I would look at the new services that are now available like Purple Bricks.
Last edited by Dealmaker1945 on May 31st, 2019 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 1, 2006
9618 posts
849 upvotes
Muskoka
In the past 18 months, I have sold two houses privately, and bought one privately. It is easy, we used ComFree for one, and Property Guys for the other. Both sold quickly and for good prices. The one we bought, we got for way cheaper because we explained to seller how much they were saving on commissions.
[OP]
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 6, 2013
702 posts
259 upvotes
Ontario
Dealmaker1945 wrote: For both of my sales, the buyer's lawyer drew up the Agreement of Purchase of Sale. I think my lawyer looked at it too.

Note: I did better on my private purchases than my sales. In one case the vendor was selling in a rising market and was on the market for a long time, so that prices had gone up since he put it up and was asking on the low side. He only had a small hand made sign on a new house in a subdivision. When I contacted him and heard him out, I found out he was sitting on two properties and couldn't afford to carry both - that was not a wise thing for him to disclose. The reason he was selling his new house was because he couldn't sell his old house, which he was also trying to sell privately! He took a low price to get out of that dilemma and also to have the satisfaction of doing his own deal - he really hated agents and had something to prove.

If I were selling my house today, I would look at the new services that are now available like Purple Bricks.
Thanks for this! Sounds like you hit the jackpot with the seller trying to get rid of this property (and saying too much lol...)
:cool:
[OP]
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 6, 2013
702 posts
259 upvotes
Ontario
Bullseye wrote: In the past 18 months, I have sold two houses privately, and bought one privately. It is easy, we used ComFree for one, and Property Guys for the other. Both sold quickly and for good prices. The one we bought, we got for way cheaper because we explained to seller how much they were saving on commissions.
I wasn't aware of other companies other than Purple Bricks, so thanks for these, I will check them out. Is there any reason you switch to a different company the second time? Generally what are your thoughts about their services?
:cool:

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