Many of our clients have not bought or sold real estate in a number of years.
Here is an overview of legal, procedural, and marketing changes that have come about over the last few decades.
Prior to 1995, all real estate agents in Ontario were representing the interests of the seller of a property. This was confusing to buyers, who thought the agent helping them buy a home was working for them. Since 1995 buyers are typically represented by an agent they have “hired” to work for them and protect their best interests. In all Canadian jurisdictions, a REALTOR® is required to present you with a written explanation of how representation works at the beginning of the relationship.
The mountains of paperwork can seem daunting. Your REALTOR® will walk you through it all and give you time to have your lawyer and your family look it over, if you wish. The forms are standard, so most lawyers will be familiar with them.
With all the design shows on TV these days, buyers expect every house they walk into to look perfect. In response to this, an entirely new industry was born: Home Staging. Stagers are trained to make your home as visually appealing as it can be, and to maximize flow and use of space. Staging helps potential buyers move through your home with ease, and also sets the stage for excellent photos.
It was only 3 years ago that the Toronto Real Estate Board made the change to allow 20 photos per listing instead of 9. This was important, because when buyers aren’t watching design shows, they are scouring listings on the internet. Those perfectly staged photos need to stand out in a sea of listings. REALTORS® are no longer the gatekeepers to listings – the internet feeds listings to buyers faster than any agent possibly can. This has shifted the role of the REALTOR®, placing a greater emphasis on skilled negotiations, marketing and analysis.
Before they commit to buying your home, a buyer will want to have an inspection done. The inspector is trained in general construction matters, and a good home inspector is in the home for 2-3 hours, inspecting and preparing a report card on the home’s current condition for the buyers. Inspectors look for the good, the bad, and the ugly, and provide a detailed report.
A more recent change is that a home inspection will often be completed in advance of a home being listed. This “pre-list” inspection report will be provided to potential buyers to reduce the likelihood of conditional offers on a property. This is common practice in markets where there are often multiple offers on the same home.
Multiple Offers are not a new phenomenon, but they have become a lot more common in the last few years. The likelihood that a home will receive multiple offers depends on a number of factors, including the state of the market at the time of listing, the neighbourhood, the number of competing listings, the list price, and the strength and execution of the listing marketing plan.
Many sellers will choose to set an offer date to encourage multiple offers. A set offer date is typically 5 – 7 days following the list date. This approach allows for a marketing period, so the property can be exposed to a larger number of potential buyers. On the set offer date, any interested party will submit their offer for consideration. Within a set amount of time the seller will be able to consider and weigh the multiple offers and select the best fit.
A prudent REALTOR® will establish ahead of time the seller’s preferences, including closing date, what is included and excluded (for example, window coverings), and how they would like the offers to be presented. There are a number of strategies and negotiation options available when navigating multiple offers. A well-managed and transparent process garners the best results.
You may very well have more questions. Contact us and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process and the options.