My mother’s neighbourhood, where she’s lived in the same house for 50 years, has become very popular. She’s constantly approached by home buyers and real-estate agents who want her to sell. What should she do?
The red-hot real-estate market in the Greater Toronto Area shows no sign of cooling. The average price of a Toronto home sold this past January rose 22 per cent from a year ago, according to data collected by the Toronto Real Estate Board.
A few examples: In the GTA, a detached home sold for an average $1,336,640, a jump of 26.8 per cent from a year ago, while the 905 region saw a detached home averaging close to $1 million, up 27.8 per cent in the last year.
While these numbers tend to elicit sympathy for prospective home buyers, it’s worth noting that sellers can also be vulnerable in these markets. Seniors who have been out of the market for years may not know the value of their property, making them susceptible to lowball offers and other aggressive tactics from eager buyers and sales representatives.
It’s important to remember that the rights of the seller are just as important as the rights of the buyer. That includes the right to be treated fairly during the course of a trade, and to get a fair price for their home.
Selling a home is a big decision, and the first thing your mother needs to do is decide whether she wants to move. If not, she may want to put up a “no solicitation” sign making it clear to prospective buyers that she’s not interested in selling.
But if your mother is ready to sell, she may want to shop around to find a real-estate agent who is the right fit for her.
She should interview a few potential candidates. A family member or friend can be with her as an objective observer during the interviews. Ask the candidates about their approach to the buying and selling process, their marketing strategy, their experience, the services they will offer, and the fees and commission they will charge.
On RECO’s website (reco.on.ca) she can to confirm the registration of any rep she is considering.
Once she has found a rep and is ready to sign a listing agreement, it’s very important for her to closely read the agreement and understand everything before signing. If there’s something that is unclear, she can ask her sales representative to explain it. A real-estate lawyer is another great asset who can help go over all the documents.
Determining a fair price for the home can be done with her real-estate professional or an independent appraiser.
As a seller in a hot neighbourhood, your mother should realize she is in the driver’s seat. She shouldn’t rush to hire the first salesperson or broker she meets, or to accept the first offer.
RECO has a lot of consumer protection information on its website, customized for people at different stages of life. Your mother may want to check out the boomer section of our website (reco.on.ca/boomer), which has plenty of useful tips for how to protect yourself as a seller, including information on how the real-estate market has changed over the years.Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.