My mother recently passed away, and I inherited her home in Cornwall (I’m in Mississauga). I’d like to sell the place, so how should I get started?

I’m sincerely sorry for your loss. Making important decisions while you are grieving can be very difficult so I hope you’re able to take some time to think about your options. When you’re ready to begin the selling process, I strongly recommend working with a registered real estate salesperson or broker. I also recommend speaking with a lawyer who is insured to practice real estate law. There may also be estate tax considerations, and speaking with a lawyer early in the process would be beneficial.

You could use a Mississauga-based brokerage for the task, as registration with the Real Estate Council of Ontario allows an individual to trade in real estate anywhere in the province, but as I mentioned in a previous column, it might make more sense to choose a Cornwall-based salesperson who understands local market trends, is available to show the property to interested buyers, and can recommend Cornwall-area professionals to assist you. If you’ve worked with a Mississauga brokerage, you could ask them to make a referral and send your contact details to a trusted real estate colleague in Cornwall. This way you don’t have to search for a Cornwall-based salesperson and both brokerages can participate.

If you choose to find the Cornwall salesperson on your own, interview at least three candidates and look them up using the search tool located on every page of the RECO website – it will tell you if they’re registered with us, and if they have faced any disciplinary action.

If the home will be vacant during this period, your salesperson may wish to put a key to the property inside a lockbox for easier access. Make sure you review your salesperson’s safety protocols and that you are fully comfortable with that plan before you agree to provide lockbox access.

Your salesperson may suggest that you have a home inspection performed to determine the overall condition of the property, and then develop a game plan for selling: should you make repairs and renovate worn-out features of the home before you list it in order to obtain a better price, or does it make more sense to inform potential buyers that you’re selling the home as-is?

Hiring a qualified home inspector to perform an inspection is a good idea regardless of whether you’re buying or selling a property. A home inspection is an on-site, in-person visual assessment of a home’s features and major systems that doesn’t involve poking holes in the building.

Be aware, however, that even a highly experienced home inspector can sometimes miss a latent defect. Oil tanks, wells, septic systems and other special items should be inspected by someone qualified and knowledgeable in conducting those types of inspections.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email askjoe@reco.on.ca.

 

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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.

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