My spouse and I are both seniors. We’re preparing to sell our home but have not sold a property in quite a few years. What advice do you have to help our sale go smoothly?

As you say goodbye to your property and look ahead to a new kind of home that better meets your needs, there are some things you can do so that you’re satisfied with your real estate transactions.

1. Plan ahead. Do your research and take the time you need to make decisions. It’s important to bring yourself up to speed on how much the housing market in Ontario has changed since your last transaction.

A great place to start is the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s (RECO) website, reco.on.ca. Here you can find many buyer and seller resources, including information about real estate professionals, as well as frequently asked questions and other consumer newsletters and guides.

2. Choose a suitable real estate professional. I encourage you to do your research to find a representative with experience helping seniors who have undergone a similar move. In addition to their professional expertise, reps often have a network of other experts who can help with related matters, such as tax counselling and financial and estate planning.

To select the most appropriate rep, I suggest you get referrals from family and friends who have had a positive experience and similar needs to yours. Interview a few candidates; choose someone you’re comfortable with and who understands your communication preferences.

Consider picking a representative who is well-versed in the specific type of property you’re looking for and familiar with the neighbourhoods you’re interested in. As an added layer of precaution, you will also want to visit reco.on.ca to confirm that they’re registered, and to check for any past disciplinary action using our real estate professional search tool.

3. Know your home’s value. Before setting your price, ask your rep for a comparative market analysis. This provides data on comparable properties that are selling or have recently sold in your area.

It can help you decide what to expect someone to pay, and inform your strategy to achieve the best selling price.

4. Understand your rights and obligations. Confirm from the outset all of the services you will be receiving. You can expect your real estate representative to explain and document all steps clearly.

Be aware of the terms, including fees (such as when you might owe money, including holdover periods) of any agreements you sign. If you need support with this, consider having another family member or friend present who can assist with the process.

5. Get expert advice before signing documents. Given that real estate agreements are legally binding contracts, ensure you thoroughly review and understand all the fine print.

I strongly suggest seeking the help of a real estate lawyer who can review the documents, investigate the title and complete the transaction.

Good luck! I wish you all the best as you go through this exciting transition.


This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.

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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