My mom lives in a neighbourhood that has been undergoing gentrification and, until the pandemic hit, many owners had been downsizing. She has been approached by someone who is telling her that she had better sell now. It seems that the person was using the pandemic to get her to sell her home. Do you have any advice?
Let me start with saying, these are certainly unusual times for everyone. As you highlight in your question, even neighbourhoods recently considered “hot pockets” are experiencing fewer listings than usual because of the pandemic; however, research is showing that buyer interest is marginally lower, but still quite strong.
Now for some of the people who bought prior to the provincial state of emergency announcement, they also had to sell a home and vice versa, and those closings are happening during the pandemic. Others may be seeking to lessen their financial burden by selling off investment properties. Real estate brokerages in Ontario were deemed to be an essential service during the current state of emergency because there will be buyers and sellers needing to buy and sell.
Deciding to sell one’s home is a personal decision and should be made with care and without pressure tactics. Your mother is clearly in one of those desirable neighbourhoods and she can decide when she is ready to test the waters. If she is considering selling, the way she was approached, and the unique market conditions make it critical that she seek professional advice from a few real estate salespeople of her choosing prior to selecting one to represent her interests.
Preparing some questions for salespeople in advance is helpful. She may enquire about their experience, what she can expect in terms of communication from them and explanation of the sale process, their approach to buying and selling, and how they have adjusted their services to meet any restrictions that may be in place during the time of her listing. It is important that anyone entering a real estate transaction at this time be fully aware of the restrictions, limitations and requirements in place as the world and the province navigate COVID-19.
Finally, I recommend asking for references and verifying the salesperson is registered in good standing with RECO by using the search feature on the RECO website.
Now, in your question you also referenced that your mother was approached using the pandemic as a reason to sell now. This is somewhat concerning since no one is able to say for certain what impact this will have on the marketplace or individual property values, however, professionals working in the market day to day have access and knowledge of the current trends and transaction data for specific regions and neighbourhoods.
A registered real estate salesperson will be able to represent your mother’s interests and provide a market analysis of the home’s approximate value and be able to negotiate with other real estate salespeople on her behalf.
Sellers who have been out of the market for many years may not know the current value of their home, which can make them susceptible to lowball offers and other aggressive tactics from buyers looking to capitalize.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email email@example.com.
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.