My wife and I are thinking of selling our home next spring. How long might the process take, and can you offer any advice on getting started?

I can’t say how long it might take to sell your home, but your salesperson can provide you with information about average times in your market. That said, things could move quickly once you start the process, so it’s important to perform due diligence beforehand. Earlier this year, RECO commissioned a survey that found the majority of Ontarians who bought or sold a home in the last five years weren’t in the market for very long: among the buyers surveyed, nearly 57 per cent said they purchased their property within three months of when they started looking, and 67 per cent of sellers said their sold their property in under three months.

(Please keep in mind these are simply polling averages, and there are no guarantees for the length of time it may take to buy or sell a property.)

If you’re aiming for the spring, you should have several months to organize your next steps. It’s important to think about your rights and responsibilities in a real estate transaction, which is why RECO suggests buyers and sellers start with these four must-do tips:

1. Shop around before you shop around for your home.
Yes, shop around for the right salesperson first. Real estate salespeople and brokerages vary widely in terms of experience, expertise and services provided. I recommend meeting with at least three salespeople and asking them some questions before you sign an agreement. Get a good feel for what you can expect and how well you connect.

2. Look them up
Remember to take advantage of the “Look up a real estate salesperson, broker or brokerage” search tool 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.

3. Read and understand everything
Whenever you’re presented with a document that requires a signature, you should read it and understand it thoroughly. If something isn’t clear, ask for a clarification. You would also be well-advised to also show it to a lawyer who is insured to practice in real estate law.

4. Be an active participant in the process
Your salesperson is a knowledgeable resource who can help you make informed decisions, but you should always remember that you’re the one in the driver’s seat.

These tips form the basis of RECO’s fall consumer-focused campaign aimed at first-time buyers, homeowners who are looking to either upsize or downsize their properties, and newcomers to Ontario. We have helpful resources for all of these groups.

And if you’re checking out HomeFest this weekend at the International Centre, be sure to visit the RECO booth.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email

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, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at

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