How To Sell Your Home Yourself, And Avoid Paying A Big Commission!

Selling your home is a big, and sometimes daunting, decision.  There are many factors to consider, including: when to list, for how much, what prep work and marketing is involved, what the neighbourhood competition looks like, who to list with, or even considering the prospect of selling on your own.  

 Sometimes people do decide to list on their own, often to avoid paying commission.  Many, however, don’t alway realize that there are many stages involved in selling a home, both before it goes on the market, and after.  Here at the April Williams Group, we value transparency, open communication, and honesty, so we’ve comprised a comprehensive guide to selling your home—even when you’re not using a Realtor.  It’s important to highlight that selling your property on your own is not a cost-free process. You will still need to work with a lawyer throughout your property’s closing, and may still have other fees involved in prep-work, advertising, and flat-fees to have your property on MLS (Multiple Listing Service). 

To adequately understand how to sell your home on your own, it’s best to first understand the stages that realtors take to sell properties—after-all, it is their profession.  

There are six primary stages that real estate agents take to sell your home: 

Establish time-lines and prices—this includes evaluating market statistics, neighbourhood competition, and local sale statistics including sale prices, and days on market. 

Prep your home for sale—prepping your home for sale is arguably the longest processes involved in selling your home.  Prep work includes repairs, painting, decluttering, cleaning, staging, and more cleaning. 

List your Home—this is when a ‘for sale’ sign is put up on the property, and the listing appears on MLS (Multiple Listing Service).  After this point, showings and open houses may be booked on the property

Marketing and Advertising—this includes getting professional photographers and videographers to photograph your home.  This material can then be used by the the real estate agent’s designers to create featured listing material, for webpages and postcards for instance.  Other marketing could include: print and digital media advertised through dedicated websites, Facebook pages, and email blasts.  Pre-listing marketing may also take place in the form of a “Coming Soon” sign and digital marketing. 

Assist with offers and negotiations—Your realtor will go over any offers placed on your property.  There are various possible outcomes when it comes to your property's offer date—including sign-backs, Financing conditions, Home-Inspection Conditions, Status Reports, multiple offers, among others. Your realtor goes over these options and negotiations with you. 

Guide you through your property’s closing—a property’s closing is multi-staged.  You need a qualified lawyer to work with you through the closing of your property.  Your realtor will work alongside your real estate lawyer throughout the closing process, including pre-closing appointments, appraisals, and pre-closing paperwork.  

For more detailed information on the route that agents may take to sell your home, visit our Seller Experience Page.  

If you choose to sell your home on your own, you essentially want to follow the same steps, although you will be doing the majority of the work on your own.  Prior to listing your home on your own, make sure that your are fully aware of all real estate laws in your jurisdiction

We’ve outlined key points to consider when selling your home on your own: 

Pricing your Home Competitively yet Realistically: 

Prior to listing your property for sale, you need to ensure that you’ve priced is competitively, and in line with the market.  This will involve a fair amount of research.  Make sure that you search for properties that have sold recently, and in your neighbourhood for the most accurate market statistics.  You also need to be mindful of other details that will differentiate your home from other nearby sales, including number of bedroom, number of bathrooms, recent renos, square footage, and street traffic—these will all influence your property’s value in relation to other nearby sales.  You need to make sure your pricing is both competitive, and realistic.  

Clean, Declutter, & Prep your Home for Sale: 

Prepping is done to ensure your property shows well.  This primarily includes decluttering and cleaning (thorough, thorough cleaning!).  Ensure that more than a surface cleaning is done, as prospective buyers will be looking at more ‘hidden’ area of the home, including inside cupboards and closet spaces.  

Listing your home:

You will need to look into sites that you can advertise your home for sale.  MLS is the most expansive list of real estate in Toronto, and is the site where all properties listed through real estate brokerages appear.  It is possible to pay MLS a flat-fee to have your property listed there.  

Marketing your Property Online:  

The majority of home searches begin online, so it is best to make sure your listing is available online.  This includes advertising not only on MLS, but also on other sites like Craigslist, Kijiji, and Facebook. It is a good idea to take photographs of your home, so that potential buyer’s can get a feel for your property even before visiting it.  Other marketing can include print brochures, and featured webpages (this may include hiring a designer or professional printer to make the brochures, or paying for a featured webpage). 

Showing your Property: 

You will have to either be home for all your properties showings, or install a lockbox.  Make sure that you answer calls and emails promptly from agents and buyers—the real estate industry in Toronto is very quick-paced.

Negotiations and Offers:

You will have to perform all your negotiations on your own, so make sure you read through all paperwork to you very carefully, and familiarize yourself with potential outcomes, including conditions and sign-backs.  

Get a Good Real Estate Lawyer

Whether you use a real estate agent or not, you need to work with a lawyer throughout the closing process.  Make sure you work with a lawyer who specializes in Real Estate Law.