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Tips For Sellers

Should You Buy or Sell First?

Is it better to buy a new home or sell your existing home first? Both options have their advantages and their risks. By carefully examining the pros and cons, and by providing alternatives in case of setbacks, you will be able to make an informed decision.

Selling First

By selling your current home before buying a new one, you’ll know the exact amount you’ll be receiving from the sale. You’ll therefore have a very good idea of how much money is available to buy your new home.

You might start feeling an urgent need to find a new home right away. But keep in mind that you’ll already have all the information needed to make your promise to purchase. For example, you’ll know when the buyers of your current home are moving in, and can therefore easily establish when you’ll need to take possession of your new home. If ever the dates don’t coincide, you can always plan for temporary accommodation.

Buying First

When you buy first, you’ll know your new address, the exact price of your new home, the date on which you’ll become owner and the transaction date. You’ll be able to consider these things when you receive a promise to purchase for your current home.

You can also make a promise to purchase that is conditional on the sale of your home. In this case, the owner of the property you’re interested in might receive another offer without any conditions. In order to give yours priority, the owner will ask you to withdraw your condition. You will therefore have to decide whether you’d rather buy that property before selling your existing home, or withdraw your offer.

One way or another, it’s a good idea to plan a temporary source of financing in case your current home isn’t sold when you sign the purchase contract for your new home.

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To Sell Quickly, Make a Good First Impression!

When the time comes to sell your home, you only have one chance to make a first impression.

The Exterior

The exterior appearance of your home is extremely important. An inviting exterior will attract buyers and encourage them to visit the inside of your home. Your lawn should be well maintained and, during the winter months, keep some photos of your lawn handy so that visitors can see what it looks like during the summer. Cleanliness is essential, so a cleared entrance and clean windows will also make a big difference.

The Interior

Inside, neatness is key. Clean your home from top to bottom and get rid of all unnecessary items. Remove any old furniture that is obstructing the hallways or cluttering up the rooms. Clear out any open spaces so that visitors don’t feel cramped.

Does the home need a fresh coat of paint? Newly painted properties often sell for more. Remember that dark colours can be detrimental to a sale. Instead, choose brighter, more appealing neutral tones. Your carpet’s appearance can also be a determining factor. If you can’t replace your carpeting, having it cleaned will help give the rooms a refreshing new look.

The kitchen and bathroom must be immaculate. Take the time to clean all appliances and faucets, as well as the bathtub, toilet and sink. Unclutter the counters and don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink or towels around the tub. Give buyers a chance to visualize all storage possibilities.

Throughout your home, fix leaky taps, defective door handles, as well as drawers and cupboard doors that don’t close properly. Replace burnt light bulbs and yellowed switch plates. Most of these minor repairs are relatively inexpensive and will help visitors form a positive opinion of your home.

Creating Ambiance

Your home must be well lit. During the day, keep the curtains open and turn lamps on in the evening. If necessary, add lamps in dark corners. Make sure your home is well-ventilated so that visitors aren’t turned off by strong odours such as incense or spicy foods.

It’s important to be discrete when potential buyers are visiting. Leave your agent alone with the client. It will be easier for the agent to highlight your home’s strong points and the visitor will be able to voice comments and impressions freely.

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The Price Is Right

Determining the right sale price is a crucial step when deciding to sell your home. More often than not, the price is the most determining factor for potential buyers.

Thanks to their privileged access to the Centris® system, a network that is reserved exclusively for brokers who are members of a real estate board that is much more complete than www.centris.ca, your real estate broker can evaluate your property and perform a comparative market analysis based on properties that are similar to yours and that were recently sold in your neighbourhood. Comparative market analyses are indicators of the price that today’s buyers are willing to pay for a residence similar to your own, in a comparable area. The analysis takes into account your property’s features and the conditions of the current real estate market.

Getting Off to a Good Start

To sell your property quickly, it’s important that you set the right price from the get-go. When faced with a price that's too high, potential buyers may get discouraged, while those who can afford it will quickly realize that they can get better value for their money elsewhere. It’s also good to remember that a property that lingers on the market for a long time tends to lose its appeal.

Selling on your own is risky business. Without in-depth knowledge of the market, you can easily underestimate the true value of your property and lose considerable profit. This is why a real estate broker is the best-suited professional to help make the most of your real estate transaction.

Setting the right price from the moment you put your property up for sale is to your best advantage. You’ll be sure to attract more potential buyers and therefore sell your property as quickly as possible.

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Documents Needed When Selling

You’ve decided to sell your property? To ensure that the transaction goes smoothly, you’ll need a variety of documents at different stages of the process.

Here’s a list of documents to have on hand when selling your property:

  • Property’s certificate of location
  • Test de pyrite, vermiculite, ocre ferreuse, etc., pour les régions concernées
  • Pyrite, vermiculite, iron ochre tests, etc., in certain regions
  • Bills for renovations to the property
  • The declaration of co-ownership, if applicable
  • The rental lease or leases in the case of plexes
  • Municipal and school tax notices
  • Monthly cost for electricity
  • Fixed costs for the property

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The Real Estate Broker – Your Path to Peace of Mind

A real estate transaction is a complicated and detailed process that requires solid knowledge of the real estate market and a skilful talent for negotiation. Why not use a real estate broker to take care of all the details for you?

When selling your home, your real estate broker will conduct a thorough analysis of the market in your neighbourhood, and will determine an accurate selling price. And by using the power of the Centris® system, your broker will give the home exceptional visibility to the more than 14,000 brokers who are members of a real estate board.

Think about it. To sell your home, you must be available seven days a week to conduct showings. Your real estate broker can take care of everything: responding to requests for information, managing telephone calls and showings, marketing your property to potential buyers, etc.

Once a promise to purchase has been submitted, it’s time for negotiations. In all real estate transactions, it's fundamental that you have an experienced negotiator on your side and real estate brokers are truly experts in the field! They can help guide you through financing, qualifying buyers, sale conditions, building inspections, and all other legal aspects.

Brokers can also be intermediaries in your dealings with the many people involved in the sale of your property. Their large networks of contacts range from building inspectors to notaries, and from financial institutions to mortgage brokers. Brokers are a one-stop shop for all these services, and their involvement guarantees you the legal protection offered by the Real Estate Brokerage Act.

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Protection You Can Count On!

Doing business with a real estate broker means that you are protected by the law. The Real Estate Brokerage Act and various other organizations regulate the real estate broker profession so that consumers can expect fair and competent services. So, you know that you’ll be served by a highly qualified and well-trained professional.

Real Estate Brokerage Act

The main goal of the Real Estate Brokerage Act is to protect the public. To enforce this, the Act sets out specific rules relating to the brokerage contract for the sale of a house. They are similar to several of the regulations found in the Consumer Protection Act.

Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec

Created by the Real Estate Brokerage Act, the Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) is mandated to protect the public by regulating the professional activities of all real estate brokers. It is responsible for administering the exam that leads to the practice certificate and it ensures that its members carry out their activities in compliance with current laws and regulations. For more information, visit www.oaciq.com.

Fonds d’indemnisation du courtage immobilier

Each broker contributes to the Fonds d'indemnisation du courtage immobilier. The Fonds d'indemnisation du courtage immobilier has the authority to compensate a consumer in the event that a problem arises during a transaction whether it relates to fraud, a dishonest transaction or the misappropriation of funds or other property. For more information, go to www.indemnisation.org.

Professional Liability Insurance

Real estate brokers must hold professional liability insurance, which ensures that consumers have additional financial protection in cases of fault, error, negligence or omission. This insurance covers civil claims and civil proceedings.

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A Real Estate Broker’s Compensation Is Well Deserved

Did you know that real estate brokers receive their compensation only when the notarized deed has been signed? The amount they receive for a real estate transaction is determined when the brokerage contract is signed with the client, but the amount is paid only when the transaction is made official.

Often called a "commission", compensation doesn’t go directly into the broker’s pocket. If a selling broker (representing the buyer) was involved in the sale, the listing broker (representing the seller) must pay a portion of his compensation to the selling broker. Also, as a self-employed worker, the listing broker incurs many expenses before even receiving compensation, such as liability insurance, as well as advertising, transportation and office fees.

Buying or selling a home can involve a variety of financial, legal and technical worries. By using the services of a real estate broker, you can accomplish one of life's most important transactions without any complications. And remember, they only get paid if they get results, because brokers will receive their compensation only if they successfully sell your property.

Highly Qualified Professionals

Real estate brokers in Québec must follow a mandatory training course offered by a certified institution such as the Collège de l’immobilier du Québec. Brokers have access to a wide range of continuing education activities that allow them to increase their knowledge and stay up-to-date on the real estate industry.

Real estate professionals in Québec must also pass an examination administered by the Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) in order to obtain a certificate of practice. They are also regulated by a professional code of ethics and standards of practice. So as you can see, your real estate broker is a highly qualified and well-trained professional.

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Professionals Involved in Your Transaction

In the course of buying a property, aside from your broker, you will get to know a number of professionals working in the real estate industry. Since real estate brokers are central to any real estate transaction, they can help coordinate your transaction by being the link with the other people involved in the sale of your property. Here's an overview of the services offered by each participant.

Land Surveyor

Land surveyors are the only ones authorized by law to delineate public and private property in Québec. Owners may call on their services to determine the boundaries of their lot using markers or to prepare a certificate of location.

TheOrdre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec brings together all members of this profession.

Mortgage Broker

Mortgage brokers help their customers find the best mortgage loans. They find loans whose conditions best meet your needs: prepayments, financing an old house, self-employed worker loan, etc.

Mortgage brokers must hold a certificate by the Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec. You can also visit the Website of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals.


Chartered appraisers provide an objective estimate of a property’s value. Their appraisals are used for insurance, mortgage, estate settlement and asset sharing purposes. They also serve as expert witnesses in court and their report can be used as supporting documentation in the appraisal of a property.

To obtain the title of a chartered appraiser and the right to use the "É.A." designation, appraisers must be members of the Ordre des évaluateurs agréés du Québec.


It is highly probable that potential buyers of your property will ask a building expert to conduct an inspection.

Since the building inspector profession is not under governmental regulation, it's important that you use an inspector who belongs to one of the following professional associations: technologists, engineers, chartered appraisers and architects. Inspectors who belong to one of these associations offer the public an increased level of protection, as they are overseen by their professional association. The Québec Association of Building Inspectors ensures that its members in Québec comply with professional standards.

For more information, visit the Website of the Association des inspecteurs en bâtiment du Québec or the Website Inspection Préachat.org.


A notary is an essential component of any real estate transaction. They are, along with lawyers, the only ones legally entitled to draft a mortgage deed. They also write up the deed of sale and perform a title search to ensure that the purchased property is free from obligations.

Notaries are members of the Chambre des notaires du Québec.

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The Centris® System and www.centris.ca: A World of Difference!

Did you know that the Centris® system, reserved exclusively for brokers who are members of a real estate board, contains five times more information than the public website www.centris.ca?

The Centris®, system, a computerized database that is unparalleled in the industry, contains extensive information that is not available on the www.centris.ca public website. For example, it can provide the sale history of a given property so that brokers can follow its market evolution over the course of many years.

The Centris® system is the main tool used by real estate brokers. It encourages co-operation between competing members by providing regulations, policies and conventions that are accepted by all members of a real estate board. The Centris® system is also the most complete and up-to-date database for real estate transactions. It holds data such as the property’s year of construction, the asking price, the sale price, the property’s value in terms of specific criteria, etc. And only real estate brokers who belong to a real estate board have access to this information.

As soon as a property is listed in the Centris® system, it can be seen by all brokers who are members of a real estate board, which represents approximately 14,000 professionals. If this property interests a buyer, his or her brokers can contact the listing broker to schedule a visit and eventually, conclude the transaction.

The Centris® system is a one-of-a-kind, powerful marketing tool that follows very specific regulations. It shouldn’t be confused with the www.centris.ca public site, which is primarily an advertising tool.

Thanks to the Centris® system, brokers who are members of a real estate board are able to expertly manage your real estate transaction.

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