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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Documents Needed When Selling
You’ve decided to sell your property? To ensure that the transaction goes smoothly, keep these documents close at hand:
Property’s certificate of location
Pyrite, vermiculite, iron ochre tests, etc., in certain regions
Property renovation bills
Declaration of co-ownership, if applicable
Rental lease or leases in the case of plexes
Municipal and school tax notices
Monthly electricity costs
Fixed costs for the property
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 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.
The Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec brings together all members of this profession.
Mortgage brokers help their customers find the best mortgage loans. They find loans whose conditions best meet your needs: prepayments, amortization terms, 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 (OACIQ). You can also visit the Mortgage Professionals Canada website.
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.
Before buying a property, it is strongly recommended that a building expert inspect it first.
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 regulated by their professional association. Members are also required to hold professional liability insurance as a condition of membership. The Québec Association of Building Inspectors ensures that its members in Québec comply with professional standards.
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.