Selling your Home? What You Need to Know: Part One

From deadlines to multiple offers to closing

Selling your home can be an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful. In this two-part selling-your-home guide, we’ll lay out the process for you, and what else you should know. It will help you plan and prepare for selling your home in Ontario and the GTA.

You Have the Power

The first thing to remember is that you, as the owner, are in control. Transactions in real estate are often marrying the best strategy to optimize price with what fits for your family’s schedule and situation. Your realtor can help you talk through the pros and cons of your various options. Usually, preparing your home with a full stage and providing minimal restrictions on showings is the most likely strategy to get the highest number of viewings, offers and ultimately price. For some families however, logistically this isn’t feasible and you’ll need an alternate approach. Your realtor should work with you to help you feel comfortable and set you up for a successful sale.

Do You Set an Offer Date?

Holding back offers until a specific date can also help compound the interest and maximize your agent’s ability to leverage multiple offers against each other. Setting a deadline before accepting any offers also allows each potential buyer the time to view your home and the opportunity to submit an offer. When there is more demand than inventory, the market is more in favour of sellers. With a robust amount of buyer activity, offer dates force competition and thus are usually your best strategy to get the highest price.

If you want to have an offer date it doesn’t prevent you as the seller from accepting an offer ahead of the deadline, however. If you’d like to be able to entertain pre-emptive or bully offers (any offer received before the set offer date), this information can be included in your written direction and on the MLS broker’s remarks. You can also elect not to look at bully offers and if you change your mind part way through your listing, you can change your written direction and the MLS listing. Your agent must also notify anyone who has expressed an interest in your property.

Bully offers in general must be good enough that you are tempted to wrap it up rather than wait until the scheduled offer date as this might be the best offer you’ll get. They are almost always on the higher end of the market value and without conditions. Deciding to look at a bully offer can be tricky as a shift in your timing can upset other potential buyers. Turning down a bully offer risks that these buyers won’t return on the scheduled offer date with the same number or at all.

If the market isn’t as favourable for sellers, a downside to adding an offer date is that it may discourage buyers who don’t want to compete with other offers. While competition is expected when selling your home in the GTA, when the market is softer, some buyers may not wish to take part in this style of sale. This can also happen after prolonged periods of intense buyer competition with rapidly accelerating prices when people burn out.

How do you decide? Speak with your agent, who will evaluate what other homes have sold in your area and what strategies worked best. Remember that every neighbourhood is different, so this is where your agent’s experience, local knowledge, and skill will work to your advantage!

How Do You Handle Multiple Offers?

What you should consider:

  • Buyer Conditions
    • Financing – Is their financing solid?
    • Does the buyer need to sell their house first?
    • Home inspection – Did they include a successful home inspection as a condition of purchase?
  • Closing Date
    • What closing date did they set?
    • What date did they choose to take possession? Do these two dates work with your plans to take possession of the home that you’re buying? What about the moving dates that you have planned?
    • If they need to sell their home, does this afford them a safe amount of time to do so?
  • Flexibility/Communication

Related to the previous points, how has the communication been with the buyers and their agents on the sale price and the conditions? Do the buyers seem willing to negotiate on dates and conditions? Are they willing to come up in price? Do you have enough information to feel that the buyers can securely close on the purchase? If communication has been a struggle, this may be a harbinger of how the closing will go.

But that’s not all that you need to know before selling your home. In Part Two we’ll review the rest of the process for accepting an offer. Hint: It’s not as simple as taking the highest bid.

Thinking of moving to the next stage? Let’s chat. Send me an email ( or text/phone (416-882-4707).

Photo by katie manning on Unsplash