The main steps for selling your house
You need to move to another city because of your job? You need larger areas? From assessment to the signing of the deed of sale at the notary, through the various forms to complete and marketing, selling a home is a complex process, which includes many elements to consider and coordinate!
Here is an overview of the steps involved.
Choosing to do business with a real estate broker
Did you know that if you choose to enlist the services of a broker to represent you during the sale of your home, you will not only benefit from the expertise of a qualified professional who is supervised by the OACIQ, but also from all the protections offered by the Real Estate Brokerage Act?
Duties and obligations of the real estate broker
The Real Estate Brokerage Act clearly defines the broker’s duties and obligations towards you. For example:
- The broker is bound by a strict duty of loyalty to his client. He must promote his interests and protect his rights.
- He must disclose certain situations without delay and in writing to all the parties to a transaction: does he have a personal interest in the property you are considering? He refers you to a specific financial institution from which he receives compensation? He must disclose this to you in writing.
- The broker also has a duty to advise and inform his clients and all the parties to a transaction objectively, and must provide them with all the explanations they need to fully understand and appreciate the services he is providing. This means your broker has a duty to explain to you all the clauses of the forms he is asking you to sign.
- A broker has an obligation to inform all the parties to a transaction of any factor that could unfavourably affect the transaction.
- The real estate broker must show the accuracy of the information provided by relevant documents and he is responsible for all the information he disseminates.
Check the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements, professional conduct of brokers and advertising for more information.
Once you have chosen a broker to guide you in the sale of your home, you will have to sign the mandatory Brokerage contract – Sale form developed by the OACIQ, which will clearly establish the terms under which your broker will act as well as your rights and obligations.
In addition to being represented by a professional who will devote maximum time and effort to the sale of your property, you will have access to the protections offered under the Real Estate Brokerage Act, which governs and oversees real estate brokerage in Québec.
The brokerage contract includes, among other things:
- A realistic asking price for your property, set with the help of your broker’s expertise;
- The obligations of your broker (such as presenting you with all promises to purchase he receives);
- Your obligations (such as providing a certificate of location describing the current state of your property);
- The amount and terms of your broker’s remuneration (commonly known as commission).
The broker’s remuneration is usually based on a percentage of the immovable’s selling price. It can also be a lump sum or an hourly rate. It is normally paid at the signing of the deed of sale, unless you have agreed on another method with your broker. Your brokerage contract must also specify the percentage or the amount that your broker undertakes to share with any other broker collaborating in the transaction.
When you sign the brokerage contract is also when you will decide with your broker on the promotional activities he will use to promote the sale of your property: type of advertising (periodicals, newspapers, websites, etc.), signs, open houses, information dissemination service between real estate professionals, etc.
Before you sign the brokerage contract, the broker will review it with you and give you any explanation you need to make sure everything is clearly understood. Do not hesitate to ask questions. You may also contact the Info OACIQ agents with additional questions.
The Declarations by the seller of the immovable
The mandatory form Declarations by the seller of the immovable developed by the OACIQ is a proven added value for the protection of your interests: it covers many elements pertaining to your property, on which you can probably provide comprehensive information. By laying your cards on the table with this form, you minimize the risk of legal action down the road while allowing the prospective buyer to make an informed decision based on detailed information about the state of your property.
The OACIQ recommends that this form be completed by your broker, with your input. Your broker will help you determine what you need to declare about your property.
You must complete all sections with your broker by providing information about your property in good faith and to the best of your knowledge, including:
- Year of construction and purchase;
- Any water damage and soil contamination;
- Presence of ochre deposits or pyrite;
- Condition of the roof, plumbing, heating system, etc.
Once completed, the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form will become an integral part of your brokerage contract, to which it must be annexed. If you refuse to complete it or sign it, the broker will simply not be able to represent you.
Showing your home to its best advantage
Part of the success in selling your home depends on the impression it will make on potential buyers when they visit it. Showing it off properly is of prime importance!
First, review some of the visual aspects of your home, both inside and out. If any work is required, perhaps you can do some of it yourself, such as painting or landscaping, and save some money. These improvements will greatly improve your chances of selling your home more quickly!
Receiving a promise to purchase... or two, or three!
When your home is marketed effectively, you can expect to receive a promise to purchase quickly. This contract document will be used by any potential buyer who wants to make you an offer.
A promise to purchase contains several important elements such as:
- The price which the buyer is offering you for your property;
- The items he would like included in and excluded from the sale;
- The date and time by which you must accept the promise to purchase.
Sometimes a potential buyer is not represented by a broker and must work with your broker to complete his promise to purchase. Since your broker has an obligation to protect and promote your interests, he will not disclose any confidential or strategic information concerning you (for example the fact that you may be in a hurry to sell).
Your broker must present any promise to purchase he receives regarding your home. If several promises to purchase arrive at the same time, you may be tempted to go with the one offering the highest price. However, this potential buyer may make his promise to purchase conditional upon the fulfilment of certain demands, and those conditions could be a major factor in your decision.
The most common conditions are a property pre-purchase inspection by a professional or a building inspector, and securing a new mortgage loan. When you accept a promise to purchase with these conditions, be prepared to receive a visit from a building inspector or a qualified expert, and to follow-up with your broker regarding the buyer’s mortgage commitment.
Your broker will assess the impact of the conditions contained in each promise to purchase, will help you examine the information they contain and manage the various deadlines associated with them.
To avoid any problem down the road, reply to any promise to purchase you receive, even if you are refusing it. If one offers exactly what you are asking for, you only need to accept it and you will be on your way to selling your property. If not, you can issue a counter-proposal.
You have received a promise to purchase that you find interesting, but you wish to make a few adjustments with the help of your broker? You can issue a counter-proposal to the buyer informing him that his offer has been rejected as proposed, but that you are making a new counter-proposal with conditions that would be more acceptable to you, such as a different price.
In turn, the buyer can use a counter-proposal form to respond to your counter-proposal, and so on. A counter-proposal has the effect of cancelling all previous counter-proposals made by either the buyer or the seller.
The agreement that will bind you to the buyer will consist in the promise to purchase as amended by the last counter-proposal only, without regard to any previous counter-proposals.
Handing over your property... and your keys!
Once the promise to purchase or the counter-proposal has been accepted and all the conditions have been fulfilled, the next step is to make the transaction official by signing the deed of sale before a notary.
Even at this final step, your broker will still be there for you. Ask him any questions you may have so that no doubt remains in your mind. You may also contact the information centre Info OACIQ with any additional questions. That’s it, your house is sold. Congratulations!
You want more information on the sale process of a home with a real estate? The OACIQ designed for you the Seller’s Guide, a quick reference guide containing a wealth of useful information for your transaction.