What are the real costs of selling your home?


Have you made a list of all expenses related to the sale of your home? I am talking about expenses that are unforeseen and not planned for.  If you are aware of them in the first place that is, you can plan accordingly.  Some of these costs are optional, and will make the difference between selling and not selling, as well as selling at a much higher price.  Would you be ready to spend about $2000 even before listing your home, if you knew for certain that you would get at least $10 000 or more for your home? 

Since these surprise costs can come up before listing your home for sale, during the process as well as after the sale is concluded, it is important to work with a broker with experience who can make you aware of your options and how to deal with unexpected issues when they come along.

The main cost people associate with selling is the commission paid to the real estate brokers. Sellers often forget that charging taxes on the commission is the norm, since selling your home is a service and this is clearly stated in your brokerage contract.  

What is a pre-payment mortgage penalty

Before even listing your home, there are some expenses to consider, some mandatory and others optional.  When calculating your net result of the sale, it is imperative to know the exact amount of your PRE-PAYMENT MORTGAGE PENALTY, whether it be $1000 or $15 000, you need to know this number!  Make sure you call the lender of your mortgage, who will calculate the penalty based on your agreement and type of mortgage.  All your legal paper work pertaining to your home need to be up to date. 

Do I need a certificate of location when selling my home

 If the Certificate of Location for example is over 10 years old, a new one is needed at about a cost of $800 – $900.  As a seller you may consider paying for a PRE-SALE Building Inspection to avoid any major unforeseen repairs later on in the process, this is of course optional.  The cost is between $500 to $700. 

Another optional and very important cost to consider before listing, is related to preparing your home for sale.  I recommend that a minimal home staging be done by the sellers, and yes this does require some effort and expense but is totally worth it!  This includes time and money spent on a big house clean up, de-cluttering, possible storage rental, light landscaping, painting and decorating.  The other aspect of selling you may forget about is making those small repairs you have been putting off.  Repairing the cracked walkway, the air conditioner or appliance that is not working may seem insignificant, but to the potential buyers, the more move-in-ready your home is the more ready they will be to make you an offer!  Spending about $2500 properly will give you a return of $5000 or more.

Once your property is on the market expenses may come up.  While most brokers pay for the cost of marketing your property, some may charge separately for certain items. Keep in mind if something breaks or an issue comes up in your home such as a leak or a furnace no longer working, it is up to the seller to keep up the maintenance and repairs of the home up until the new buyer takes over.  

With an accepted offer, a buyer has the right to have a Building Inspection, which more often than not will reveal some minor repairs and hopefully nothing major.  If a major building issue needs addressing and causes a major expense to the buyers, they may negotiate that you take care of the issue.  In cases where there is mold in the attic, major foundation cracks or vermiculite insulation, the seller is most likely the one who will incur this expense by either reducing their price or fixing the issue.  This is a grey zone and working with an experienced broker to consult with is crucial in the negotiation of major issues following a building inspection.

With everything finalized, you will be signing the deed of sale at the notary, where there may be additional expenses to note. In order to remove the mortgage legally from your property, the notary will charge a Radiation fee for each loan on the property, costing from $650 – $800 per loan.  As the seller, you may need to purchase Title Insurance if there is any defect or problems with the title of ownership, the notary will normally require this if necessary and the cost is about $250. 

 At the notary, there will also be calculations made for specific adjusted amounts that were previously agreed upon with the buyer. There will be the usual adjustments for municipal taxes, school taxes, oil reserves, in which case you may end up receiving money from the buyer for taxes you have already paid as the seller.  Other adjustments can be for a rental compensation to the buyers if you are not vacating the property right away and need to stay there for a month or more.  Other amounts can be adjusted last minute, if any surprises are found by the notary concerning the property, but hopefully by now, everything has been accounted for and you have officially sold!

After the buyers take possession of the property, if they bought the home with the regular Legal Warranty, then as the seller you may still be responsible for certain defects or break downs depending on the individual situation.  It is best to consult the real estate brokers involved and possibly your lawyer if it gets to that.  

Helen Akrivos is a Montreal real estate expert who is passionate about educating and inspiringeveryone to succeed in real estate! She holds a Chartered real estate broker license and is President of North East Realties agency in Montreal.  As a lecturer in the Residential Real Estate Program at College Lasalle, Co-Host of The Real Estate Show on CJAD AM800 radio and contributor to the MTL Times newspaper, Helen shares her stories of real estate success to help as many people as possible! E-mail your comments to eleni@nordestimmobilier.ca

By: Eleni (Helen) Akrivos – info@mtltimes.ca

Other real estate articles:

4 reasons to buy a duplex instead of a single-family home – North East Realties

North East Realties – The 5 P’s of selling your home

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