How looking at sold properties can help you make a winning offer

How looking at sold properties can help you make a winning offer

These days, properties are often priced below their actual value, and offer dates and bidding wars have become the norm. So how do you figure out what you should offer to beat out the competition – and win that property you love? 

Simple: by knowing what similar properties have sold for recently. and make that easy: simply toggle your search from “for sale” to “sold,” and you’ll find the sold prices for every property in the building and neighbourhood.

Watch the 20-second how-to video

Why price history?
Looking at what properties like yours have sold for gives you a solid benchmark for current market value: it’s what your agent looks at when counselling you on what to offer. You can figure out if a listing has been underpriced or is priced too high. If you’re looking to sell, it’s also an easy way to see what you could potentially get. 

Search filters help you compare apples to apples – if you’re looking at a 2-bedroom listing downtown that’s 900 sqft in a building with a pool, simply use filters to find similar properties, and voila! You’ll see what the place you’re interested in buying will potentially sell for.  It’s easy to filter by time period, too: simply select what has sold in the last 7 or 30 days for the most current price data.

Sold data can help you with a lot more than price
Historical sales data can also show you how things like floor level, unit features and view impact the price. It’s also easy to see if the building has a lot of rental turnover, how often units go up for sale and how long they take to sell.

If you’ve got your heart set on a specific building, the data might reveal that units there hardly ever hit the market, saving you time and grief. On the other hand, a building might have a very high number of sales (which should prompt a closer look at why), or prices that have stalled relative to its neighbours.

Here are 8 ways historical data makes you a smarter renter, buyer, investor or seller:

  1. Data is a great starting point
    If you’re just starting your search, looking at price history for buildings and unit types you’re interested in will give you a good understanding of the market before you connect with an agent.

  2. It helps narrow your search
    If you’re interested in a particular neighbourhood, intersection or building, using sold data will help you get a sense of what’s out there and how much it should cost. Use the comparison tool to check the average price per square foot in building A, then compare it to nearby buildings B, C, D and E. At the end of your research, you can decide whether the neighbourhood works for you or not. 

    3. It makes the whole process easier
    In a market where things move fast, inventory is low and decisions have to be made at the drop of a hat, you can’t take a lot of time to think about a property. Educated buyers know what they want and how much it will realistically cost, so they have the confidence to make quick decisions. 

    4. You’re less likely to overpay
    When you know a building’s recent sales history, you’ll also have a sense of what a reasonable asking price should be for the unit you’re looking at. If the price is inflated, you’ll know. 

    5. You won’t fall in love with a property you can’t afford
    Let’s say your budget is $750K, and you see a unit listed at $749K. Take a look at the sold data. If similar units in the same building have sold for well over $750K, the unit you’re considering has probably been listed below its true value, and a bidding war will likely take it out of your price range. 

    6.  Investors can get an idea of performance over time
    Looking at the data can show you which neighbourhoods, buildings and unit types have the highest/fastest appreciation, and which ones could get you the highest returns in the future. 

    7.  Owners can keep track of the value of their property
    People like to have an idea of how much their home is worth, and makes it easy to see what similar units in your building have recently sold for. Plus, if you’re looking to refinance, it will give you a sense of how much you could potentially pull out of your equity. 

    8. Setting a selling price is easier
    Looking at the sales data for your building or neighbourhood will give you an idea of what your place may be worth. If the last sale in your building was $1M, that’s a jumping off point for your agent, who will then dive deeper into the details to help you price your property accordingly.

If you've spent some time exploring the data, but want to know more about the “whys” of the sold prices you’ve seen, talk to an agent. They will be happy to share insight into which buildings and neighbourhoods offer the best value – and which home could be the right one for you.

Ready to start your sales history homework? Simply create a account to access all the info you need to search better and buy smart.

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