Selling a property in Toronto and the GTA: everything you need to know

Selling a property in Toronto and the GTA: everything you need to know

Whether you’re selling your property for the first time or the fourth, it can be a daunting process. With constantly changing market conditions, evolving buyer tastes, and a whole host of other factors, selling a home can get…complicated. That’s why we’ve created this seller’s guide. It’s got everything from tips on choosing a “right fit” REALTOR® to tips and checklists for stress-free showings. 

Check back regularly: this is an evolving resource. We’re always adding information as it comes up so you have what you need to make confident, informed decisions. And, as always, if you have any questions, connect with a agent anytime! 

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Selling your home is a big deal – you want someone who knows what they’re doing to guide you through the process. A full-time, specialist agent with the right skills, expertise, and strategic chops will help you navigate the market and get the best possible price and terms for your property. 

10 characteristics of a great seller's agent

How do you find a REALTOR® that will sell your property – and get you the best results in today’s cooling real estate market? 

Having the right REALTOR® in your corner is important. But “right” can mean different things to different people – so how do you find the right fit? Start by talking to more than one agent. Treat the conversation like an interview, and ask lots of questions. Remember, an agent should be your partner in the selling process, offering reality checks when needed, never pushing you into anything that makes you uncomfortable, and working tirelessly on your behalf. 

Here are some characteristics to look for in a great agent. 

Strong communication skills. Understanding each other is the most important part of your relationship. Is the agent responsive? Do they patiently answer all your questions? Do they use language you understand? Do they ask you questions to really understand your goals? Are they clear, direct and personable? (That can go a long way in negotiations.) 

They tell it like it is. A great agent won’t always agree with you, and that’s okay. While they should certainly listen to what you want and not talk down to you, you’ve hired them for their expertise. So if you’re set on an unrealistic selling price, for example, they will say so. A good agent will take your needs into account, but also ask tough questions and offer alternatives that might work better for your needs. 

Real estate is their full-time job. To get the level of expertise you want and the attention you deserve, opt for someone who puts their whole focus into buying and selling homes. They’ll also probably be more accessible and responsive than someone who is dividing their time. 

They play well with others. Agents need to be patient and unflappable, whether it’s with their own clients or the buyer agents they’re negotiating with. You don’t want someone who gets upset or angry during a tough negotiation or gives you a hard time about changing your mind about something. 

They’re well-connected. They can recommend good lawyers, stagers, designers, and tradespeople. Plus, they know plenty of other agents who may have buyers for your property. 

Good follow-up. After your initial meetings, an agent who is genuinely interested in working with you will follow up with a friendly (and timely) email or call, checking to see if you have any questions. 

Area expertise. All micro-markets have their own characteristics and complexities. If you’re selling in Liberty Village, you want an agent who knows Liberty Village really well and has a good handle on current values in the area to ensure your property is priced right. They’ll also know what buyers in the area are looking for, and will make sure your unit appeals to those buyers and is marketed effectively to the right audience.

Property specialization. Selling a vacation property up north is different than selling a house in the city. And selling a condo is different than selling a semi. Agents who sell a lot of cottages, houses or condos know how to price properties right, market them to highlight their unique benefits, and deal with property-specific legal elements of a sale. Plus, they can recommend trusted professionals who specialize in your property type, too, like condo stagers who know how to turn a cookie-cutter unit into a unique, stylish home. 

There are also niches within those niches: if you’re selling a unit in a building geared towards retirees or in a live/work condo, having an agent who understands the nuances of each of those markets is essential to attracting the right buyers and getting the best price. 

And if you’re looking to resell a pre-construction unit before it’s built, that’s another specialized field with a lot of legal and financial complexities: you definitely want to work with an agent well-versed in assignment sales, who has a good network of buyers and investors looking to pick up pre-con contracts. 

Read more: Ready to sell but don’t have an agent?

What's the difference between a seller's real estate agent and a buyer's agent?

A seller’s agent is someone who is experienced in (you guessed it) selling properties. They know how to price things right, market a unit brilliantly, and negotiate on your behalf. That’s a little different from a buyer’s real estate agent, who focuses more on helping buyers find homes and negotiating to get them the best price and term. Most agents have experience doing both, but not all (some specialize in being buyers’ agents) so be sure to ask.

Wait, can't I just sell my home myself?

You can, but should you? Going the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) route is a huge hassle – one where you’ll spend a lot of time – and could end up leaving a lot of $$ on the table. 

While not paying commission sounds like a great way to save money, before you try to DIY what could be the biggest financial transaction in your life, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Selling a property is A TON of work. Do you have time for marketing, professional photos/videos, advertising on social, open houses, follow up and paperwork? It’s a full-time job in itself. 

FSBO properties tend to sell for less than they would with an agent. While you might save on the seller agent commission, that can be small potatoes compared to what an agent with a solid marketing plan and a strong network can achieve. Plus, if your buyers use an agent, you still have to pay his or her commission. 

You need to really understand real estate. Price too high and your property will sit. Price too low and you could send the wrong signals. 

You need to be a good marketer. 92% of buyers start their search online, and your marketing (staging, styling, photos, virtual tour, social media, videos, etc.) is what makes you stand out. If you don’t stand out, buyers will skip to the next listing. 

Read more: Should I sell my own property? 

2. SELLING 101

7 steps to selling your home

There’s more to selling a condo or house than just putting it on MLS and hoping for the best. Once you’ve chosen an agent you want to work with, here’s an overview of what a typical property sale might look like. 

Step 1: Setting a price

Your agent reviews comparable listings – both for sale and recently sold – to get a sense of the current market value of your property. Then they decide on their pricing strategy. It could be close to market value – or a bit below market to generate interest and attract multiple offers. The strategy depends on what’s happening in the market – right now, demand for properties has cooled, thanks to increasing interest rates. Bidding wars are no longer the norm, and a good agent will know that, and help you set a price that fits the circumstances. 

Step 2: Staging

Spending some extra cash on making the property appeal to buyers is usually worth every penny. It allows them to picture the possibilities of the place…instead of being turned off by your cluttered closet, unusual wall colour, or ugly dining room table. A well-connected agent will have a trusted staging partner or two on call. 

Step 3: Marketing 

The more eyes on your listing, the greater the chances of selling it quickly for the highest possible price. And getting those eyes requires marketing – which includes professional photography, videos, social media, print marketing materials, and possibly some “coming soon” messaging to drum up interest. In a cooling market, great marketing is more important than ever. 

#insidertip Be wary of an agent that just takes pictures on their phone: beautiful, professional photos are the most compelling element in a listing and aren’t something to skimp on. 

Read more: Tips for selling your home for top dollar

Step 3: Your listing hits the market

Your property is listed on MLS, and/or any number of other listing services, there for the world to see (and hopefully, buy). People will start booking showings to come and take a look. 

Step 4: Offers

Depending on what you and your agent have decided is the best strategy, you can either accept offers as they come in or set an offer day and review them all then – though offer days are more common in a hotter market than the one we’re in now. 

Step 5: Negotiation

Your agent’s job is to get you the best price and terms for your property: if offers come in that are lower than what you were hoping for or with terms you’re not comfortable with, you can either reject them or respond with counteroffers. 

Step 6: You accept an offer 

Once you’ve said yes to an offer, the buyers will give you a deposit. That seals the deal, putting you under contract with the buyers. Neither party can back out without penalties unless you both agree. 

Step 7: Closing day 

This is the day the sale is official: the buyers’ lawyer transfers the funds to your lawyer, you hand over the keys and vacate the property…moving on to bigger (or smaller) and better digs. 

Read more: 13 mistakes for sellers to avoid

Buying or selling: what comes first?

What’s better, selling your current home before you buy a new one? Or finding your next place first and then selling? Short answer: it depends. 

Ultimately, your decision will depend on two things: market dynamics and your personal situation. Your best bet is to time the sale and purchase so they happen on the same closing date. 

Buying first

Pro: You can take your time to find the perfect place

Con: If your property doesn’t sell fast, you could end up carrying two properties

In a sellers’ market like the one we were in early 2022, buying first can be a good idea. When supply is limited and demand is high, you can probably sell pretty fast, but finding the right place can take a while. Having to buy within a specific time frame adds a lot of pressure. 

Once you’ve found your new place, you can sell your current one and negotiate closing dates that work for you. But if you do face a gap where your closing dates don’t line up, bridge financing is an option – talk to your lender or mortgage broker early in the process if you think you might need it. 

Related info: Bridge financing explained

Selling first

Pro: You know exactly how much you can spend on a new place

Con: You have to find your next place before the first one closes...or move twice 

Selling first means you know exactly how much money you have to work with for your purchase, which is great – there’s no guesswork involved. But it also means you’ll have to find a new place before the sale closes, which can be tough in a low-inventory market. If the timing doesn’t work, you may have to find a temporary place to live. 

A knowledgeable REALTOR can help you navigate the complexity, factoring in area, housing type, and market status to help you make a decision that's right for you.

Who pays agents' commissions?

When a property is sold, how do the agents get paid? The seller pays the real estate commission, which is split evenly between the buyer agent and the seller agent. In Toronto and the GTA, the typical real estate commission is 5% of the selling price, half of which goes to each agent. All marketing and business expenses are included in the commission. 

Read more: Real estate commissions explained

How does the real estate commission get paid out? 

As the seller, you don't pay your agent directly. Once the sale closes and the buyer takes possession, you provide payment to your real estate lawyer, who transfers the funds to the listing brokerage. The brokerage then pays both agents – while taking a percentage for brokerage operations. (The amount depends on the brokerage and the agent.)

The cost of selling

When you’re selling your property, you’re probably focused on what you can get for it. But it’s also important to think about what you have to pay to make that happen. 

So what does it cost to sell a property in Toronto and the GTA? Let’s say you sell for $900,000. With that amount in mind, here’s a breakdown of your costs: 

What's an assignment sale?

An assignment is when the original buyer of a pre-construction property (who signed a contract with the builder) sells their contract to someone else before the purchase closes. Essentially, the buyer takes over for the seller in the contract and pays the deposit plus appreciated value/profit. 

Assignments happen for a number of reasons. Life changes are a big motivator – a lot can happen in the three to four years it takes to get from initial deposit to ownership. People decide to leave Toronto. They have babies, they get married, they get divorced. Some face financial difficulties that make them unable to close. 

Or they’re investors who never intended to close on the property in the first place. A popular investment strategy is to buy in an early release, let the property appreciate, then sell it before  having to shell out transfer taxes and HST and getting locked into a mortgage. (Though the rules around that are changing, so before investing in a pre-con unit, it’s good to know where you stand.)

The pros and cons of assignment sales


  • If you’re an investor, you can cash in on the profits before the project is completed. Getting cash out earlier means you can reinvest faster.

  • You may avoid paying land transfer taxes and other closing costs. 

  • You don’t have to deal with closing, occupancy, or tenants.

  • If your life situation changes, you can walk away without penalties (and some profit). 


  • It’s harder to sell an assignment than a traditional resale: the rules around marketing are different than for resales, and the pool of buyers is smaller.  

  • There are limits around when you can sell: a certain percentage of the project has to be sold before a developer will allow it. 

  • Not all builders allow assignments, and even if they do, they can refuse the sale. 

  • Greater complexity means higher legal fees.

An experienced agent is a must-have

REALTORS who understand assignments can help you navigate the complexity of this type of transaction. And they will help you market it, despite any limitations that might be imposed by the builder: they can leverage their networks to spread the word about available units, find interested buyers and connect the two. 

Assignments can be daunting, but with a good lawyer and a knowledgeable agent, they can be a great financial move, helping you profit on your purchase before it closes.

10 big mistakes for sellers to avoid

The biggest real estate mistakes Toronto sellers can make – and some tips on how to avoid them. 

1. Comparing the market we’re in now to the market we were in a year ago. As interest rate hikes have slowed things down, buyers have stepped back, and bidding wars and offers over asking are no longer the norm. To get a realistic idea of how to price, check what has sold recently in your neighbourhood or building. Here’s an easy way to do that.

2. Not doing your due diligence when choosing an agent. To sell a property in this market, you need a skilled REALTOR® who knows how to market a property well to get it noticed by as many potential buyers as possible. Your best bet is someone who works in real estate full-time, really understands the market, and has great reviews/testimonials. 

3. Not understanding the cost of selling. From fixing things up to paying for storage to factoring in your agent's commission, going into a sale with a realistic budget can help you avoid unpleasant surprises.

4. Trying to sell it yourself. Selling a property, especially in a slow market, takes skills most homeowners don't have. You have to be a smart marketer, savvy pricing strategist, good negotiator, and have the mix of people skills and nerve to know how to get the best price without alienating buyers.

5. Using a discount brokerage. Discount brokerages charge less because they offer less. They make their money by focusing on volume, not high-touch service. Unlike a full-service brokerage, they don’t usually offer cleaning or staging support, professional photography, or comprehensive marketing. 

6. Not cleaning/decluttering. Nothing will turn off potential buyers faster than a dirty or cluttered space. Clean everything until it shines, deep clean carpets, banish pet hair, and make sure unpleasant odours like litter boxes, smoke, and food smells are gone. 

7. Not fixing what needs to be fixed. Some of the smallest fixes can get you a surprisingly big return. So recaulk the shower, fix that leaky faucet, repair chipped paint, and replace the cracked toilet.

8. Skipping the staging. People are attracted to listings that show a home at its very best. Anything less may put people off even coming to see the place – and it will certainly impact how much they’ll offer.

9. Not using professional photos. Great photos are EVERYTHING in a real estate listing. If you pass on those, you’ll also be passing on a lot of potential buyers who can’t see past the not-so-great pics.

10. Limiting showings. Yes, it’s a hassle to have people traipsing through your home constantly, and a giant pain to keep it clean while you’re living there. But when you say no to showings or tell buyers’ agents that viewings can only happen on certain days, you’re limiting the number of potential buyers – and your chances of getting a good offer. 

Ultimately, selling your home is about having good information and guidance – and making it as appealing as possible to the greatest number of buyers. Connect with us to see how we can help you do just that


Price, presentation, promotion: what sellers need to know right now

1. Pricing: get the number right 

See what has sold recently in your area and do a close comparison. And by recent, we mean days and weeks, not months. The market has been really up and down lately with the current economy and all the rate announcements, so be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Your agent can help you narrow things down.

Pricing strategy matters in this market. When the market was super-hot, underpricing a home encouraged a bidding war, but doing that now isn’t a guarantee of success. These days, only specific types of homes – unique, renovated, in great locations, with great views on high floors, etc. – are likely to garner that kind of attention. 

2. Presentation: dial up the appeal 

“If you want to do well right now, your property needs to be a 10/10,” says Josh Benoliel, VP of Sales, Inc. Brokerage. “As more listings hit the market this spring, buyers will have more to choose from – and they gravitate towards the showcase-ready homes.” 

Fix everything that needs to be fixed, ensure everything is spic and span (including the exterior), update the lighting and be willing to spend some money on staging.

3: Promotion: market the heck out of it

The more people see your listing, the better, so find an agent who will get it in front of as many eyes as possible. Todd’s top tip: work with a agent – your listing will automatically be featured on and/or, high-traffic sites that’ll get you amazing exposure. 

Ready to jump into the spring market? Get started by researching sold prices in your area on (condos) or (all properties)

What are days on market (DOM) and why should I care?

Days on market (DOM) is the length of time from when a property is first listed to when an offer is accepted and a contract signed.

DOM in a buyers’ market

When the market is slower, properties naturally take longer to sell, so a higher DOM is often to be expected. So when there are more available listings than interested buyers, DOM is generally higher. 

DOM in a sellers’ market

Strong demand and low inventory mean homes get snapped up fast and for top dollar. There are a few reasons why a property might not sell quickly in a sellers’ market: it’s overpriced, in poor condition, in an unfavourable location, or it has unusually high maintenance fees. The longer it sits without selling compared to similar properties, the less likely buyers are to make an offer at or above asking price, or in some cases, to make an offer at all.

But whatever the market, there’s no hard and fast rule for how many days is too many. It really depends on your area, the property type, how it measures up to other homes in the area, what time of year it is, and what’s happening in the market. Your agent can help you figure all of that out. 

Keep your DOM low by pricing right the first time 

If your asking price is too high, and you refuse to adjust relatively quickly, your listings will be old news fast, and won’t sell for what it’s actually worth. A good agent will help you price strategically and counsel you on an asking price that will generate the greatest interest. 

Access DOM info and other useful search tools on 

Sign up for access to sold history, demographic info, comparison tools, listing alerts and more.

Sellers' market vs. buyers' market: what's the difference?

What’s a buyers' market?

It's when there are more properties for sale than there are interested buyers. With less competition, prices drop, properties stay on the market longer, buyers can stipulate conditions, and sellers have to do a lot more in the way of marketing, staging etc. to attract buyers – and be willing to negotiate to make a sale happen. 

5 things you'll typically see in a buyers' market: 

  1. Lower/more competitive prices

  2. Offers under asking

  3. Fewer offers

  4. Conditional offers

  5. Longer time on the market

What’s a sellers' market?

It's when there are more buyers than available properties. When supply is low, competition ramps up. Properties sell faster, for higher prices, and buyers are willing to do more (foregoing conditions, agreeing to shorter closing dates, offering more money and accepting properties “as is”) when they're competing with other bidders. 

5 things you'll typically see in a sellers' market: 

  1. Higher prices

  2. Fewer listings

  3. Bidding wars/multiple-offer situations

  4. Offer dates

  5. Sellers turning down offers at (or even above) their asking price

Remember: markets differ from neighbourhood to neighbourhood

Toronto isn’t one market. It’s actually a  series of micro-markets that all behave very differently. So it’s very possible for some neighbourhoods to be in buyers’ territory while others favour sellers. And things can differ based on property type, too – whether you’re selling a condo, a house or a townhouse can make a big difference in demand. A little research and a knowledgeable agent will help you figure out where things stand in your area. 

If you're a seller in a buyers' market, don't panic. 

Don't sell if you don't have to, but if you do need to move, you can still get a good price by making your property stand out with great staging and marketing. You’ll probably have to adjust your expectations about what you can get for your property: be open to reasonable offers. And get advice from your REALTOR to come up with a strategy that works for this climate. 

If you're a seller in a sellers' market, you're in the driver's seat.

A good sales strategy will likely net you a great selling price without conditions. But that doesn't mean you should sit back and do nothing – good marketing and an agent with strong negotiating skills can help build interest in your property and maximize the price you can sell it for. 

Selling in a buyers’ market: 6 tips for success

Rising interest rates have cooled buyer demand in a big way. If you’re planning to sell soon, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

1. Adjust your expectations. 

For most areas, the days of multiple, way-over-asking offers are over. Talk to your agent to determine a price that will work for today’s buyers – and for you. Research recent sales in your neighbourhood to arrive at a price buyers may be more willing to pay. Also, be realistic about timing. While there are certain properties that will always be in high demand (the ones with the best views, layouts and locations) the less “special” listings will inevitably take longer to sell. 

2. Make your property super-appealing. 

Focus on outshining the competition and making buyers fall in love with your property. Professional staging with neutral colours and modern furnishings opens buyers’ eyes to the possibilities of a space. 

3. Market the heck out of it. 

Do everything you can to get noticed: professionally shot photos, 3D tours, listing videos, direct mail, newsletters to relevant buyers, printed feature sheets and brochures, targeted advertising, social media content and more. 

4. Get feedback. 

When potential buyers come for viewings but don’t make an offer, ensure your agent contacts them to find out why. It will help you get a better understanding of what buyers in your area or price range are looking for. 

5. Remember that you’re a buyer, too.

While you may get less for your home than you would have a few months ago when you sell, you’ll also probably pay less for what you buy – and you won’t have to compete with dozens of other buyers and completely destroy your budget to get a place. 

6. Don’t immediately reject a lower offer

Those buyers might just be feeling you out to see if you’ll negotiate,” says Sean Miller, Sales Representative. “It’s the job of your listing agent to feel out the other side and see if that offer is a starting number or their best and final. If they’re just throwing numbers around to see if something will stick, that means there may be room for negotiation.” 

Read more: What do I do if I get a lowball offer? 

Want to see what properties in your area have sold for? Here’s how to search recently sold listings.

Why isn’t my home selling? 

You’ve put your home on the market, you’re all excited about making your next move…and you getting crickets. If the showing requests aren’t coming fast and furious, and nobody is making offers, there’s probably a reason (or reasons) why things have stalled. 

1. The problem: the price is too high

Sellers are simply not getting the high prices and quick sales we saw at the height of the market.

The fix: drop the price

Take a close look at what similar properties have sold for in your area recently (here’s how), and price your home in line with those numbers. 


2. The problem: you’re impatient

It’s been two weeks and you haven’t had an offer. Does that mean the place won’t sell?

The fix: give it some time

Properties are taking longer to sell these days. Check how long comparable listings in your area are taking, and use that as your baseline. 


3. The problem: you aren’t motivated enough

You don’t really NEED to sell, so you aren’t doing everything you can to appeal to buyers. 

The fix: commit 

Put 100% into selling – or take your place off the market until it’s a higher priority.


4. The problem: there’s something buyers don’t like

You’ve had lots of showings, but nobody’s biting. 

The fix: identify the issue

Your agent should ask buyers’ agents why their clients aren’t interested. If several people mention the same thing (outdated bathrooms, stained carpets, poor lighting),it’s worth fixing. 


5. The problem: your property is unusual or unconventional

High-end properties, homes overlooking a highway, or ones with quirky features aren’t for everyone. 

The fix: patience and a great marketing strategy

A good agent knows how to get the attention of people who would be interested in an unusual property. 


6. The problem: you didn’t stage

In a market where buyers expect spaces to look their absolute best, your place shows up as…meh. 

The fix: stage it

Yes, it’s an expense, and probably not a small one. But it’s money well spent. 


7. The problem: bad photos

A few low-res pics aren’t going to impress anyone. Buyers look online first, and your listing has to be great to convince them it’s worth a visit. 

The fix: hire a professional photographer

A good photographer can make even an okay space look amazing with good lighting and camera angles. (BTW, all Inc. agents have access to our team of professional photographers who really know how to make a place look spacious and inviting.) 


8. The problem: your marketing isn’t cutting it

The listing description is boring, photos are sub-par, and exposure is limited to an MLS listing and a for-sale sign. 

The fix: an agent who’s a marketing whiz

Hire an agent who knows how to get the right people excited about your property with slick photography, staging, digital tools like 3D tours and videos, social media, listing on multiple websites, and more. 


9. The problem: you’re working with the wrong agent 

Your agent isn’t working closely with you on pricing, recommending improvements, pushing hard to find buyers, and marketing the heck out of your listing. 

The fix: hire a great agent

With the right agent, most of the problems in this list wouldn’t be problems in the first place. If you’re looking for a great seller agent, get in touch, and we’ll connect you with an expert who specializes in your area!  


Pricing your property can make or break a sale. A good agent will know how to price strategically based on a number of considerations.

Setting the right price: 6 key factors

How do you decide on a number? Here’s a list of things agents think about when coming up with a pricing strategy. 

Comparable sales. What have similar properties sold for recently in the area or the building? If a floor plan similar to yours has sold in the last few weeks, that selling price is a good starting point for what buyers would be willing to pay for yours. But agents don’t just look at sold prices. They look at current listings to see what other sellers are hoping to get – and expired listings, too, which give them a sense of which homes didn’t sell because they were priced wrong or marketed badly. 

Upgrades and renos. While it’s easy to compare two similar floor plans, you also have to look at any improvements that have been done to the unit. If your place has premium hardwood flooring and a brand new kitchen and the last sale had builder-grade everything, yours should be priced higher. Same thing applies the other way around: you can’t compare your unrenovated 15-year-old unit to one that has been fully redone. 

Market conditions. What’s happening in Toronto real estate will definitely impact how much you can sell your place for. A good agent will always be up on the state of the market so they can advise you accurately. 

Read more: Your definitive guide to the Toronto and GTA housing market 

Parking and locker. Having a parking spot and storage space can amp up your property value pretty significantly. 

Outdoor space. After being cooped up in our homes for so long during the pandemic, outdoor space is in huge demand: a unit with a balcony or terrace will almost certainly fetch more than a similar one without an outdoor area. 

Neighbourhood and building rep. Great schools, parks, restaurants and amenities will impact price too – as will a well-managed condo built by a reputable developer. 

2 pricing strategies to choose from
The one you go with will depend on market conditions in your area and your own comfort level.  

Option 1: List slightly above market value

This is the method we all knew and loved before the housing market went bananas. It’s very civilized: you list at a slightly inflated price to leave room for negotiation, buyers come back with an offer that’s slightly lower (but actually what you wanted) and everyone leaves happy. 

Your agent will be able to guide you through a pricing strategy that makes sense for your specific property and location.

Option 2: List below market value to attract multiple offers

In a strong sellers’ market where there are more interested buyers than available properties, competition can be fierce. This strategy takes advantage of that competitive landscape. 

By pricing low, you grab the attention of more buyers. Then you set a date when you’re accepting offers (generally about a week after the listing goes live) and review all of them at the same time. When buyers know there are other offers on the table, they are likely to offer more and drive up the price. 

This can be effective, but it can also be risky. Setting an offer date doesn’t guarantee multiple offers. If you only get one – or none – your property won’t sell, and you’ll likely have to relist at a higher price. Then you run the risk of your listing getting stale and sitting on the market. 

Read more: what is an offer date? 

How condo price history informs your pricing strategy

It’s easy to get a sense of what you could get for your home – even before you talk to an agent. and have a super-useful feature that allows you to check prices of recently sold properties in your building, your neighbourhood – or anywhere in the GTA. 

To see what properties in a specific area have sold for, simply search the same way you would for a for sale/for rent listing – then toggle the button at the top from “For Sale” to “Sold” or “For Rent” to “Rented.” 

You can filter by time period to see prices from the last 24 hours, the last 3 months, the last year, etc. And you can narrow your search by number of bedrooms, square footage, building type, days on market, amenities, outdoor space, etc., so you can be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. You can even use the comparison tool to see all the property features side by side. 

How to see sold prices in a specific building

Want to see what units in a certain building have been selling for? Simply go into the building page (you can search it or click on the building name in any listing to get there) and scroll down to “Price History.” 

Curious? Try searching for sold properties in your area now. (You’ll need to sign up for a free account to access sold history and other subscriber features.)


You want buyers to fall in love as soon as they walk in the door – and see the full value of your home right away. And that means making it look its absolute best: sparkling clean, well-maintained, uncluttered and beautiful. A good agent will make recommendations for improvements, decor and staging – and will have a network of dependable stagers, movers, storage companies, cleaners and contractors to help you get your property looking amazing. 

Here are some helpful tips to amp up buyer appeal – and inspire love at first sight. 

10 tips for getting your home buyer-ready

  1. Declutter. If buyers can’t see past your stuff, they won’t be able to picture themselves living there. And even if your home is spotless, clutter can make it look like it’s not. 

  2. Deep clean. Whether you do it yourself or hire a cleaner (the pros are worth every penny), ensure your home is super-clean. 

  3. Make small but impactful upgrades. Tackle loose floorboards, broken handles and leaky faucets. Replace old carpet with laminate or hardwood. Roll on a fresh coat of paint. Replace cabinet handles and doorknobs with something more up-to-date. 

  4. Put the personal stuff in storage. When you want people to imagine themselves living there, pictures of your wedding day or your kid’s graduation definitely won’t help them do that. 

  5. Focus on curb appeal. Make a great first impression by making the outside of your home look inviting. If you’re selling a condo, you can still focus on the exterior by ensuring the door to your place is clean, the hallway vacuumed, and that your unit number is clean and shiny. 

  6. Stick to neutrals. Repaint with a fresh, neutral colour (think whites or greys). You want buyers to visualize themselves living there, and the cleaner the canvas, the easier that will be. 

  7. Get strategic with the lighting. Make sure your home is well-lit with warm yellow bulbs (blue can feel cold and stark) and layer in lamps to make things feel cozy and appealing.

  8. Stage your space. Buyers spend more on staged properties: professional staging is an investment that can boost your selling price dramatically. 

  9. Make your home smell nice. Banish cooking smells, deodorize pet bedding, and try a quick spritz with lemon or vanilla as a refresher before showings. Avoid anything that’s heavily perfumed though – that can put off buyers with sensitive noses. 

  10. Don’t forget the home office! These days, many buyers are looking for a home that has a great office space. The most recent staging trend, especially in condos, is to set up the second bedroom as an inviting office. 

Read more: 9 steps to boost your home’s appeal and make it a property buyers want

Do I have to stage my property?

You don’t have to, but the benefits of doing so can be big. Bringing in a pro to maximize the appeal of your space can make a huge difference in the number and quality of the offers you get. 

Typically, when your home is staged, it’s repainted, decorated and even refurnished to show off its best features. So instead of being distracted by a big couch that makes your living room look cramped, or by the heavy curtains hiding your beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows, staging lets your space really shine. 

Staging is especially important if your property is vacant: looking at an empty space makes it hard for buyers to get a sense of how their own furniture will fit – or how much space there will be once they’ve moved in. 


The importance of great marketing

The more people see (and love) your listing, the higher the chances of selling for a great price. And the best way to get their eyes on your listing? Marketing! 

But there’s a lot more to marketing your home than taking a couple of pictures and throwing them up on MLS. Good marketing means actively promoting your property with professional photos, virtual tours, 3D floor plans, appealing print materials, websites, social media and more. These days, online marketing is more important than ever: most buyers start their search online. If you don’t have great pics and videos to help them choose, they may pass you by. 

When you’re talking to your agent, ask how they’ll market your property: the stronger the marketing strategy, the better your chances of selling fast and for top dollar. 

#insidertip: Great online exposure makes your marketing work harder 

Marketing isn’t just about great photos and 3D tours – it’s about where you put them so the most buyers can find them. Access to buyers starts with top sites like, which has a database of over a million users. That’s a lot of reach – and a ton of exposure. 


Once your property is prepped and the marketing materials are ready, this is where it starts to feel real. The next step is to list your home – and start bringing people in for showings. 

A good agent will activate your listing on MLS,,, their own website and any other appropriate listing platform. They’ll promote it to the buyer agents in their network and start booking showings. You’ll need to leave your home whenever a showing is booked, and make sure it’s in pristine shape, with beds made, dishes put away and no clutter anywhere. 

Feel free to print out this handy checklist as a reminder:


What is an offer?

Also known as an “Agreement of Purchase or Sale,” an offer is a written contract submitted by potential buyers outlining the following: 

  1. The price they’re willing to pay

  2. Details about their deposit 

  3. Closing date

  4. Irrevocable time and date (your deadline for responding) 

  5. Any conditions, inclusions or exclusions

What to do when you get an offer?

Once a potential buyer submits an offer to buy your property, you and your agent will review it together. At that point, you have 3 choices: 

  • Accept it. Saying yes will make the offer a legally binding contract that can only be cancelled if both parties agree. 

  • Make a counter offer. If the price isn’t high enough or you don’t like certain terms or conditions, you can come back to them with changes. 

  • Reject it. You are under no obligation to say yes to any offer, even if it meets or is higher than your asking price. 

The counter offer: how to negotiate the best deal

If an offer isn’t what you were hoping for, but you don’t want to reject it outright, you can start negotiations with a counter offer. The buyer will say yes, no, or come back with their own counter offer. There’s really no limit to how many times this can happen: you keep going until both sides are happy or someone decides to walk away.

3 ground rules for successful negotiation

  • Be informed. Don’t go in expecting $100K over asking if a similar unit in your building or a comparable house down the street just sold for below your asking price. A good agent will give you a realistic picture of how much you can get. 

  • Don’t play games with buyers. Be careful with how you treat them – trying to buy a home is an emotional experience, and if you behave badly, you’ll lose them. 

  • Pick an agent that’s a proven negotiator. A pro who understands just how far to nudge buyers before losing them, has an arsenal of negotiation tactics and knows how to convince them of the value of the property – that’s a powerful ally to have in your corner. 

What should I expect if there are multiple offers?

If your agent thinks your home is likely to get more than one offer, they will likely suggest that you only accept offers on a certain day. That way, instead of looking at them as they come in and wondering if someone else would offer more down the line, you can compare all of them at once. This is a strategy that makes more sense in a high-demand market where it’s likely that you’ll have multiple buyers interested in your property. 

Your agent will field all offers and questions from prospective buyers, and once the deadline for submitting them has passed, present them to you. Together, you’ll decide if there’s one you want to accept or counter. If two or more of your highest offers are very close to each other, you may want to give those bidders another chance to improve, or you can counter their offers with a specific amount. 

What if I get a bully offer?

Buyers frustrated with losing multiple bidding wars may make bully offers, also known as a bully bid or pre-emptive offer. It’s when a buyer makes an offer before offer day, jumping the line with a firm bid that’s well above asking. The hope is that you will say yes because it's a particularly attractive offer, and because it’s easier for you to deal with than multiple showings and a storm of offers on the offer date. 

But how do you know you won’t do better on offer day? Well really, you don’t. Your best bet is to keep a close eye on what similar units are selling for. Sometimes a bully offer is the best price you'll get – but sometimes it's not, and having up-to-the-minute market knowledge can help you guess what kinds of offers might be waiting in the wings.

You also want to be sure that if you are accepting a bully bid, that it’s firm and sure to close. And, of course, lean on your agent for their insight – they’ve probably got plenty of experience with bully offers and bidding wars, and will be able to advise you on the right move. 

What if I get a lowball offer? 

When you’ve got an offer that’s way under asking, here’s what you need to think about. 

If you’re like many people, you might simply reject it outright. And that’s certainly your prerogative. But even a very low offer can be negotiated: consider it a starting point in a longer conversation. Don’t be insulted by it. If you don’t have a better offer on the table, make a counteroffer. It can’t hurt, and ultimately, you really never know where it could go. 

For one thing, that lowball could be a cultural thing: starting low is a completely accepted practice in many countries, and bargaining is expected. 

And in a market like this where there aren’t that many buyers and sellers are motivated? Those buyers might just be trying to see how motivated you actually are. It’s the job of your listing agent to “feel out” the other side and see if that offer is a starting number or if it's their best and final, and get a sense of how interested they are in the place. If they’re just throwing numbers around to see if something will stick, that means there may be room for negotiation. 

“I think that in this current market, we’re going to be seeing a lot more low offers, more negotiating and back and forth,” says Sean Miller, Sales Representative. “More supply will come on the market as people coming up for mortgage renewal have to sell, and buyers will have even more to choose from. So make sure you have a strong agent on your side who knows how to negotiate and will really fight for you.”

What happens once I've accepted an offer?

You’ve gotten an offer you like…yay! So what’s next? 

The buyer pays the deposit. Typically, the deposit is 5% of the purchase price (though it can be more), and demonstrates that they’re financially capable and ready to commit. It must be submitted within 24 hours of you accepting the offer. The funds are then deposited in an account held in trust by your agent’s brokerage, and will go towards the down payment once the deal closes. 

You have to ensure conditions are met. If you accepted an offer that’s conditional on, say, something being repaired in the unit, that needs to happen before you close. However, conditions can be waived with written notification if both parties agree. 

Buyers can visit twice before closing day. They can come in once to take measurements, figure out where they’re going to put furniture and plan their move. Then they visit a second time, just before closing day, to do a walk-through and ensure the unit is in the same condition it was when they first saw it. 

You’ll meet with your lawyer. Once everything is ready for closing day, you’ll work with your lawyer to sign all the paperwork necessary to close the deal and transfer ownership to the buyer. 

Closing day. This is the final step in your sale — the day the new owner takes possession and the payment is transferred to you. Drop off the keys with your lawyer, and you’re done! 

Closing day checklist for sellers

  • Cancel your home insurance. Don’t do this before the sale has closed to keep yourself protected. If you’re moving out more than 30 days before the new owner takes possession, your insurer will want to know it’s vacant. 

  • Have all your utility meters read. By doing that on closing day, you’ll know exactly what you’re responsible for paying, and what the buyer should pay starting on the day they take possession. And cancel any pre-authorized home-related payments, too, so they don’t end up going through after you've moved out. 

  • Be out by 5:00pm at the latest. The deal closes by the end of business day, and that’s when the buyer takes possession. 


Ask a tax expert: do I have to pay tax when I sell my house or condo?

CPA Nicholas Carriere from Chaggares & Bonhomme CPAs talks about the taxes you may be subject to when you sell.

Q: Do I have to pay tax when I sell? 

A: That depends on one key thing: whether you're selling your principal residence or an additional property. A principal residence (also known as a primary or main residence) is the home you live in most of the time. You can only deem one residence as your principal residence for a tax year.

When you sell a principal residence, you don't get taxed on the capital gains (the amount you've earned as the property has appreciated in value over time). However, you are still required to report the sale on your personal taxes in the year of the sale and indicate that it was your principal residence. If you own multiple properties, you can choose which one to designate as your principal residence: only one property can be sheltered for a specific tax year. 

Selling a property that ISN’T your principal residence – whether that's a vacation home, a house you rent out or a condo you bought for a family member to live in – is a whole different ballgame. For any property beyond your principal residence, you will be taxed on 50% of your capital gains when you sell. 

Q: How much tax will I end up paying on my capital gains?

A: It depends on your tax bracket. 50% of the capital gain gets added to your income (taxable capital gain) in the year you sold the property, which is likely to push you into a higher tax bracket than you’d normally be in. 

To minimize how much tax you pay, be sure to claim any improvements that have added to the total cost of the property. If, for example, you bought a backyard shed or did a kitchen reno, those costs can be added to the cost of the home and will help reduce the capital gain. Let’s say you bought a place for $750K, put in $250K worth of renos, then sold it for $1.25M. Because of those renos, your capital gains will only be $250K, and you would be taxed on $125K (50% of the total gain gets taxed) at your marginal tax rate.

Q: Are there any situations in which I WOULDN’T get a capital gains exemption on my principal residence? 

A: If you’re a flipper who buys, renovates and sells properties quickly, you may not be exempt from those taxes. According to the CRA, you have to show that you intended to live in the property, usually with the address on your driver’s license or utility bills, and that you ended up selling the property due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. your family or work life changed).


Agreement of Purchase or Sale. A written contract between buyer and seller for the purchase of a property. It outlines everything from the agreed-upon purchase price and closing date to any conditions that need to be met by either party to satisfy the terms of the deal. 

Assessment. The value of a property as set by the city: it determines how much property tax you need to pay each year. However, what the city says your property is worth can be very different from its market value: homes are only re-assessed by the city every few years, but market value can change dramatically from month to month. 

Chattels and fixtures. Items that are physically attached to the structure (appliances, light fixtures, etc.) that are included in the purchase price unless otherwise stated. 

Closing costs. What you’ll pay above and beyond the final price of a property: it includes things like legal fees and land transfer taxes, which are payable on the closing date. 

Common elements. Your unit is your property, but everything that’s shared is considered a common element. Jointly owned by all owners, they include things like the gym, lobby, lounges, pool, elevators, parking garage, hallways, the roof, etc. 

Conditional vs. firm offer. A conditional offer is one that’s subject to conditions such as loan approval or an inspection. A firm offer has no conditions. 

Conditions. These are clauses that can be either fulfilled or waived by an agreed-upon time for the sale to be finalized. Common conditions include the purchaser being able to arrange financing, having the home inspected, and status certificate review. 

Deposit. Once the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (offer) has been accepted by the seller, the buyer pays a deposit that shows they are serious about the purchase. It’s held by a third party until the closing date, at which point it's applied to the buyer’s down payment.

Final closing. The title of the property is transferred to the new owner and they can move in.

Irrevocable time. The time at which the offer expires if it’s not accepted by the seller, and the buyer is no longer committed. 

Listing agreement. A contract that commits you to working with your REALTOR’s brokerage for a specified period of time, and allows them to act on your behalf to list, market and sell your property. 

Offer/counteroffer. An offer is a legally binding agreement between the buyer and the seller. It includes the offer price, inclusions, exclusions, the financial conditions of sale (your financing arrangements, closing date, etc.). A seller can accept or reject an offer, and either party can make a counteroffer, in writing, during negotiations. 

Status certificate. A document that details the operational, legal and financial status of the condo corporation, and shows any legal filings or judgments. It outlines the health of the reserve fund, an account that’s in place to cover big expenses including repairs to common elements like the roof, windows, HVAC, etc. Your agent will share it with potential buyers.

For more definitions, read our comprehensive Glossary of real estate terms 

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