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• GETTING READY TO Sell • Listing Your Home • Marketing Your Home • Close the sale


8. Add a lawyer to your team

When selling, it's important to have a lawyer to handle all the legal documents that change hands. Before you agree to a lawyer, make sure he or she is skilled in real estate, ask how they formulate their fees, and get an estimation of all the legal costs you can anticipate.

You've most likely previously worked with a real estate lawyer
The most reasonable candidate is the lawyer you employed when you purchase your home. He or she is already well-known with the property and may have even prepared the purchase documents. If you were pleased with their work and fees, look no further.

Additional ways to locate a lawyer
Ask the people you trust like friends, family or business associates if they know a lawyer with considerable real estate practice. Royal Lepage Flower City Realty Inc. can also give you the names of several lawyers.

How your lawyer will help with the sale
Your lawyer will review important documents that require your signature. The most important of these is the "offer" submitted by the buyer. You will be legally dedicated to anything you sign, so know exactly what you are agreeing to.

9. Receive an offer
All of your hard work has paid off, but you won't know exactly how much it's paid off until you see the offer. This is an exciting, often touching time, so be ready.

Royal Lepage Flower City Realty Inc. will walk you through the process

• You'll see every offer
Royal Lepage Flower City Realty Inc. will present you every offer that's submitted.

• The buyer's REALTOR® may be there too
He or she represents the buyer's best interest in the negotiation. The buyer will likely not be there, so you can review and respond to their offer without any awkward pressure.

• Your eyes will be right away drawn to the price!
Here's where emotions can really break down. This isn't a poker match, but remains calm. Royal Lepage Flower City Realty Inc. will provide advice before any decisions are made.

• Talk about the offer
You may want to ask your REALTOR® for advice on the merits of the offer. Maybe it's time for a high-five, or maybe it's time to plan your counter offer. You may also wish some private time to discuss things with your partner.

Three options when responding to an offer

• You can accept the offer
You got the price you were hoping for, maybe even more! The closing date looks good and there are no fussy conditions. Sold!

• You can decline the offer
This offer isn't even close.

• You can "sign back" the offer
This offer is close, but something's not quite right. Now the delicate art of negotiation begins, by "signing back".

Reasons why you may want to "sign back"

• You wish for more money
This is certainly the most general reason people "sign back". Everybody wants to get the most for their home, and as the saying goes "if you don't ask, you don't get". Go for it, but don't get too greedy and abuse someone who has made a fair offer.

• You want to alter the time limit
Maybe your buyer wants to move in earlier than you'd like. Maybe you haven't even started looking for a new home! You can "sign back" a negotiation time limit. Possibly the buyer will reimburse you for the problem of living in a motel for a few weeks.

There may be some undesirable conditions on the offer
Conditions are points of argument that must be satisfied in order for the sale to go through. Here are some common ones.

• Buyer to obtain financing
If the buyer doesn't have a credit lined up, he or she will often put in this condition. The sale will only go through if the buyer can get the credit he or she wants.

• Approval to assume mortgage
You have a great mortgage rate on the property and the buyer only wants your home if he or she can also take over your easy payments.

• Sale of purchaser's home
The buyer hasn't sold their current home yet and he or she wants to be sheltered from the cost of owning two properties. You might want to ask their REALTOR® about the other home and its odds of selling soon.

• Property examination
This condition is becoming normal practice. Refusing a home inspection before sale is highly suspicious to a buyer, and may spoil the deal.

The art of counter-offers and conciliation
A successful conciliation is one that leaves both you and the buyer feeling pleased with the result. This is a highly touching time, so be sure to repeatedly "check your head", and ask yourself "How important is this particular detail to me? Am I willing to endanger a sale over this?" Remember once you "sign back" an offer, you are releasing the buyer from their offer and he or she is free to walk away. Your REALTOR® can help you every step of the way.


10. Close the sale
Your discussions were a success. But before your house is truly sold, it's time for the vital final steps known as "closing". Your REALTOR® and lawyer will take care of the many complex and lengthy legal exercises. That's why you hired professionals.

Canada's money laundering reporting requirements
By the time you accept an offer, Royal Lepage Flower City Realty Inc. will also advise you of reporting requirements by FINTRAC, the federal agency responsible for administering Canada's Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing legislation and regulations.

Your REALTOR® is required by federal law to complete a client recognition form, and must ask you as the vendor or seller for verified ID such as a driver's license or passport. You can find out more on the FINTRAC web site at

You still have plenty to do. Your closing checklist should include:

Advise your lawyer that a Contract has been signed. Make sure your lawyer is ready to close the deal

Immediately begin satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part before the set date of completion creeps up on you.

Inform your lawyer and lending institution if the buyer is assuming your credit.

Contact the utilities, telephone and cable companies about relocating or removing service. Your lawyer will often handle the transfer of utilities.

Call your insurance agent and arrange cancellation or transfer of your homeowner's insurance.

Contact a moving company to arrange your move on or prior to closing date.

Send out your change of address notices and advise the post office. Notify the Ministry of Transportation about your new address for driver's license and registration.

Notify your REALTOR® immediately if anything changes about your property or your situation.

Contact with your lawyer
If you plan to "discharge" or pay off your credit with earnings of the sale, your lawyer will obtain a report from your lender showing your outstanding balance on the credit, and any penalties you'll have to pay to pay off the credit.

A few days before closing, your lawyer will ask you to sign the paperwork that enables the title to be transferred to the buyer.

On closing day, your lawyer will receive and distribute the earnings from the sale, pay off your credit and other costs, and give you a cheque for the net proceeds.