I might not be selling my house anytime soon, but I do know a thing or two about taking the road less travelled. Going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route can be a thrilling adventure for those of you who are well-versed in the home-selling saga. Choosing to sell your house without a realtor allows you to bypass the conventional real estate agent, potentially saving you significant commissions and enhancing your profit. But, let’s be honest, flying solo can have its hiccups. Let us unwrap the mysteries of sell your own home on your terms. 

Understanding Private Sales

One of the most enticing aspects of FSBO, or deciding to sell your own home, is the ability to skip the need to pay a listing agent’s commission. However, it’s important to remember that if an agent represents your buyer, you’ll likely still need to cover the buyer’s agent commission, a common scenario when you sell a house without a realtor. For those wondering how to get their property noticed without the expansive network of a real estate agent, the answer might lie in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). By opting for a flat-fee service from a discount brokerage, you can secure a spot on the MLS, ensuring your home gets the visibility it deserves—a vital step in selling a house privately.

Embarking on an FSBO journey or opting to sell a house by owner means taking on all the responsibilities traditionally handled by a real estate agent. This includes everything from fielding offers and negotiating terms to directly communicating with potential buyers and orchestrating various services such as inspections and appraisals, which are essential aspects of selling your house by owner. Selling a home involves numerous intricate steps, many of which are typically managed by an agent. If you’re set on an FSBO listing or committed to the idea of a sale house by owner, it’s crucial to familiarise yourself with the entire process. Here’s a rundown of the general steps you’ll need to take to successfully sell your own home privately in Canada.

Conducting Research

Conducting Research To sell your own home in Canada

Before even considering to sell your own home, thorough research is a critical first step. This foundational phase involves gathering information to accurately assess your home’s value and understanding the various avenues open to you in the sales process. This process, known as a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), involves looking at the listing and selling prices of similar homes nearby to establish a price range for your own. While you can undertake this comparison yourself, enlisting a local real estate agent for a personalised CMA can offer more precision. Bear in mind, though, that agents might offer this service for free with the expectation of delivering a sales pitch. Aim to get a ballpark figure of your home’s worth by examining comparable properties in your neighbourhood.

Further, delve into the current state of your local real estate market to grasp overarching trends. Questions worth exploring include: What’s the average time on the market for homes in your area? Is selling the best option, or could renting out your property be more advantageous? Additionally, consider whether making renovations would substantially enhance your home’s value.

Getting Your Home Ready 

After concluding your preliminary research and deciding to sell your own home, the next critical step is preparing it for the market. Presenting your home in the best possible light is key to attracting buyers and making your listing stand out. Start by decluttering. Remove excess furniture and personal items to create an open, inviting space that allows buyers to envision their future in the home. This might involve storing items offsite or reorganising your current setup. Whether you apply a fresh coat of paint, tidy up the landscaping, or carry out necessary repairs, these enhancements can significantly improve the perception of your home. 

In some cases, investing in renovations could substantially increase your home’s appeal and value. An outdated kitchen, for example, might deter potential buyers, but a well-executed remodel can transform it into a selling point. Even smaller updates, like swapping out old light fixtures, installing a smart thermostat, or adding extra insulation, can refresh your home’s look and feel. To streamline this preparation process, you might opt to hire a professional home stager. Effective staging can make your property more attractive, potentially leading to a quicker sale at a higher price. Additionally, investing in professional photography can capture your home’s best features, making your online listing more engaging and compelling to prospective buyers.

Choosing The Perfect Listing Price

With your home now in pristine condition and ready to hit the market, the next crucial step is setting a listing price, also known as the asking price. While you can choose any number for your listing price, it’s vital to recognise that the price you ask for isn’t necessarily the price a buyer is willing to pay. Conversely, there’s always the possibility that a buyer might offer more than your asking price. If you have a home appraisal done, you can better predict the prices. This will give you an accurate assessment of your home’s market value, allowing you to set your listing price accordingly, close to this appraised value.

Listing Your Home

Reaching the stage you’ve likely been eagerly anticipating, it’s time to officially list your home for sale. Interestingly, you can feature your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) without the need for a traditional real estate agent. This is made possible through the use of discount real estate brokerages that offer flat fee MLS listings, also known as mere postings. Opting for a flat fee MLS listing means a real estate agent from the discount brokerage will place your home on the MLS, but their service stops there. They won’t assist with handling offers or actively seeking out buyers for your home. Their role is limited to listing your property and implementing any changes you request to the listing. You won’t be hit with any real estate commissions when your home sells. The only cost involved is the upfront flat fee for the MLS listing.

Beyond the MLS, there are additional avenues for listing your home. Free property listing websites and classifieds provide platforms for FSBO listings at no cost. You could consider placing an ad on traditional classified sites like Craigslist or Kijiji, or even explore listing your home on eBay or social media channels. While you have a broad range of options for where to list your home, it’s crucial to stay organised and responsive to ensure you don’t overlook any potential buyer inquiries. 

Crafting A Marketing Strategy

Once your home is listed, the real work of attracting buyers begins. Merely having your property on the MLS or a classifieds website isn’t enough to guarantee a lineup of offers. Effective marketing is key to attracting potential buyers and generating buzz around your listing. You can choose from traditional methods like door-to-door canvassing and cold calling to modern strategies involving digital marketing and online advertisements.

Conducting home viewings and open houses is crucial in the selling process, in addition to advertising. While these are typically orchestrated by real estate agents, taking the FSBO route means you’ll be the one showing your home to prospective buyers, effectively becoming your own sales representative. Creating a welcoming and informative viewing experience can significantly influence buyers’ perceptions and increase the likelihood of receiving compelling offers.  

Mastering Negotiations

Mastering in Negotiations during Selling Your Own Home

If you’ve successfully attracted offers from potential buyers, the next crucial phase is negotiation. Without a real estate agent to mediate, you’ll need to step up and advocate for yourself during this process. It’s important that all offers are presented in writing, providing a clear and formal basis for negotiation.

Sealing The Deal

Finally, reaching the closing stage means dealing with a significant amount of paperwork, underscoring the importance of having a lawyer involved. Your lawyer will manage all the necessary documents for selling your home privately and collaborate with other required professionals to ensure everything is in order. If your home was purchased by a buyer who had representation from a buyer’s agent, you’ll need to pay the buyer’s agent commission. Typically, this cost is only half of what it would be if you employed a listing agent, given that real estate commissions are usually divided evenly between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. You can save on this expense by not having a listing agent. Furthermore, if your buyer didn’t use an agent either, your savings on commission fees could be even greater, making the FSBO route financially advantageous in the closing process.

Weighing The Benefits and Drawbacks

Some pros and cons of choosing to sell your home privately are:



Save on real estate commissions, keeping more money in your pocket.

It demands significant time and effort to manage buyer interactions.

Maintain full control over the sale process.

Necessitates conducting thorough research without expert guidance.

Set your own schedule for viewings and open houses.

Responsible for marketing, negotiations, and all communications.

Direct negotiations allow for more transparent communication with buyers.

Potential to undervalue and lose money on the sale.

Personalise your marketing approach to highlight your home’s unique features.

Absence of professional training and experience in real estate.

Options for Listing Your For-Sale-By-Owner Property

There are a range of FSBO listing platforms online where you can list your home and receive various support services to aid in your private sale. These platforms typically charge a flat fee for their services. For instance, PropertyGuys.com is among the largest FSBO websites in Canada. It offers a range of services, from consultancy to specialist advice, and even manages calls and home viewing bookings. The site’s search feature makes it easy for potential buyers to discover your listing.

Additionally, there are brokerages that can directly list your FSBO on the MLS or Realtor.ca. FSBO Realty, for example, provides a service for a $499 flat fee and includes a free-for-sale sign, promising listings in as little as 12 hours. duProprio is another service with flat fees beginning at $700.

Alternative Strategies to Reduce Real Estate Commission Costs

There are other ways to save on commission, such as partnering with discount real estate brokerages or agents. This way, you get the full spectrum of services a real estate agent provides but at a reduced commission rate, offering substantial savings. For instance, Purplebricks operates on this model. It provides all the traditional services you’d expect from a full-service listing agent but charges a flat fee of $3,999 for the listing agent’s commission. Remember, the buyer’s agent commission will still apply. Discount brokerages like One Percent Realty offer another cost-effective solution. They charge just a 1% commission for the listing agent, which does not include the buyer’s agent commission. 

Journey To A Successful Private Sale

Selling your house privately or through For Sale By Owner (FSBO) allows you to save on agent commissions and have more control over the sale. While this route demands thorough preparation, negotiation skills, and an understanding of the closing process, it offers significant financial advantages. Discount real estate brokerages provide professional support at a lower cost for those seeking a compromise. Ultimately, with the right approach and resources, selling your house privately can be a rewarding and cost-effective choice.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a lawyer to sell my house in Canada?

Yes, having a lawyer is crucial when selling a house in Canada to ensure all legal aspects of the sale are correctly handled.

Is it the right time to sell houses in Canada?

The right time to sell a house in Canada varies based on market conditions, so it's advisable to consult current real estate trends.

How much is a lawyer's fee for selling a house in Ontario?

Lawyer fees for selling a house in Ontario typically range from $500 to $1,500, depending on the complexity of the sale.

Do you pay tax when selling a house in Ontario?

In Ontario, you don't pay income tax on the sale of your primary residence, but capital gains tax may apply to investment properties.

How much does it cost to transfer ownership of a house in Ontario?

The cost of transferring ownership of a house in Ontario includes land transfer taxes, which vary based on the home's purchase price and location.