If you’ve got a question that’s on your mind, have a look through our FAQs below, or reach out to us directly here.
Are you sitting down for this? When buying a house in Toronto typically, a deposit of 5% of the purchase price is required. For example, if you are considering a $1,000,000 home, you would need $50,000 readily available to make the deposit. Don’t worry, that money is put to go use… it’s part of your total down payment.
Depending on the situation, the deposit will either be required “herewith” (meaning with your offer submission) or “upon acceptance” (within 24 hours after an agreement is reached).
Funds should be readily available in an account. And by ready we mean, not locked away in your RRSP or TSAF account.
Pro-tip: if you bank with PC Financial or another online institution, you should transfer funds to another account where you can obtain a bank draft immediately, if needed. We’ve seen situations where a buyer has lost out on a property because their bank required 2 business days to transfer funds.
Yes, but we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. This will depend on the circumstances and details surrounding the situation.
If you have an offer to purchase a property that is conditional, for example on financing approval, your deposit would be returned to you if you’re unable to fulfill the condition provided you’re acting in good faith.
If, however, you’ve submitted a firm offer to purchase and are unable to close, you will be at risk of forfeiting your deposit and possible further litigation.
You’ll hear this term used often in your real estate journey. And it’s one that will make your mortgage lender and lawyer cringe.
Essentially, a firm offer is one with no conditions. No financing, no inspection…no backing out. If the Sellers accept your firm offer to purchase, you are committed.
The reality of buying a home in Toronto means that you may be in a situation where a firm offer is needed, but before venturing into that territory we’ll explain the risks, review your options and determine if this is something that is right for you.
In the Toronto real estate market, it is common for offer presentations to be held on a specific date – usually about a week after the property is listed for sale. A bully offer (also known as a pre-emptive offer) is one that is presented to the Seller before the specified offer date in the hopes of avoiding the ‘bidding war’ scenario.
What makes a ‘good’ bully offer? Generally speaking, a firm offer at a price that is enticing enough to make the Seller alter their plans to wait for the original offer date.
We’re here to guide you through and determine if a bully offer is right for you.
Let’s Talk. Step one in the buying process is talking to a realtor. We’ll start off by sitting down to discuss your objectives, preferred neighbourhoods, timelines and more. Your budget will often dictate what options are available, so one of the first things we will do is connect you with a knowledgeable mortgage specialist.
Buyers do NOT pay realtors directly to purchase a home. When you’re working with a real estate agent to buy a home, the commission is offered/paid by the listing brokerage thru the MLS Listing. There are exceptions to this that will be explained when reviewing the Buyer Representation Agreement.
A Buyer Representation Agreement (BRA) is written agreement that creates an agency relationship between a Brokerage/Realtor and client. This agreement sets out the duration, and outlines duties and responsibilities of both parties. The most important aspect of a BRA is that it requires the brokerage/realtor to provide a higher duty of care to you as a client versus the general public.
We are required by law to have a Buyer Representation Agreement in place, but we’re not the type of agents who will force you to sign one during our first meeting or try to ‘lock’ anyone into a contract.
The day you get the keys is also known as the closing date or completion date. This date would be agreed upon in negotiations and specified on the agreement of purchase and sale document. Your closing date will vary depending on your needs and the sellers needs for moving. Average closing time for a residential property between 30 and 90 days from the time the agreement is signed.
The home inspection is an unbiased visual inspection of a property by a qualified home inspector. They will typically check the condition of structural and mechanical components of the home, including roof, age of windows, condition of appliances, foundation, plumbing, electrical, etc. A home inspector can use a thermal imaging camera and moisture meter to check for potential water leaks, but they are not able to open up walls or disturb the property. If they can’t see it, they can’t inspect it.
As the name suggests, a fixer-upper is a property that requires some level of upgrading. This could be as minor as cosmetic updates, like paint and flooring, or more extensive renovations, like structural work. Every house is unique. When we’re helping clients find a property we will discuss whether or not a fixer upper is an option to consider.
The Money must be in your account for a minimum of 90 days and up to 35k can be withdrawn tax free to use on your first place. If you are purchasing with someone, they too can use up to 35k tax free to co-purchase. Remember that the funds must be repaid into the account within 15 years of withdrawal.
If you are buying a property on your own and planning on having a non-married partner move into the unit it is important that you have your lawyer write up a cohabitation agreement to outline who owns what, what the terms are for the non-owner living there and what should happen to the property should you two decide to part ways. Another way of protecting yourself is to have a lease drawn up between you and your partner to show that they are in fact tenant to your landlordship; you can make this lease 1$ if you’d like. You can never be too careful when purchasing property and having non-married partners cohabitate.
This is a common dilemma and will depend on your circumstances.
If you sell first:
the advantage is this is the safer option. You’ll know exactly how much you have to spend and will avoid sleepless nights wondering if the sale of your current home will go through.
The disadvantage is: in a sellers market it could take longer than you would hope to find your next home and you may need a back up plan to bridge the time gap between closings (ie. finding a short term rental or staying with family for a few months). The other disadvantage is that you may feel pressured to make a decision and settle for something that may not be quite right.
If you buy first: The advantage is: you know where you are going and there is no urgency to buy, so you don’t have to settle. The disadvantage is: There are uncertainties and no guarantee that your current home will sell for the price you’re hoping for or in the timeframe you need. You need to be comfortable with the possibility of carrying two mortgages for a little while. If you’re someone who doesn’t like risk and uncertainties, sell first.
Seasonal trends in the Toronto real estate market show properties selling for the highest prices between the months of March to June. This will depend on the property type and price point for the home you’re selling as seasonal fluctuations can have differing impacts on certain segments of the market. There may also be external factors to consider when determining the best strategy and timeline for selling.
We’re obviously a little bit biased but our answer is an emphatic *Yes!*. As full service agents we spend each and every day immersed in the real estate market and are well versed in micro trends across neighbourhoods and macro trends for the market as a whole.
For sellers, we feel that our marketing system speaks for itself (take a look around the website!) and is one way we’ll be making sure we provide the smoothest transaction on your sale (top dollar in the shortest amount of time). By being tapped in to the market we’ll help guide you on the best time to sell, what pricing strategy to use, and how to best position your home to the most relevant market.
For buyers, the story is much the same. Bidding war? We’ll guide you on how to best position yourself to win without overpaying. Looking for something off market? We can help you there too. Want to know which condo buildings will have the best cash flow as an investment or which will appreciate in price the best? We do that too. We’ll walk you through what to look for in a home inspection, how to read a survey or a status certificate and how best to protect yourself with conditions on an offer. Real estate can be much more than falling in love with a property at the open house and as Realtors we’ll guide you through these details.
When selling a home in Toronto, there are a number of costs to take into consideration: real estate fees, legal fees, mortgage discharge fees (and potential early termination penalties), moving and home preparations.
Commissions are negotiable and will depend on the nature of the sale. The ‘going rate’ for a full service real estate transaction hovers around 5% split between the Listing Brokerage and Selling Brokerage.
This will vary depending on your property type and location, but the average Days on Market across the GTA generally hovers around 30 days.
Short answer: Yes.
The scale of upgrades and renovations to undertake before selling will depend on a number of factors (budget, timeline, type of property, market conditions), but without a doubt some level of preparation should be completed before hitting the market. It may just be a coat of paint and minor repairs, or it may be more extensive renovations.
We’ll provide advice based on your situation, formulate a plan with our staging/design partners, and can even assist with having the work completed.
Simple: Hire SO&Co.
Preparing your property for sale is the key to getting the best possible price. De-cluttering can do wonders. A coat of paint really does go a long way. Fixing any glaring deficiencies will eliminate buyer objections. And great staging can have buyers swooning over your property – and offering top dollar.
We take our marketing very seriously at SO&Co. Some may say it’s obsessive but we like to say it’s simply thorough.
There are no corners cut when it comes to marketing your home. From a detailed target market analysis to fresh cut flowers and everything in between. Professional photography, virtual tours, floor plans, advertising campaigns (print, online and social media), property staging, home preparations and so much more.
The short answer is no. But the smart answer is yes. Any experienced real estate agent will recommend staging as a selling tactic. A well-staged home has proven to attract more buyers, sell faster and for more money. We wouldn’t list our own homes without staging so we wouldn’t recommend otherwise to our clients.
The cost of staging depends on the size of the property and the number of rooms that will require staging. For example, a vacant 600 sq ft condo, could cost $2500/month to stage. If you choose a quality realtor (like the SO&Co. Team), staging would be included in the selling package of your home. No cost to the seller.
Our amazing staging partners can transform a home in just a day! The staging team typically arrives bright and early with a crew of 4-6 people to move things along efficiently.
There is however usually work to do in preparation for the actual staging day and the time required for that will depend on the scope of the project. The preparations can include things like painting, decluttering/packing, moving items into storage, landscaping, etc.
After the staging consultation with our design team, we’ll provide you with a room-by-room ‘To Do’ list and a list of recommendations. We’ll then review this information together to determine what items are necessary/feasible taking into account costs and timing.
Home staging is the process of preparing a property to attract the most interest and potential buyers. Staging allows potential buyers to visualize how the home will look when it is fully furnished so they can imagine themselves living in it
Staging includes furniture, art work, rugs, accessories, and knick knacks that will really make your home ‘pop’ in photos as well as during showings. Want to get a better look at our staging services? Check out these before and after gallery.
Staging fees do not include upgrades that remain with the home such as painting, flooring, repairs, bathroom/kitchen renovations. Think you need to renovate before you sell? Not to worry, we can help with that too.
While stats found online vary between 6-15% increase in price , there is no doubt that a staged home will sell for more than a non-staged homes. Our most successful sales have always been helped in part by the great work done by our staging + design partners.
Importantly, staged homes sell more quickly than unstaged homes. The longer a home stays on the market generally the more ‘stale’ it will become in buyers’ eyes which will also impact price.
Staging is a collaborative process between our team, our design partners and the homeowners. We try to work with as much of our home-owners and furniture as possible to keep a warm home feeling in the property – sterile looking staging can have a negative impact on the outcome.
Sometimes staging is as simple as tweaking things. Decluttering, depersonalizing, and reorganizing a space to ensure it’s appealing to a wide audience of buyers.
It’s important to work with a professional staging team. Is the style of their staging in-line with the look you’re trying to achieve? Do they have a portfolio? How many stagers + staff will be working on staging your home?
It would be also advisable to ask if they have their own inventory or if they rent furniture on a case-by-case basis. Being at the mercy of a third party could result in last minute hiccups – and when you’re selling a home with a target date in mind, these delays can become much bigger issues.
If you’re looking to increase the value of your home before selling the best places to put your money are your kitchen and your bathrooms. Other good ways to increase your home’s value are: investing in new flooring, giving the house a fresh coat of paint, replacing the roof if needed, and doing small general cosmetic repairs to get your home looking in tip top shape.
If you’re planning a renovation, but thinking about selling or moving in the near future, you may want to have a chat with your agent before going ahead.
Elaborate landscaping may look great, and curb appeal is important when selling, but splurging on that ornamental garden and backyard pond won’t net you a profit when it’s time to sell. Other renos that won’t pay off big are: swimming pools, built-in electronics, wall-to-wall carpet, and removing bedrooms to make way for walk-in closets or bigger master suites.
That depends on a lot of factors. How big is your home? What sort of shape are the walls in currently? Will they need a lot of repairs? Do the ceilings need to be painted? What’s on the walls now and does it require a special primer (eg. oil-based paint)? What type of paint will be used? You can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$100 per gallon for good quality paint.
Here is a rough estimate on painting costs for various types of properties:
1-bedroom condo, 600sf: $1000-$1500
2-bedroom condo, 800sf: $1200-$2000
3-bedroom house, 2000sf: $3000-$4000
4-bedroom house, 4500sf: $5000-$7000
We’d be happy to connect you with our trusted painting partners when the time comes.
A full bathroom renovation would start around $10K — provided there are minimal plumbing alterations and no super high end fixtures. Expect to pay much, much more ($20-50K) for those dreamy magazine-worthy bathrooms with standalone tubs, marble slabs, and walk-in showers.
The type of bathroom and level of finish that’s appropriate for your home will depend on a number of factors. When it comes to renovating, it’s important to avoid any ‘over-improvements’ that may not yield a positive return on investment. That said, if you’re renovating for your own enjoyment and want to add a steam generator for your own use, go for it!
You may be surprised to know that replacing a furnace can cost as little as $4k and go up to $7k, including parts and labour. Be sure to hire a licensed HVAC technician with a great track record. This is not where you should be saving money at the expense of experience.
This is a question we get often, surprisingly. Generally speaking, laminate flooring is perfectly acceptable for condos but house buyers tend to prefer hardwood or engineered-hardwood flooring.
Pro-tip: if you are installing laminate flooring, use a good quality laminate that won’t come apart at the seams. It’ll save you time, money and aggravation in the long run.
That depends on the type of home you are selling, the current market conditions, and the state and age of your home. We have a lot of experience advising our clients on the best ways to increase the value of their homes through strategic renovations, and would be happy to help you plan a renovation that will maximize your ROI. During our first walk through, we can advise you on the projects that could be done throughout your home to help maximize your sale price.
That depends. Different rate environments can depend on the economy overall or the economic goals of the Bank of Canada. Your own situation can have an impact too. Do you prefer strict certainty around your month-to-month housing costs? Do you plan to move in under five years? Each mortgage product is different and there is more to a decision than getting the best rate on a fixed or variable mortgage. What early-break penalties are there? Which underwriter has more favourable qualification terms for your position? Are rates expected to increase or decrease in the short term? Your best bet is to talk to your banker or a mortgage broker for the mortgage product that best suits your needs.
An important part of our job is to identify your real estate goals early on to help you build the real estate portfolio that will elevate your lifestyle and assist you in achieving your goals. When your property has greatly appreciated over a period of time, it is a good idea to see if refinancing and using the accrued equity to purchase a secondary property is possible. Many real estate savvy investors started with very little and built their portfolios by having good agents advise them on when the time was right and what type of property would best improve their finances.
Yes! Hiring an experienced real estate attorney to handle one of your most expensive purchases in life is essential. A legal team will ensure that final steps of buying or selling a property is handled correctly. Most importantly, if any issues arise they will act as the mediator to help resolve the situation at hand.
Real estate lawyer fees also include disbursements, such as: title searches, title insurance mortgage registration/discharge, execution certificates, statement of adjustments, software charges, couriers certification of cheques, Postage, copies, etc.
Your legal fees will vary depending on the lawyer you choose to work with. In our experience, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1200 to $3000 to have a lawyer handle the legal closing procedures of a property. Some lawyers will charge you by the hour, however, it’s possible to find a real estate lawyer that offers a fixed rate.
First off, we work with an amazing team of real estate lawyers across the Greater Toronto Area. If you wish to find your own lawyer, make sure they specialize in Real Estate Law. Also, be sure to choose a lawyer that has experience with the type of property you are purchasing or selling. For example, you don’t want to hire a lawyer that mainly deals with rural farm transactions if you are looking to buy a condo in Toronto. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask a lawyer about their experience.
Land Transfer Tax. If you’re buying a home in Toronto, it’s worth noting that there is a municipal land transfer tax, in addition to the provincial tax. It’s calculated on a sliding scale, and is discounted for first time buyers. Our mortgage app has a handy calculator that can help you determine what you’ll pay.
Moving Company. Most moving companies charge approximately $120/hour with a minimum 5 hour booking.
Lawyer and Disbursements. Expect to pay $1200-2000 for a real estate lawyer when purchasing a home. This fee will typically include title insurance on your property.
Appraisal. The cost of the property appraisal is usually built into mortgage and costs around $250-400. In some cases, you may be required to pay this separately (this will be the case if you’re getting a private mortgage, for example)
Home Inspection. A home inspection will cost $400-800+. Some homes listed for sale will already have an inspection done. If not, we can connect you with a reputable home inspector.
Commissions. Real estate commissions will typically cost you 5% of the selling price. There are exceptions, and will depend on the agent and your property. If you’re interested in learning more, we go further in depth in the selling section above.
Lawyer. Expect to pay $800-15000 for a real estate lawyer when selling a home.
Moving Company. Most moving companies charge approximately $120/hour with a minimum 5 hour booking.
Renovations. Renovations and upgrades can cost as little or as much as you want. During our first walk through, we’ll talk about potential upgrades and repairs that will help maximize the value of your home.
Cleaner. A deep clean before listing your home for sale can go a long way to making your home look its best. A cleaner will run you $200-300. We can recommend one of our trusted partners to you when the time comes.
Estate Sale / Power of Sale
Simply put, a power of sale is one where the sale is being forced by a party (i.e. a bank or lender).
An estate sale is one that is being sold on behalf of a person that has passed (typically by the family with the help of an Executor).
There is a misconception that a property being sold under Power of Sale can be had for a bargain price. Aside from the banks’ obligation (fiduciary duty) to sell a property for market value, the frenzy of buyers that specifically look for these properties typically end up over-bidding. And these properties are usually in a state of disrepair that will require significant remediation and renovation costs.
Back to Estate Sales for a moment – These are the true opportunities that often fly under the radar. If you’re looking for a home that’s been well-maintained but requires mainly cosmetic repairs and upgrading, an Estate Sale may be the right fit for you.
Of course, there are instances where a Power of Sale does offer a good value (and is worth jumping on), and there are Estate Sale properties that are amiss. We’re here to help figure out which is which.
Yes. But be aware that the risk of a property being sold under power of sale is that the owner of the property has up until the day of closing to make good on the money owed to the mortgage company, in which case the sale is then null and void and the seller retains the house. Historically in Toronto with the strength of the market, there isn’t much of a discount to be had on power of sale properties versus an equivalent unit. In general a power of sale property is also sold ‘as-is, where-is’ and can involve significant up front costs to bring up to a proper state of repair as well.