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7 Essential Steps to Selling Your Home Successfully

Older couple talks to Realtor about selling their home Zolo

Selling your house can be an emotionally challenging experience. Letting go of memories, reliving moments and saying goodbye to a family home and a close community can be a difficult process.

On top of this already emotionally fraught decision is the fear: What will I get for my home? Am I selling at the right time? Where will I go? Can I afford this next step in my life?

These are tough questions to answer and when this uncertainty is piled on top of fear and combined with powerful emotions, it can be tough to let go of a valuable asset like your home. To help alleviate the stress attached to selling a home, we’ve created the Zolo: How To Sell Your Home guidebook.

Consider it your step-by-step instruction manual for selling your home, right now. Because it’s still possible to sell your home quickly or for top-dollar, or both, even with market activity at 10-year lows and inventory building in certain markets across Canada.

Whether you’re selling your first or your tenth home, the ultimate goal is to get the best deal on the table and finalized before the market shifts, again. So set your emotions aside and begin your due diligence by following these seven essential steps to selling your home successfully.

While we outline each of the seven steps here, we go into more detail in proceeding pages. The idea is that you can read the entire guide as an overview and then pick and choose which areas you want to focus and spend time on.

No matter the reasons for selling, or the factors involved, the primary aim is to sell your most valuable asset for the highest possible price. This is how you do it.

Step#1: Research the Best Time to Sell

happy couple research down payment

Absolutely no business owner ever goes into the market without plenty of research. Neither should you. While a home is more than a financial asset, when it comes time to sell, you need to consider the facts. The first step is to find out the best time to sell. Quite often people will rely on the standard response: “In the spring,” but it turns out this isn’t always true.

In “Best Time to Sell” we offer details of our data analysis on real estate transactions for the last 13 years in the Greater Vancouver Area and the last 18 years for the Greater Toronto Area. The results may surprise you.

On the flipside, you will have to figure out whether or not you will sell first and then buy, or buy first and then sell. For help on making this decision go to “What Comes First: Buying a New Home or Selling Your Current Home.

Step#2: Prepare Your Home For a Sale


Repairing, updating and, in some cases, remodelling your home is next on the list. This step is all about trying to maximize the benefits of your home while minimizing the drawbacks. It includes paying attention to your home’s curb appeal, going through the decluttering and depersonalizing process and making sure all your paperwork (permits, title insurance, mortgage documents) are in order.

Step#3: Commit to a Selling Strategy

days on market stats will now include previous listings

Knowing what your targets are before stepping into the market is the right way to approach a business or investment decision and the same principle applies to the sale of your home. By researching competitors and determining current market activity you can get a pretty good idea of what to expect.

You can do all this work, list your home for sale, and keep all the money. This is known as a “For Sale By Owner” option. Or you can enlist the help of a professional Realtor who can help you research the competition, give context to the market and provide marketing strategies that will help attract buyers.

Either way, you will need to come up with a selling strategy. For tips on how to do this, read “Choose the Best Selling Strategy.

Step#4: Price Your Home Competitively


The market is fierce, and you can’t afford to be overly optimistic. Why? Because an overpriced home will sit on the market longer, which creates a stigma, which causes doubt in the mind of a potential buyer, which drives the price down.

To avoid this problem, do your homework or consult your real estate agent. There are key ways to set a competitive price and knowing which tool to use when will help to sell your house fast or for top-dollar or both.

Step#5: Market Your Home Strategically

Couple looking at houses. Greater Vancouver buyer's market

How fast your home sells and whether or not you get a lot of interest from buyers goes beyond a competitive price. You also need to market your home strategically. For example, you could opt to stage your home — a proven strategy that helps sellers get top dollar for homes listed for sale.

Other options include the use of social media, professional photos, websites as well as social media. While there is no right or wrong way to market your home, there are some smart options. We’ll walk you through these options so you can make the best decision for you.

Step#6: What to Expect at Closing

couple signs documents. Home selling closing. Closing costs.

A buyer loved your place, put in an offer and you accepted the terms. Congratulations! But wait, it’s not over. Lots can happen between the initial signing of the Purchase & Sale Agreement and the transfer of keys on closing day.

We walk you through what you should expect and what you need to do to make this part of the transaction as smooth and seamless as possible.

Step#7: Strategies For a Smooth Move


Whether you are locating within the city or to another town, it is essential that you plan things out for a smooth move.

Moving from your current home to your new home will require more than just a couple of boxes and a moving van (although, those components are pretty important, too).

To have a smooth move, we walk you through how to prepare for the move, what do to on the moving day, and all the little things that need to be done once the move is complete.

Final Word

Selling your house at the right price is crucial to your financial wellbeing. Do your due diligence, complete all the research, enlist the help of professionals and you can walk away satisfied with the process (and with a whole lot of equity in the bank).

Image of Romana King

Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards.