Frequently Asked Questions: Sellers Edition

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Choosing to sell your home can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. If you do not have any previous experience, you may have a lot of questions. To learn about the selling process, you can visit our page detailing it here. Even with understanding the process, you may have more questions along the way: this is totally normal. There are a lot of moving parts in the process, so we have outlined some common questions we have had in the past!



What does an appraisal mean when selling a home?

An appraisal is conducted by a licensed professional who determines the value of your home by conducting a thirty to sixty-minute visit in your home in which they examine the condition, dimension and amenities of your property. Appraisers should be an unbiased third party that simply evaluates your home and determines what they believe it would sell for. This may be more or less than what a REALTOR® would determine, or an online evaluator. Essentially, the appraiser is evaluating your property, not the entire market. 



How much is my house worth?

Your REALTOR® may price you're home different than what it is appraised for, and also different than an online evaluator may say. This is because a REALTOR® takes into account three variables:

-the condition of your home

-how it compares to other homes in your area

-the current market

This means that the price of your home may fluctuate based on when it was evaluated. Only an experienced REALTOR® will be able to take all these factors into account to determine the correct price to list your home. Without all factors taken into account, your house may end up selling for less than what its potential is, or being priced too high to generate interest. 



What does conditional mean when selling a home?

A conditional sale when selling a home means that an offer has been accepted, but there are still conditions that need to be met for the sale too close. This may be a property inspection, review of condo documents, lawyer review, review of the property disclosure statement, securing financing and securing insurance. Once these conditions are met - must be done by a certain date on the agreement, then the sale is finalized. 



 How much are closing costs when selling?

There are a few closing costs to consider when selling your home.

-Lawyer Fees and Disbursements

The average cost of legal representation in Halifax is approximately $800-$1000, not including disbursements, which could be anywhere from $200-$400 Disbursements include courier fees, photocopying, title search, registration costs. It is a good idea to shop around, as there is no set cost.   

-Real Estate Commission

The typical Real Estate Commission in Nova Scotia is 5%. This is split between both the buyer's agent's brokerage, 2.5%, and the listing agent's brokerage 2.5%. Please note. The commission is plus HST.



What is an estoppel certificate in the sale of my condo?

An estoppel certificate is a binding statement prepared by the corporation at the request of a unit owner or purchaser. It indicates the standing of common elements fees and reserve fund assessments against the unit, whether they are up to date, paid in advance, or in arrears. The Condominium Act and Regulations specify which items must be included. For example, the certificate will also contain such items as the names and addresses of the property manager and the officers of the corporation, the financial standing of the corporation, the reserve fund balance, whether any major capital expenditures or increases in fees are planned, and if there are any lawsuits pending against the corporation. A copy of the most recent declaration and bylaws are to be provided with this certificate. When selling your condo, you as the seller are responsible for the charge associated with producing an estoppel certificate. 



What happens to my mortgage when I sell my home?

When you sell a house with a mortgage, the first thing to do is find out roughly how much you still owe on the loan. Knowing how much you owe, it’s time to figure out how much you’ll be making from your home sale after all is said and done — and whether it will be enough to cover your outstanding mortgage balance, plus all the typical closing costs. If you are breaking your mortgage, you may incur a mortgage penalty as well. It is always a good idea to speak with your mortgage broker or banker before listing your home, in case there is a penalty to pay for not completing your mortgage. If you have a fixed term such as a five year fixed rate term, your lender may charge you a penalty called an interest rate differential. If you are breaking a variable rate term, the penalty is typically three months interest.



When is the best time to sell?

The common consensus in the Halifax real estate market is that is it best to sell your home in the Spring. The weather is starting to get nice, folks are out and about, and moving is generally easier. However, there are pros and cons to selling at any time of the year. A downfall in the spring is that there is more competition, as most people choose to list during the warmer months. If your home is near a sought after school, it may be best to list it in the summer, so parents can secure the home for their children. When you list on off-season (winter) there is much less competition. Also, job transfers typically happen at the start of the year, meaning there are folks still house hunting in the middle of winter.



Who pays the REALTOR® fees?

The seller is typically responsible for the commission fee that REALTORS® charge. The percentage of the sold price is typically 4-6%. Half of this is paid to the buyer’s agent brokerage and a half to your representation. This cost is built into the sale price before the house hits the market.



How long does it take to sell a house?

According to our MLS system, homes sold in on average 38 days this past year. Our Halifax Market has been extremely hot, so this is short in comparison to previous years. If we look at the past decade, homes sold in on average 78 days. Most REALTORS® will agree that if a home does not sell within 6 weeks, then a price change may need to be made.



What is a title search?

A title search is the search of public records to ensure that the seller does in fact own the property. A search of all of the title records applicable will occur to determine if the title is valid. This will confirm the property’s legal ownership, the history of the piece of land and if there are any claims against the property.



What is the difference between list price and sold price?

The list price is the price that you and your REALTOR® decide to place your home on the market for. This will be the price that is advertised and submitted on the MLS system. The sold price is the price that the buyer agrees to pay with an agreement of purchase and sale. You are entitled to accept any price, however, your REALTOR® can advise you on making the best decision for your situation. Buyers can offer above or below the listing price, and whichever price you accept ends up being the sold price.



Why should I hire you to sell my home?

Our team is experienced, professional and dedicated. We do everything in our power to ensure the success of a smooth, stress-free sale. We want our clients to enjoy the process from start to finish, and receive the maximum return. We offer a variety of complimentary services for each of our clients as well, which can be found by visiting our Why Sell With Us page. You can also browse our Testimonials to see what our previous sellers have to say!

Still have questions? Call or email us today, we’d be happy to help!


Andrew Perkins