How to Sell a House Without a Realtor in Toronto

How to Sell a House Without a Realtor in Toronto

I know... It seems that in a hot real estate market like Toronto’s, anybody can just slap a ‘for sale’ sign on their lawn and sell their own house. While that might be the  case for you, I want to look at what’s really involved in selling your own house.

PS, make sure to keep reading until the end of the post, my most important piece of advice is at the end!

So what is involved in selling your own home? There are a lot of things to consider that often get overlooked, if you want to sell your house without an agent, you'll need to know exactly what you're doing in order to get the money you deserve.  The number one factor to consider is the costs.

1. The Costs
 If you choose to sell your house yourself, it’s not quite as simple as saving 5% in commission. There are some real hard costs to selling your own home that are often covered by the commission you would pay a real estate agent:

  • Commission
    • If you can get lucky and find a buyer who isn’t working with a real estate agent, great! But the most likely scenario will be that another agent will find the buyer and bring you the offer…and of course, they’ll want to get paid. In this case you can expect to pay half of what you think you’re saving.
    • Note: If you do find the buyer yourself they may want a part of the ‘savings’ for not having been represented by a real estate agent too.
  • Staging
    • Staging can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000 for a typical Toronto house. The average staging costs $4,500 and while staging isn’t a requirement, it is highly recommended to ensure you get top dollar for your home.
  • Cleaning
    • You could absolutely deep-clean your home yourself if you have the time…but bringing in professionals will ensure that your home is in tip-top shape. Cleaning costs typically range from $150-$500.
  • Photography
    • Studies show that professional photography – and in particular, HDR photography – adds thousands of dollars to the sale price of a home. A photographer typically costs between $150-$300.
  • Floor Plans
    • Before listing your home for sale you will want to do your due diligence and obtain all floor plans. They typically cost between $150-$300.
  • Pre-listing home inspection
    • If you’re selling a house, you’ll likely want to get a home inspection done before you list it for sale. Cost: $400-600.
  • Marketing
    • At a minimum, you’re going to want to list the property on the MLS for maximum exposure. The MLS is where most homes get listed for sale. It’s where the listings on come from, and it’s the primary tool that real estate agents and buyers use to search for a home. Some brokerages will allow you list your home on the MLS for as little as $1,000.
    • Additional marketing costs depend on your preferences – flyers, postcards, feature sheets, website advertising, social media advertising, etc. I usually spend $1,000-$2,500 per listing on marketing.
  • Legal Fees
    • Whether or not you’ll be using a real estate agent to sell your home, you’ll have to pay a lawyer to close the sale (anywhere from $1,000-2,500) but you can expect to pay significantly more if you also need them to review the offer paperwork.

2. The time it takes

Selling a home takes a significant amount of time and most of a listing agent’s job is done before the house hits the market. If you decide to sell your home yourself, be prepared to spend a lot of time:

  • Preparing your house for sale – this includes everything from cleaning to staging
  • Marketing it– photography, flyers, postcards, website listings, etc.
  • Scheduling showings and answering your phone –Expect dozens of phone calls to book showings and dozens more from people with questions.
  • Showing the home – being at home during all those showings will suck up a lot of your time. It’s also important to note that the number one reason a house stays on the market a long time is the Seller being present during a showing (according to the National Association of Realtors).
  • Offers – this can be a time-consuming process, especially if there are multiple offers  and can be extremely overwhelming if you don’t know how to read legal verbiage


3. The Skills it takes

Hiring an experienced and talented realtor means they’ll be skilled at marketing, pricing, strategy and negotiation in order to get you the top dollar for your home.

  • Marketing – The only guaranteed way of getting top dollar for your home is to expose it to as many people as possible – and that’s where marketing comes in. There’s a lot more to marketing a home than putting it on the MLS! The homes I list get listed on my website, my brokerage website and If you’ve got marketing skills and the time to do it…that’s great! If you don’t, you will be risking selling it for less than you could.
  • Pricing and Negotiation – This is the most significant as most people aren’t natural negotiators, and there’s a lot of negotiation and strategy involved in selling your home – even if you get multiple offers.
  • Legal – There are lots of ways that home sales go wrong, and knowing the legal pitfalls -everything from proper disclosures to offer paperwork to issues at closing- is a big part of a realtor’s job. Yes, you can hire a lawyer to handle a lot of this, but be prepared to pay for the extras.

4. Knowing the value of your home

It’s hard to be objective about the value of your house. Knowing how much a home is worth takes a lot of knowledge – not just knowledge about how much homes are listed for, but also how much they sold for. It is important to know how much particular features add or subtract from the price of the home such as a finished basement or updated bathroom. Its also important to find out which houses on the street sold for (and why).
If you decide to hire an agent, make sure you hire someone you can trust. If your goal is to get the most amount of money for your home, it’s not just about hiring a real estate agent – it’s about hiring the right real estate agent.
Top realtors know how to bring together staging, marketing, pricing, strategy and negotiation to guarantee you’re getting the most amount of money for your home as possible and its usually included in the commission. While it is great to think you could save $25,000 in commission… what if you do that and sell your home for $50,000 less? That’s a lot of money and it happens all the time… Good for the Buyer…bad for the Seller!

I hope you found this information useful! As a realtor specializing in the Liberty Village and Toronto real estate market, I am here to help guide you through the entire buying or selling process. Grab a copy of my FREE Toronto guide by reaching out to me on the Contact page or on my social media. Look forward to speaking with you!