Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Condo

Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Condo

If you are thinking about selling your condo but aren’t sure where to start then look no further! This is a huge decision so its important to do your research and get the right information.

Before we get started, if you want a copy of my Toronto Relocation guide that breaks down all the amenities, features and communities in Toronto, leave your info on the “contact me” page and I will gladly send you a copy absolutely FREE!

There isn’t any easy answer to the often-asked question of: When should I sell my condo? So we are going to make this simple when talking about important considerations and dive into a step-by-step guide.

Step #1 – Decide When to Sell Your Condo

The first step in deciding to sell is deciding WHEN to sell. The time of year is an important factor in the real estate world– Real estate in Toronto is seasonal, with December and January generally being the slowest months.  But depending on the market, its important to find the ideal time of year to list based on the state of the real estate market. So talk to your realtor for some advice.

You will also want to consider the current competition in your building and the current competition for similar condos in similar buildings – Because condos are seen more as commodities than houses (there are many similar units), the amount, quality and price of the current competition must be taken into account.

But obviously your personal goals are the most important– If you’re moving out of the city or have already bought a new property, then that timing will likely override everything else.

Step #2: Prepare Your Condo for Sale

Once you choose the best time to list, its time to prepare with these 2 goals in mind:

1)     Declutter to make the space look as big as possible One of the biggest challenges of condo living is space. Remove personal items, extra armoires and anything that could distract potential Buyers.  Smaller furniture will make the rooms look bigger, so consider swapping out that King sized bed that takes up the whole bedroom for a smaller one and replacing the L-shaped couch with a more compact version. Make sure every room is staged to its optimal use, but well dive more into this in step 3.

2)     Keep things clean and tidy! The cleaner your condo is, the faster it will sell. Buyers won’t just look at surfaces – they’ll look inside your closets, your kitchen cupboards and your bathroom vanity. Make sure everything sparkles! Special Considerations for condos include:

Storage – The last thing you want to communicate to Buyers is that the condo doesn’t have enough storage. Store off-season clothes offsite,  get rid of all those kitchen appliances and the second set of dishes and minimize your toiletries. Make sure cupboards and closets aren’t overflowing (3/4 full is a good guideline).

Parking and Lockers – Don’t use them as a dumping ground for all extra stuff. They’re a valuable part of what you’re selling.

Smells can linger in a condo, so make sure you don’t cook foods with strong odours (fish, curries, etc.) while your condo is for sale.

Step #3:  Staging

Professional home staging is a must for almost every condo if your goal is to sell it for as much money as possible. It’s been proven that staged condos sell faster and for more money. Did you know that staged homes spend 73 per cent less time on the market than their un-staged competition? Especially in smaller condos where its difficult to see the potential, staging is always a good idea.

Step #4: Pricing Your Condo for Sale

Determining the value of a condo is generally easier than valuing a house because there are likely identical or nearly identical comparable sales in your building. In determining the value of a condo, real estate agents and appraisers will determine the price per square foot of recent sales and use that as a basis to determine the value of your condo.

When it comes to the value per square foot, it’s important to note: the bigger the condominium, the lower the cost per square foot (as the condo gets bigger, each square foot becomes less valuable as there are more of them)

Height Matters– the higher the floor, the higher the cost per square foot (buyers are willing to pay more for a condo on a higher floor).

Views are Important – the better the view, the higher the cost per square foot (views can be extremely valuable, especially if they are of Lake Ontario or the CN Tower)

While comparable unit sales in your building are the most important consideration in valuing your condo, your real estate agent will also look at the units in your building currently for sale (i.e., the competition), as well as recent sales and competition in nearby similar buildings.

When it comes to determining a condo pricing strategy you can price for a bidding war, price at market value or price above market value and negotiate.  Keep in mind:

1. Supply and Demand – Because there are generally multiple units that are identical or near-identical in a building, Buyers may not feel the desperation that they often feel with a house – if they miss out on buying this condo, there’ll likely be another similar one come on the market soon.

2. Upgrades from the builder – while they won’t add as much value as you paid for them, they will help differentiate you from the other condos available for sale. Renovations – don’t generally add much value to newer condos, but can add a lot of value in older condos.

3. Ceiling height – taller is better

4. Maintenance fees – if maintenance fees are significantly higher than average, prices will generally be lower

5. Parking – generally adds $25,000 $50,000 to the price of a downtown condo

6. Locker or en-suite storage – definitely in high demand

7. Outdoor space – balconies and terraces are in high demand

8. Amenities in the building – while some Buyers don’t want the amenities because of the higher maintenance fees, others want the concierge/pool/theatre room/guest parking

9. Location, location, location

10. The ratio of Renters to Owners – Buyers prefer condo buildings where the majority of the people living there are owners

Step #5: Marketing

You will want to make sure the potential Buyers see your condo. With thousands of condos for sale in Toronto, standing out from your competition is critical. A comprehensive marketing campaign for a condo differs than one for a house in the following ways:

Most condos are smaller than houses, so photography and videography can be a challenge. Experienced professionals with wide-angle lenses should be able to capture a room without making it seem smaller or bigger than it truly is. If your agent suggests taking the pictures themselves, run!

Unless your unit is on the first couple of floors and facing a busy street, a for sale sign’ will be of no use. Being able to capture condo Buyer attention online is that much more important.

For safety reasons, some condominium buildings don’t allow open houses. If your condo restricts open houses, your agent can arrange for interested Buyers to see it by appointment. (we’ve also been known to sweet-talk our way into a number of ‘no open house’ buildings)

Step #6: Showings

When Buyers make an appointment to see your condo, keep the following in mind:

Leave the condo! There’s nothing more distracting for a Buyer than having to walk around the owner.

Be flexible with showing times – There’s a lot of competition out there, so make it convenient for Buyers to see your condo.

If you have a tenant in your condo: you’ll need to provide them with 24 hours notice for showings. The sale will be less intrusive to them if it’s quick, so their cooperation – in de-cluttering, and keeping it clean – will go a long way.

Make it easy for Buyers to see the facilities. Make sure the agents have easy access to a FOB so they can show your building’s facilities.

Step #7: Offers

Generally, when selling a condo, you can expect to see offers with two conditions:

A financing condition, which allows the Buyer to confirm their mortgage qualifications with a lender

Status certificate condition, which allows the Buyer’s lawyer to review the condominium documents to ensure that it is sound legally and financially.

Your real estate agent will lead the negotiations of any offers you receive, but the final decision of what to accept – price, conditions, closing date – are yours to make.

Step #8: Closing Day

As closing day (the day the new Buyer takes possession) approaches, you’ll need to make sure to:

  • Book the elevator for your move out. There are usually time and day restrictions, so this early!
  • Inform your property manager that you are moving and cancel your monthly maintenance fees
  • Inform the utility companies of your impending move
  • Cancel your home insurance (to take effect after you have confirmation that the sale has closed)

And that’s it! If you are considering selling your condo, make sure to work with a qualified real estate agent to ensure proper research is done prior to making your decision.

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. Don't forget to grab a copy of my FREE Toronto guide by reaching out to me on the Contact page or on my social media. I look forward to speaking with you!