7 Most Commonly Asked Real Estate Questions in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

7 Most Commonly Asked Real Estate Questions in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the real estate market can be daunting, whether you're buying or selling a home. To help you out, I've compiled a list of the most commonly asked real estate questions in Canada, along with detailed answers to guide you through the process.

1. How Do I Determine the Right Price for My Home?

Setting the right price for your home is crucial to achieving your financial goals. There are many factors that can influence this number. Things like timeline, the reason for the sale, the home's condition, and the market, to name a few. Getting this wrong will leave money on the table or, worse yet, a stale listing and put a pause on all of your future plans. To determine the right price:

  • Conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): This involves looking at recent sales of similar properties in your area. What sold, what didn't, how long it took for the sale, and call the listing agents to learn the situation of the seller. Were they a distressed seller? Who bought their property? 
  • Listing strategy:  Should we set the price low and seek multiple offers, or do we set it high and give room to negotiate? Different strategies will work in different markets, and the wrong strategy can negatively impact the sale.
  • Consider Market Conditions: Economic factors, seasonal trends, and the condition of your home all affect pricing and strategy. 
This initial analysis step is free for more Real Estate professionals; use this opportunity to find the Realtor with the best market knowledge and who can present the information concisely and easily. How they present to you is a sign of how they present to potential buyers. The right Realtor will be worth their body weight in gold because it could mean a difference of thousands of dollars in your pocket at the end of the day.

2. What Are the Steps Involved in Buying a House?

You should follow these steps in the exact order: 

  • Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: This will help you understand your budget and demonstrate to your Realtor that you are a serious buyer. Any good realtor will always have multiple clients at any one time, and being qualified and top of mind will give you the best opportunities to find your dream home.
  • Home Search:  Once pre-approved, the search can begin—not the other way around. Too many buyers go around looking before knowing what they can afford. It's not efficient or effective. Seeing the home you love but not being able to act on it is the worst feeling. 
  • Tour Homes: Finding listings is easy nowadays. Most real estate website is backlinked to the local MLS, which means you have the same access as Profressional Realtors (with a slight delay). You don't necessarily require a Realtor to find the right home for you, but they have tools to make the search easier and more efficient, so you don't miss any opportunities. Especially if you are a busy person with a lot going on, you might not have the time to sit in front of the computer every day to see what new listings there are. 
  • Write an Offer:  Discuss this step with your Realtor. It's not as simple as writing a number on a templated form. A good Realtor would have already spoken to the listing agent and found as much information as possible. Knowing what leverage you have as a buyer should formulate the offer strategy. Screw this up, you'll overpay or not secure your dream home.
  • Subject Period:  Whether it's a home inspection, financing, or strata documents, your Realtor should be there to advise and ensure you are not exposed to huge liabilities down the road. 
  • Closing:  Having the right lawyer or notary will ensure a smooth transition. Ask your realtor; they usually have the best and cheapest options. 

3. How Can I Increase the Value of My Property?

To enhance your property's value:

  • Focus on Key Upgrades: Kitchen and bathroom renovations, new flooring, and fresh paint can significantly boost your home’s appeal.
  • Improve Curb Appeal: First impressions matter, so ensure your home looks inviting. Keeping the grass cut, clearing the outside of the home of clutter, and power washing everything you can will go a long way toward helping your home stand out.
Depending on your home sale goals, discuss with your Realtor which actions will give you the best return on investment. For example, if you want to sell your home immediately, renovating the whole kitchen might not be worth renovating. 

4. How Does My Agent Get Paid When Selling a House?

Home Buyer:

  • In B.C., your Realtor's commission is fully paid by the Seller. The typical rate is 3.2% on the first $100k and 1.16% on the balance. 
Home Seller:
  • In B.C., the common listing commission is 7% on the first $100k and 3% on the balance. Remember, this amount is split with the Buyer's Realtor. The split favours the Listing Realtor because there are costs associated with selling a home vs. buying—for example, photos, floor plans, and marketing. The listing agent will be out of pocket if the home doesn't sell. Every time a Realtor takes on the responsibility of selling your home, they take a financial risk, which is why most successful Realtors will only work with certain home sellers. 

5. What Are the Emerging Trends in Home Design and Architecture?

Key trends for 2024 include:

  • Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Designs: Eco-friendly materials and energy-saving features are in high demand.
  • Open Floor Plans: These create a spacious feel and are great for entertaining.
  • Outdoor Living Spaces: Patios, decks, and gardens enhance the living experience.
  • Multi-Functional Rooms: Spaces serving multiple purposes, such as home offices or gyms, are increasingly popular.

6. How Can I Stage My Home for a Quick Sale?

Effective staging can make your home more appealing to potential buyers:

  • Declutter and Depersonalize: Remove personal items and excess furniture to create a neutral space.
  • Highlight Key Features: Arrange furniture and decor to draw attention to the best aspects of your home.
  • Use Professional Stagers: They can provide expertise and resources to make your home look its best.

7. How Can I Save Money When Selling a Home?

To save money during the selling process:

  • Negotiate Your Realtor’s Fees: Some agents are willing to lower their commission rates. But be very careful with this option. Weigh the pros and cons. If you are selling a $1M dollar home, getting a few thousand dollars back from your Realtor might seem like a good idea. However, negotiating a 2-3% price change is common in the B.C. market, and having a less motivated Realtor could mean you picked up a penny but dropped a dollar in the process.
  • Sell the Home Yourself: This can eliminate the seller’s agent commission but requires a significant time investment and knowledge of real estate laws. Only 1% of all home sales in B.C. are sold without a Realtor's involvement. 
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