March 6, 2015 9:00 am
Updated: March 6, 2015 5:49 pm

Tips for selling your home in Toronto

A real estate agent puts up a "sold" sign in front of a house in Toronto in a file photo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
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It’s official. If you had a million dollars, you could buy a house in Toronto…barely. The average price of a detached home in Toronto has now peaked above the million dollar mark.

So, what does that mean for Torontonians looking to sell their homes?

We’ve got some tips on the dos and don’ts of Toronto real estate.

Act now

It’s a seller’s market at the moment, but you better act now.

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While the transition from seller’s to buyer’s market typically starts around mid-January, this year’s cold winter delayed the switch.

It’s inconvenient to show houses in winter, said Linda Pinizzotto, a Toronto realtor with over 30 years of experience. “It’s awkward, it’s cold, it’s difficult to run a whole family upside down when you’re putting your property on the market.” As a result, families tend to wait for warmer weather.

However, Pinizzotto, said the market is due to transition.

“We’re still in that low inventory stage. I do see that changing shortly as we start to get warmer weather and we start to get some sunshine,” she said.

Those looking to sell single-family homes are in luck, as the current seller’s market is specific to semis and detached homes.

“Demand for single-family homes or even units with a little bit more space like townhomes have remained quite hot, but supply hasn’t really caught up to demand,” said TD Bank economist Diana Petramala.

Condos, meanwhile, are a buyer’s market. Petramala said this is because 80 per cent of building in Toronto over the last few years has been condos.

Realtor or do-it-yourself?

Rather unsurprisingly, Pinizzotto is solidly on the get-a-realtor side. She said realtors have the experience and know-how necessary to price a home correctly.

Petramala agrees. “In my opinion it’s a lot harder for individuals to do the research needed,” she said.

However, if you are going to work with an agent, don’t settle on the first one you find. Shop around, look for someone with several years of experience, and find a commission rate you’re comfortable with.

WATCH: Real estate agents vs. DIY

Staging your home

Once your house is on the market, it needs to be viewer-ready.

Anne Bourne, owner of Toronto home staging company StagingWorks, gave some tips on how to stage your home.

  • De-clutter everything. “Everything off the floor, not a lot of extra odds and ends…You want to open up the space.” Same goes for the closets. Bourne says remove 50 per cent of your things, to highlight the available storage.
  • Let the furniture paint a picture. “Make sure that your furniture is arranged in a way that people can see themselves living in the space. So you want to make sure that if you have a full-on living room people can easily see themselves sitting, entertaining another couple in there. So you want to be able to have sitting for four.”
  • Put some TLC into it. “People want to feel that you really love your home.” That means no weird smells, keep it clean, and fresh flowers are a plus.
  • Clean the bathroom. Really clean it. Pinizzotto is adamant about this one. She said dirty sinks, toilets and tubs can be a deal-breaker.
  • De-personalize the space. “Get rid of family photos, get rid of anything that has to do with you moving,” said Pinizzotto. Viewers should be able to envision their own family in the house, so keep the decoration generic.

WATCH: Experts on what renovations add the most value when selling your house

One last tip — the first impression is everything. Curb appeal matters, so make sure the exterior of your house is welcoming, and keep that atmosphere going throughout the house.

Good luck, and happy selling!

© 2015 Shaw Media

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