How to sell a home privately in Ontario | Ajax Whitby Oshawa Pickering Real Estate Agent

Well, actually, the title of the article should be “how NOT to sell a home privately in Ontario.”

Reason for not to sell your home privately in Ontario is due to less advantage than disadvantage. Lets looks at the possible advantage and disadvantages of selling y our home privately in the province of Ontario. And this goes the same for pretty much all other provinces.


Commission Savings: Main reason for home owners trying to sell their home privately in Ontario is due to commission savings. Typical commission for listing agent and buying agent combined here in Ontario is 5%. However, keep in mind that in the province of Ontario, commission is entirely negotiable so it might cost you a little less if you can negotiate the agent commission.

Out of that 5% commission, 2.5% goes to listing agent and other 2.5% goes to buying agent or co-operative brokerage. So if you have a $500,000 home, you can save as much as $25,000 in agent commission.

Very tempting, right? Well, not really if you put all the pieces together. JUST READ ON….


While commission saving is pretty much the only advantage you have selling your home privately in Ontario, you are faced with number of disadvantages.

Sell for Less: Research shows that average For Sale by Owner homes sell for about 10% less than those that are listed with professional realtors. Reason is very simple, there is no way a private seller can bring in as much potential buyers as a professional realtor. So in an attempt to save the agent commission, you are actually selling your home for less.

Legal Obligations: When a professional REALTOR® lists a home, you have lot less legal obligation than you have when you sell your home privately. You just simply cannot say “Buyer Beware” as a private seller. You are obligated to disclose any issues, patent or latent, while listing your home. Failure to do so could result in a possible lawsuit meaning tens of thousands in legal fees and damages combined.

Buying Agent Commission: You cannot sell your home if no one comes to see it. Many times, I would say almost 100% of the time, private sellers will pay buying agent commission if the agent brings in a buyer. So there you go, your 5% commission savings all of a sudden reduced to half. Instead of saving $25, 000 (on a 500k home), you are now saving only half.

Buying Agent Negotiate AGAINST You: Even if you decide to pay a buying agent commission, that buying agent will negotiate in his/her client’s favour and AGAINST you. So you will actually be paying a buying agent commission to negotiate against you.

Marketing Expenses: As said above, you cannot sell a home if no one comes to look at it, You will need to promote your home if you decide to sell it. Newspaper advertisement, MLS listing, private listing site fees, lawn sign, etc can eat up quite a bit of that 2.5% savings you are counting on.

More Legal Fees: You will see that lawyers are charging you more to do the paperwork as they are having to do more work to close your deal than they initially had to do if the home was to be listed with professional realtors.

Private Buyers Want the Savings Too: You will be surprised to find that when selling a home privately in Ontario, buyers will want to pay less as you are saving the listing commission. Logic is pretty simple, if you are not paying agent commission, buyer should get a deal! From buyer’s point of view, they have a logic.

Since buyers here in Ontario do not pay any commission to buy a house and both listing agent and buying agent commission are paid by the seller, only reason a buyer would want to buy a home from a private seller is because they want a piece of that commission saving pie. So all of a sudden, that 2.5% listing agent commission you are planning on saving goes in the pocket of the buyer.

More Time to Sell a Home: With the amount of exposure your home can get while listing with a professional REALTOR®, there is no way you can match that level of exposure selling your home privately in Ontario. Therefore it is only natural that selling your home will take lot longer if you decide to sell it privately.

Wrong Valuation: We see it all the time that private sellers often undervalue or over value their home resulting in either money being left on the table or homes not being sold. You can literally leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table even after paying agent commission if you undervalue your home.

Buyer Mortgage Issue: Lenders are more worried about lending when they see a private sale. Since the property was not appraised by a professional appraiser or a professional REALTOR, lenders typically send out their own appraiser to do the appraisal before lending the money. We see deals being dead left and right due to improper valuation where buyers paid too much for the home than the current market value and the mortgage not being approved for that purchase price.

Buyer May Not be Pre-Qualified: When you list your home with a REALTOR®, buying agents who bring in the buyers who are usually mortgage pre-qualified. This may not be the case for private sale. We see lot of private deals not end up closing due to buyer not being able to arrange financing.

List With an Agent After 30 Days: While some homeowners attempt to sell their homes privately, lot of them end up listing their homes with agents after 30 days. In a case where your home do not get sold within 30 days or however long you are willing to wait and see, you eat up the cost of initial marketing expenses.

So as you can see, list of disadvantages just goes on and on. Long story short, it takes a professional to do a professional job.

Do NOT leave money on the table or worry about a potential lawsuit haunting you after the sale. Contact me TODAY for a FREE EVALUATION of what your home is worth and let me show you how much I can get you net in your pocket even after all commission.