Picture this: You’re living happily in your home in a desirable neighbourhood in Toronto. Then, one day, there’s a knock at the door from a real estate agent. He says he’s got a client who would love to buy your property, and the price that he’s offering to pay nearly knocks you off your feet.
You weren’t planning on selling your home, but the money is attractive and you’re not sure just how long the Toronto real estate market will continue to be this hot.
Scenarios like this are becoming increasingly common says Ara Mamourian, broker of record with Toronto-based Spring Realty.
“It’s happening more and more as inventory is super tight in the city,” Mamourian says.
There’s Lots to Lose
With a low supply of detached, single-family homes – and even Toronto townhouses available on the market – a growing number of agents are going door-to-door and approaching the owners of properties that their clients might like.
But homeowners should be wary of unsolicited offers, Mamourian cautions.
“It’s very difficult to put your trust in the hands of somebody who’s knocking on your door, who’s in the position to greatly benefit from you saying yes,” Mamourian says.
Prospective buyers may try to sway you into selling by emphasizing the fuss involved in putting your home on the market.
“They’ll say, ‘Oh just avoid showings and avoid the hassles of having to get your house ready, I’ll just give you this amount right now and it’ll be fine,’” Mamourian says.
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Seek Out Your Own Pro
But in the vast majority of cases, homeowners leave money on the table when they take such an officer.
If you are interested in selling, Mamourian recommends seeking out an agent – someone unbiased who can help you figure out the true value of your home.
“It’s worth going through the motions,” Mamourian says
Most homeowners already know a good real estate agent through their extended circle of friends. But if you don’t, choose one who is very active in your neighbourhood.
“Call the one that has the most signs in the ground,” Mamourian says.
Another marker of a good real estate agent is that he or she is involved with the community, for example by being involved with local organizations of showing up at neighbourhood events.
“It’s very important to hire somebody who specializes in the area where you live, not somebody who just works everywhere and collects paycheques all over town,” Mamourian says.
Plan Your Next Steps
It’s also important to consider the end goal, says Mamourian. What will you do now that you’ve got a chunk of cash but no roof over your head?
“If you’re going to buy something, you’re probably going to give back all that money that you made,” says Mamourian.
If however, you’re a retiree looking to downsize or get out of the city, it’s a different story.
It’s important to have a plan for all that cash you’re going to make, Mamourian adds.
“If you really don’t have any sort of follow-up plan for all the money you’re going to get from what’s likely your biggest asset, then you’re probably just better off to sit tight until you have that plan together.”
Finally, if the offers just won’t stop, consider putting a “no solicitors” sign on your door. That should keep them at bay.