What You Need to Know
Before Listing

By: Dana Gain

What You Need to Know
Before Listing

Tags: Listing my home, Selling my home

Before you have your first meeting with a REALTOR®, it's important to understand who's who and how brokerages work together to sell your home.

Let's take a closer look at exactly who the players are and how it all comes together.

Listing Brokerage

A real estate brokerage is the organization you hire to represent your interests when you sell a home through a contract called a 'listing agreement.' The listing Sales Representative, or REALTOR®, is associated with the listing brokerage and is usually the main contact person you'll be working with.It's an important distinction because the agreement you sign is between you as the seller and the listing brokerage. The listing brokerage receives the listing commission and then splits this commission with the cooperating, or buying, brokerage.

Cooperating Brokerage

A home buyer enlists the services of a brokerage when seeking to purchase a home. Buyers sign a contract known as the Buyer Representation Agreement, providing details about where they would like to buy along with other particulars of their dream home.  The word 'cooperating' is used because the house is listed by one brokerage and a second brokerage cooperates by providing a buyer.

Role of your REALTOR®

While the role of a listing agent is comprehensive and operates throughout the selling process, the initial stages are crucial.

Before the listing appointment, your licensed real estate agent will do extensive research into your home and neighbourhood. Recent sales of homes comparable to yours are investigated, typically from the past twelve months, along with houses actively for sale. Your own home's history is reviewed as well.

Price adjustments are made as the comparison is developed to account for differences between your home and others in the area.

For example, one comparable home might have a double car garage while your home has a single. One may have an unfinished basement while yours is finished. Or there may be upgrades done in your home not done in a comparison property.
Accounting for these differences allows your agent to recommend a reasonably accurate listing price range for your home.

Local market statistics are then compiled to understand how long houses in the area typically stay on the market before selling. Importantly, your REALTOR® will research the pace that property value is increasing in your neighbourhood and perhaps even just on your street. 

The Listing Appointment

To begin with, your salesperson will want to walk through your home with you. Getting to know the property is key to building a successful marketing plan.


Learning about your home's special features, unique floor plan, and recent upgrades will help your agent begin to paint a picture of how it can be best marketed.

Understanding your ideal buying audience is important. REALTORS® have extensive networks and can quickly surmise where potentially interested buyers may be found.
What made you buy your home in the first place? What are the things you love most about your property that could be leveraged as key selling features to a prospective buyer?

What is unique and special about your community that you discovered after you moved in? Give this some thought before your listing appointment and it will stimulate further discussion with your salesperson.


How You Can Help

Gathering your documentation together before your listing appointment will help move things along. Locate your legal documents from when you purchased the home. See if you can find a copy of the survey or floorplan.

If you're selling a condominium, check your records for the latest Periodic Information Certificate provided by the condo corporation.

You can also investigate the warranties on major systems in the home, like the furnace or water heater. Understand if you own or rent your water heater or softener. If you rent, find a copy of the utility bill so your salesperson can note the monthly fee on the listing documents.


If your home is newer and you think you may still be under the Tarion Warranty, see if you can find the documentation on this. If you're still covered it will be a strong selling feature for the new owners, as an active Tarion warranty can often pass from one homeowner to the next.

Make a list of the specific items in the property that will not be included in the home. For example, you may have a built-in desk that would normally qualify as a fixture and therefore considered included in the sale. If you'd like to take this desk with you when you move, ensure your salesperon is aware so they can note it as an excluded fixture.Are you including appliances in the sale? Depending on where you live, it may be customary to include them. If you're not sure what's normal for your area, ask your REALTOR® for guidance. If most sellers in your region are including appliances in the sale of their homes, you don't want to be at a competitive disadvantage by excluding them. 

Finally, it would help to provide a copy of your municipal property tax statement. Tax information must always be included in the listing documents.

When to List

Your salesperson will ask when you would like to list your home. It's an important question, because once the house goes on the market you will begin to receive requests for showings.

The most number of showings usually occur early in the process, usually in the first week to ten days after a listing goes live. There is a lot of activity and you'll want the house to show at its best for potential buyers.
Depending on how quickly you wish to sell, your REALTOR® may suggest waiting a few days or a week to allow you time to get the house ready. Decluttering, depersonalizing, and opening up the space will help broaden your buying audience.

Once you decide on a listing date, you're on the clock. In a seller's market, homes sell quickly and it's not uncommon for a house to be sold before the listing actually goes live.

Make sure you have a discussion with your real estate agent around what type of market you're currently in, whether it's a buyer or seller's market, and what you can expect in terms of timeline.


Signing The Agreement

The final step in the process is signing the exclusive listing agreement. Click here to request a copy of the OREA form including explanations for each of the sections.

The listing agreement is a 4-page document that outlines among other things the name(s) of the seller(s), the property to be sold, it's legal description, the listing price, and the commencement and expiry dates of the agreement. It outlines the real estate commission, including the amount for the cooperating brokerage.
This is followed by several paragraphs of clauses that your REALTOR® will explain to you. Finally, there's a place on page 4 for the seller signatures.

Note that the commencement date is crucial, because it identifies the precise date your home will go live on the Multiple Listing Service or MLS®.

Be sure to ask plenty of questions and get clarification on any areas you don't understand. Your salesperson knows the document intimately and can help by interpreting some of the legal-speak.

If you're still not comfortable after it's been explained to you, it's a good idea to have a real estate lawyer review it with you before signing. Most of the clauses are preprinted and standardized; it's a document very familiar to the real estate community.

For more information on the listing process just click here to send your email


Request Free Home Preparation Checklist

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter

Explore More Articles

What's Your Home Worth?