What It Really Costs To Sell Your Home In Canada

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Don’t underestimate the cost of selling your home.  Listing a home on the market requires time, money, and a lot of personal energy. 

First there’s cleaning your house, completing repairs, paying for an inspection, and packing up your belongings.  Next you’ll stage and depersonalize your home with photo-perfect furniture and décor. Once your home is on the MLS, you’ll be subject to a deluge of emails, text messages, and phone calls from buyers or your listing agent.  Then you’ll take time out of your schedule for open houses, walkthroughs, and price negotiations.  Lastly, you’ll experience the joys of moving.

The entire process from listing to closing takes 90 days on average, but some properties sit on the market for much longer.

Selling through a listing service may help you maximize your selling price, but the sales process requires serious time and effort.  Most buyers have no idea how much this entire effort will cost them.  This post adds up the numbers to show you the real cost of selling your home by listing in Canada.


Woman waiting for a real estate agent outside a house with a phone and notepad, highlighting the cost of paying realtorsPaying The Realtors

Unless you’re selling privately, you’ll pay realtors a 2 to 5 percent commission fee, split evenly between the buyer and seller agent.  Realtors charge for their expertise in understanding value, marketing for maximum impact, and most importantly – their negotiation skills.  A good negotiator on your side will net you thousands of dollars.

On a $500,000 home, realtor commission fees will cost between $10,000 to $25,000.


Real Estate Lawyers

Once you receive an Offer to Purchase, you’ll want to hire a real estate lawyer to oversee the transaction and avoid making a mistake selling your most valuable asset.  As a seller, your lawyer will ensure your title is in good standing, your contract is flawless, and that all of your filings are completed according to your provincial laws.

Hiring a lawyer to oversee the sale of your home will cost around $1,000.

If you’re moving into a new home, budget an additional $1,500 to $2,000 to oversee the purchase and title transfer.


How Much Does It Cost To List?

Getting a home ready to market takes serious preparation.  Here’s what you can expect to pay to list your home on the MLS.

A plastic worker figuring sweeping parts of a dandelion, highlighting the cleaning services required in listing a homeCleaning Services

Step one is deep cleaning your house.  A professional cleaning will help you get postcard-perfect photos and avoid scaring off buyers with unsightly dust, grime, and clutter.

For a 2,000 square foot home, cleaning will cost between $350 to $600.


If your house needs major repairs, it can take months of work and easily cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.  Then there’s the cost of waiting.  In busy housing markets like Kelowna, BC, it can take months to line up professional contractors.

Most homeowners budget 1 to 3 percent of their home’s value for repairs each year.  For a $500,000 home, expect a repair bill around $10,000.

Home Inspection

Before listing your home on the MLS you’ll need to pay for a home inspection to check the condition of the roof, gutters, plumbing, electrical systems, doors, windows, walls, and foundation.

Depending on the size of your home, an inspection will cost between $400 to $800.

Condo Status Certificates

If you’re selling a condominium unit, you’ll need to obtain a Status Certificate – also known as an Estoppel Certificate (AB), or Information Certificate (BC).  This lengthy document includes information about the building’s legal and financial status, bylaws, building rules, and the condo owner’s financial obligations.

A condo certificate usually costs $100 and processing takes one or two weeks.

Staged home prior to listing on the mls to sell, showing a grey couch with an oriental rug and plant in a planterStaging Your Home

Staging is the process of decorating, organizing, and furnishing your living spaces to increase your home’s perceived value.  A home stager brings in plants, area rugs, mirrors, lighting, art, and furniture that maximize impact.

Home staging can cut your selling time in half and boost your selling price by up to 20 percent, so it’s usually a worthwhile investment.  Some agencies include the staging cost in their commission fee.  Otherwise professional home staging takes about 14 days and costs between $2,000 to $5,000.


Quick Sale Discount

If you’re in a hurry to move, you’ll probably need to discount your asking price.  A typical discount for a fast property sale is 3 to 5 percent.  On a $500,000 property, this will cost around $20,000.


Mortgage Discharge Fee

If you end your mortgage agreement early, you’ll pay a mortgage discharge fee.  This fee covers the bank’s administrative cost to remove the mortgage from your property title.

Mortgage discharge fees cost up to $300 depending on your financial institution.


Closeup of a mans hands on a spreadsheet of numbers, referring to the capital gains tax, the amount of profit received from a home saleCapital Gains Tax

If you’ve profited on your home sale, the amount you earn is referred to as a capital gain.  As an investor, half of the profit will be subject to capital gains tax.  Your capital gains tax rate will vary depending on your income bracket.

If you’re selling a primary residence, you won’t have to pay tax on your capital gain.  Your home is considered a primary residence if you’ve lived there for each month of ownership; in other words, you were not renting the place out or using the property as an investment vehicle.  In Canada, this is known as a principal residence exemption.


Land Transfer Tax

If it’s your first home sale you’ll be pleased to know that land transfer taxes, which cost around $8,000, are always paid for by the buyer.  But if you’re moving into a new home, you’ll want to make room in the budget to pay your own land transfer tax.


Moving Expenses

If you do it yourself, moving is probably the worst aspect of selling your home.  It’s time consuming, laborious, and won’t necessarily be a positive bonding experience.

Hiring a reputable, professional moving team can prevent a ton of stress.  Career movers know how to handle furniture without damaging your walls and door frames, and will make sure your delicate items arrive in good condition.  Some movers assist with packing, disassembly, and unpacking so you can stay focused on work and avoid the heavy lifting.

Depending on the size of your home, moving locally will cost between $1,000 to $3,000.  If you’re moving between cities, expect to pay closer to $6,000 to $8,000.  And if you’re moving across Canada – say from Vancouver to Toronto – it will cost you between $10,000 to $20,000.


Man and woman leaning on a moving box in a bedroom; moving is an inconvenience that's included in the cost of selling a homeThe Cost of Inconvenience

Selling a home can feel like taking on a second job in a brand new field.  Taking time to sell your home disrupts your work and social life for months on end.  It takes an average of 12 home showings to sell through a conventional listing, and 30 percent of your potential buyers will back out.  While your home is listed, you’ll have to keep it show-ready for open houses and short-notice showings.

Selling on the MLS means you have almost no control over the timeline.  On top of that, you’ll deal with the stress of no shows, insulting offers, and the uncertain wait for the buyer’s financing approval.


Adding Up The Costs

It costs serious dough to list and sell your home in Canada.  You’ll need to hire cleaners, repairmen, inspectors, inspection.  Then you’ll stage the home, find a buyer, and let realtors, lawyers, and bankers bite into your revenue. Finally, you’ll hire a team to help you move.

Factoring in all of your expenses, the total cost of moving in Canada can be as high as $60,000.


Realtor commissions at 4% $20,000
Cleaning $     600
Staging $  3,000
Legal fees $  3,000
Mortgage discharge fee $     300
Land transfer tax $  8,000
Moving $  3,000
Fast sale discount of 3.5% $18,500
Total cost without repairs $56,400
Total cost with repairs $66,400


Keep in mind that expenses like cleaning, staging, and hiring an experienced negotiator will increase your revenue and offset some of these selling costs. 

Nonetheless, our selling expense estimate of ~$50,000 means parting ways with a serious chunk of change.

Fortunately, there’s a much faster, easier, and less costly way to sell your home – directly to an investor.  Cash buyers will purchase your home in its current condition in as few as 7 to 10 days.  

There are many benefits of selling your home for cash.  You’ll save time, lower your expenses, reduce your stress, and be able to focus on your own life.

Cash Offer Canada is a registered home buyer that charges a flat rate fee of $6,500 per sale.  If you’re in one of our Canadian locations, we’ll provide an instant cash offer on your home pending our inspection.  To find out more and to get a cash offer for your home, please contact us today.

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