Important: This information applies to people who are looking to sell their property without a real estate agent.

These DIY tips will help protect you in the process; however, your best line of protection is to work with a real estate agent and a real estate lawyer before accepting an offer. Whether you have a real estate agent or not, the real estate lawyers at Lister Beaupre can help.

Selling privately

1.   There are different platforms on which you can sell your property (i.e. Purple Bricks, Comfree, Grapevine, etc.). Remember, if you are selling, you are responsible for all of the work involved in planning the sale, scheduling showings, running open houses and fielding questions from potential buyers.

2.   Before you put the property on the market, you should:

a.   De-clutter and deep clean your space. It does not take much for a potential buyer to be turned off or to assume that other things are wrong with the property simply because it is cluttered or dirty;

b.   Depersonalize your space (i.e. pictures of your children or favourite pet should be tucked away). It is important for potential buyers to envision themselves in the space rather than see it as your space;

c.   Take pictures of the property AFTER you complete items a) and b). If you plan to take the photos yourself, consider a higher-end camera with a lens (you can rent one) to take wide-angle shots of each room so that potential buyers can get a feel for the space before they visit. Alternatively, you can hire a photographer to take the photos for you;

d.   Consider mapping out your space and putting a sketch of the layout of the property in your ad. Just as pictures help potential buyers visualize the space, a sketch will show how your space flows;

e.   Consider obtaining an appraisal of your property by a licensed real estate appraiser to assist you in determining the price at which to list the property. The number-one issue with selling privately is being unaware of the true value of your property and listing it at a price that is too high or too low;

f.   Consider having your own home inspection done prior to putting the house on the market. This is especially important if you have doubts about lingering issues that are likely to be discovered in the future by a potential buyer’s inspector and can be helpful in eliminating surprises. A home inspection will help you determine if you should take the time and spend money on items that may make your home more attractive to a potential buyer. If you do have an inspection done, it is best to not share the results with potential buyers so that they are not influenced by it;

g.   Be careful about what you disclose, and how you disclose it to a potential buyer or buyer’s agent (if you know the answer, be truthful; if you do not know, admit it).

3.   Once you have completed the above, you are now ready to list. In your listing, give a full description of the space and each room. Remember, you know your house, but a potential buyer knows it as well as your description and photos present it. To attract potential buyers, try to distinguish yourself from your competition (i.e. brag about upgrades and special features that make your property a more suitable choice than other properties).

Do not be afraid to ask questions. You should have a real estate lawyer on speed-dial if you are selling privately so that you are ready if you receive an offer or a potential buyer or agent asks questions, you will know how to respond.

Always be prepared for negotiation. We can help you with what to expect and what happens when you receive an offer. If you do receive an offer, you should consult a lawyer BEFORE accepting the offer. We cannot assist to the same degree if you have already signed an agreement.

If you have any questions about selling privately, please call Marc and Jade at 613-234-2500 or email us at and

We can also provide you with worksheets to assist you with the process.