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Toronto’s Fall Real Estate Roller-Coaster

Seller’s Expectations in a Shifting Market:

As we usher in the Fall of 2023, we find ourselves in a unique and, for many, unpredictable housing market with two interest rate increases over the summer months, a Bank of Canada announcement scheduled for September 6th, and a landscape that feels ever-shifting.

Homeowners and potential sellers are seeking clarity more now than ever. If you are considering selling your home or condo during these times, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, we will share our Top Five Tips to help you navigate this market and maximize your selling potential if you’re hitting the market this Fall. So, whether you’re a seasoned homeowner, a first-time seller, or someone trying to make sense of it all, join us as we take a deep dive into our top strategies that we feel will help set you up for success this season.

When picturing the real estate landscape of Toronto, the image that often comes to mind is a seller’s “paradise.” However, it’s time for a reality check. No matter how lacklustre the listing photos, we’re no longer in the days when any and every property would get a flurry of bids within hours.

So, Sellers, understanding today’s changing market is going to be paramount if you’re looking to win!

1/ Reasonable Expectations: The New Norm:

The golden age of real estate in Toronto, where homes would be snapped up at record prices regardless of the quality of the listing, is behind us (at least for the short term). Expect a grind, but let’s ensure it’s a fruitful one. Set realistic expectations and work with a broker with a finger on the market’s pulse. The days of record-breaking sales are waning. However, fair deals are happening. And if you have a turn-key property with a little something special, even better!

We advise our sellers to expect fluctuations in their property’s sale price, potentially as wide-ranging as $100,000. This shift is based on the unpredictable factors at play in the market. Your property might not sell within days, but it will still fetch a fair price. Even a week might seem like an eternity in the fast-paced Toronto market. But the current trend is edging towards a 2-4 week listing period.

Furthermore, don’t expect buyers to queue up with offers right after the property is listed. With buyers feeling they’re in a position of power, anticipate some complex negotiations. They’re looking for the most value for their money, resulting in unique terms, conditions, and clauses. With sellers still reminiscing about the market’s “golden age” and buyers taking cues from the current media outlets, negotiations promise to be eventful.

Here’s where the right representation can make all the difference. With a possible softening on the horizon, buyers and sellers will test the waters to understand the market’s upper and lower limits. Given the propensity of media to magnify any changes (often toward the pessimistic side), having a representative who’s grounded in reality is crucial.

If there’s one-word sellers and agents need to embrace in these times, it’s adaptability. Let’s illustrate! Launching your property the next day might not be the wisest move if the Bank of Canada announces a significant interest rate hike on September 6th (TBD). As an example, it might be prudent to give the market a few weeks to settle!

Moreover, keep an eye out for your competition. If a neighbour lists their property a day before you plan to, take a step back. Observe their strategy, learn from their successes or pitfalls, and leverage that knowledge when you hit the market.

Our team at Fox Marin constantly evaluates properties, adjusting for current conditions and ensuring no nasty surprises await our sellers. We’ll check one last time an hour before you list, ensuring we have the most up-to-date information.

Today’s real estate environment is sensitive. External factors, whether interest rates, political events, or even global affairs, can have ripple effects on the market. Predicting these changes is nearly impossible, making flexibility and adaptability the new currencies of the trade.
Gone are the days of rigid strategies and unyielding listing dates. If your agent is still on that train, it might be time to reconsider.

In this ever-shifting market, your success hinges on having an adaptable, knowledgeable partner in your corner. Our team is committed to guiding you through every twist and turn, ensuring your real estate journey is as smooth as possible.

2/ The New Realities of Toronto Pricing:

While trends and tactics have changed, the essence of real estate remains rooted in strategy. As Toronto’s Fall Market evolves, so must sellers’ strategies.

Historically, the downtown Toronto market, renowned for its condos and low-rise properties, has been a seller’s game. The age-old technique of listing low, marketing extensively for a week, and setting a date for offers—hoping to induce a bidding frenzy that rockets the price sky-high—was often successful. It’s a rush, especially when the property’s closing price defies logic. However, Fall 2023 may challenge this norm.

This approach will undoubtedly flourish specific properties, especially low-rise ones: detached, semi-detached, and row houses. If your property ticks the right boxes – great location, proximity to reputable schools, turnkey status, and aesthetic appeal without demanding renovations – this strategy may still be sage.

Over the years, the condo sector, driven predominantly by investors, has also often embraced the ‘list low and set an offer date’ method. Whether it’s an opulent condo or warehouse loft, this segment has benefitted from this strategy in the past. However, the winds of change suggest a different approach for Fall 2023. With predictions of an oversaturated condo inventory, the wise route might be to list just slightly above the property’s value. Having a more open-ended offer policy, or perhaps a 24-hour request for irrevocable offers, can balance the scales between seller aspirations and buyer expectations.

It’s important to be flexible – if you’ve played all your cards right with marketing, are responsive to potential buyers, and yet find the footfall lacking or feedback underwhelming, it’s a market signal. A softer market might necessitate recalibrating your expectations. If your property has lingered on the market for the past 30 days without any nibbles, it’s time to reflect and possibly adjust. Remember, selling a property isn’t just about the here and now; it’s about the next steps, be it a new home or investment opportunity. Maintaining pricing flexibility, especially amidst potential short-term downturns, can be a game-changer!

3/ Sellers, Prepare for a Shift in Buyer Dynamics:

Buyers are becoming more meticulous, wanting more for their dollar. We’ve noticed a trend evolve, especially in the last four to six weeks.

Offers to be subject to terms and conditions. The landscape now includes home inspections, condo inspections, appraisals, insurance status, certificate reviews, and financing clauses. Remember, once you receive an offer, expect a solid five business days to fulfill these conditions. At the same time, this may seem like a longer timeline than you’re accustomed to; knowing this in advance can set your expectations and make the process smoother.

Today’s buyers will be more discerning. They’re more cautious about minor repairs and might expect you (the Seller) to handle them. If you have rented appliances like a hot water tank, furnace, or air conditioner, be prepared for them to ask you to buy out that contract. Buyers today want more inclusions: think of specific light fixtures, drapery, hardware, or even particular pieces of furniture. And brace yourself; they might even prioritize their preferred closing date over yours!

In a climate where costs are escalating, buyers are hypersensitive to any added expenses. Properties with high maintenance fees, especially with soaring mortgage rates or homes needing renovations, can be a turnoff. The post-COVID world has seen a rise in renovation costs. Many now find it more feasible to buy a renovated home than venture into remodelling.
And condo buyers today are not just looking at the apartment but what’s behind the scenes (as they always should be, BTW). They’re concerned about the health of the reserve fund, any potential increases in maintenance fees, or upcoming special assessments. If you’re selling a property that might have these concerns, be ready to provide answers and potentially make concessions!

4/ Evoking Emotion in the Digital Age:

As we near the last quarter of the year, a fresh perspective in the real estate landscape demands attention to detail, emphasis on aesthetics, and a seamless transition from one’s digital presence to the real world A cornerstone principle at Fox Marin is that buyers purchase on emotion and justify with logic. How do you make a buyer feel in this age of information overflow, where your property competes with countless others at the tap of a finger?

Staging. Styling. Photography. Video. Marketing Collateral. Yes, we’ve always championed these, and if you’ve followed our journey, be it on our website, Instagram, or previous podcasts, this isn’t news to you. But come Fall 2023, the stakes are higher than ever. It’s not just about showcasing a house or condo – it’s about orchestrating a resonant narrative—a story that evokes both motivation and connection.

Whether you own a quaint low-rise, a penthouse overlooking the Toronto skyline, or that generic condo downtown, your property’s presentation can be its best asset or its downfall.

Buying a home isn’t just a financial commitment. It’s an emotional one. When potential buyers are scrolling through listings, they’re not just looking for a house; they’re looking for a home. And in this shifting market, with fluctuating sentiments and the looming spectre of interest rates, the emotional weight of their choice has never been greater.

Remember, buyers today are drowning in choices. Your property needs not just to be seen but felt. To truly engage, you have to offer them an experience. We’ve always believed that well-marketed properties induce trust. It’s not a conscious acknowledgment of the perfect lighting or impeccable staging but a subconscious, comforting feeling that ‘this feels right.’

It’s about the comprehensive experience: a pre-listing inspection, all repair quotes on hand, available permit information, a ready status certificate, and so much more. All these elements build trust. They ensure that the buyer, their families, and their agents feel secure, informed, and ready to take the next step!

In a changing market like Toronto, where discerning buyers rule the roost, cutting corners won’t do.

5/ The Art of Market Positioning in Real Estate:

Market positioning is often brushed under the rug when it comes to real estate. Commonly used in product sales, it’s a concept that deserves a spotlight when selling your home. Think of it: If launching a new hoodie or shoe line, wouldn’t you closely scrutinize competitors? Why should selling your property be any different?

Your Property: It’s Not Just a Home, But an Asset.

For a moment, strip away your property’s emotional ties and memories. See it for what it truly is in the market’s eyes: an asset. A product. And like all products, it’s juxtaposed against countless others. Understand this, and the importance of positioning becomes clear. Ask yourself, who’s winning in the current market and who’s not? What’s the narrative that the media is pushing right now? Does it favour sellers or buyers?

The market is a living entity, constantly shifting and reacting to various stimuli. As sellers, there’s a need to be in sync with its rhythm.

This involves recognizing current listings: It sounds basic, yet many overlook it. What’s on the market? At what price? What’s been a hit or miss in the past month?

Identifying potential buyers: Are you targeting millennials, parents supporting their university-bound kids with a condo, or retirees looking for a comfortable space?

Timing: Calendar events matter. Major holidays like Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur influence buying behaviours.

There’s a rhythm to listening, a dance of sorts. At the same time, it might be tempting to join the rush, especially when a new market paradigm emerges; a wise seller knows when to pause. Take September in Toronto, for instance. The aftermath of Labor Day witnesses a tidal wave of listings. But why throw your property into that whirlpool of competition? Sit back, observe, and discern. Learn from the successes and blunders of others. Such strategic patience and a clear understanding of market positioning can set the stage for a successful sale.

Market positioning isn’t just a buzzword; it’s an approach, a mindset. In a sophisticated city like Toronto, where buyers come with heightened expectations, sellers need every edge they can get. Understanding how to position their property in the market uniquely can make all the difference.

Remember, in the grand game of real estate, success isn’t solely determined by the property’s value but also by how it’s positioned in the vast marketplace. It’s not just about selling a house; it’s about selling it right.


So, with rising interest rates, a pending Bank of Canada announcement and an ever-shifting landscape, achieving clarity has never been more valuable in today’s market. The journey of selling is not just about plastering a for-sale sign on your lawn. So true!

It’s about setting expectations, understanding the little and the big nuances between condos and low-rise markets, differentiating well-market properties from the rest, and being ahead of the pack. So be prepared.

This season will be a grind and is for the grinders. Sellers might be reminiscing about past records, but buyers are on the hunt for deals.

What is the key to all of this? Pricing your property conservatively yet fairly, but being agile up until that listing date and then continuing to be agile as buyers today will come with a checklist, which often includes inspections and appraisals; and just remember, selling is as much of an emotional journey as it is a financial journey.

So make sure that you are clear on why you are doing what you are doing and that it’s resonating with you, not just on a financial level, but on an emotional level. If you’ve been with us through this episode, you’ve been equipped with strategies to thrive this fall; whether a seasoned homeowner or a newcomer to the selling game, our insights aim to set you up for success in the market.

Contact Fox Marin, Toronto’s downtown luxury real estate brokerage, today to learn more about selling your home this Fall 2023!

Contact Us (We’re Nice).

Kori Marin is a Toronto Broker & Managing Partner at Fox Marin Associates. For high-energy real estate aficionado Kori Marin, a well-lived life is achieved by maintaining an “all-in” attitude that realizes every last ounce of one’s full potential. This mindset has driven successful results in every aspect of her life – from her corporate sales and account management experience to her international travels to her years of fitness training and leadership – and is the hallmark of the exceptional work that she does on behalf of her clients in the residential real estate sector in downtown Toronto.