I appreciate your question. Your mother is clearly in a desirable neighbourhood, and since she owns the property, it’s entirely her decision. If she has no intentions to move, she could post a “no solicitation” sign on her front door, which may help to deter unwanted visitors.
Let’s assume, however, that she is open to the idea of selling. This is a good occasion to discuss an issue that sometimes comes to the attention of my colleagues at the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). Folks who have been out of the market for many years may not know the current value of their home, which can make them susceptible to lowball offers that might seem like very lucrative and other aggressive tactics from buyers looking to capitalize.
When your mother is ready to test the waters, she would be well advised to interview three or more real estate salespeople. An interview could consist of asking questions about their experience with her type of property, their general approach to buying and selling, and what she can expect in terms of communications and explanations of the process. She will likely want somebody who is patient and can explain everything in a way that she understands. I also recommend asking for references and verifying the salesperson is registered in good standing with RECO by using the search feature on the RECO website. When she decides upon a representative, the two of them should have a frank and open discussion about her needs, her finances, and her expectations of the service she will receive.
A registered real estate salesperson should be able to provide your mother with a market analysis of her home’s approximate value and negotiate with other real estate salespeople on her behalf.
Your mother could list her home with one of the salespeople who had approached her in the past. If she does, she should remember that there is the potential for conflicts of interest to arise where one salesperson is representing both your mom as the seller and a buyer who may already have expressed interest in the home.
Make sure your mother reads and understands any documents she’s asked to sign. If she wants to keep her hand-crafted oak paneling or an antique chandelier or other sentimental fixtures, she could ask her salesperson, or a lawyer who is insured to practice real estate law to specifically exclude such items from the sale of the property in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale because fixtures are generally included in a sale transaction.