Whether you’re buying or selling, professional representation can help at every step of the process. Think of your REALTOR® as a guide through what will most likely be the largest transaction of your life.
Your Realtor is there to give advice and guide you through the home buying or selling process. They can help navigate potential pitfalls and fill in knowledge gaps you may have when searching for your first home.
Realtors work with their clients within a legal relationship called agency. This is established by a contract between you, the client, and your Realtor.
It’s important to understand if someone is working for you or for the home seller. If you haven’t signed a contract to work with a Realtor, they don’t work for you. If you have, then they’re legally and professionally duty-bound to act and advise based on your best interest.
Once agency is established, think of your Realtor as a business partner. They can:
- Help you adopt a sound negotiation strategy based on industry knowledge and experience and can negotiate on your behalf.
- Assess market history and current trends by reviewing the most recent home sale data on the Multiple Listing Service® and creating what’s known as a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. A CMA will prove invaluable when it’s time to make an offer or set your asking price.
- Help you market your home and become a link with other Realtors to locate homes that meet your needs.
- Recommend other professionals, such as a certified home inspector, lawyer or notary, insurance agents, reputable movers, or proven contractors.
- Help you find the right home at the right price – or help you get the most from your sale.
While finding the right home at the right price is an essential part of the buying process, many other factors are key to ensuring a positive and successful experience.
The first thing to look at is the property. There’s a lot to examine about the home itself. For example:
- Does the property have a buried fuel storage tank?
- Does it have asbestos insulation?
- What about an unauthorized rental suite?
- Has it had renovations, and were they done without a permit?
- Are there moisture problems?
- Are there unregistered easements, encroachments or statutory right-of-ways?
- Has the home ever been used as a grow-op?
There are lots of questions to ask. A Realtor and a home inspector can help you find the answers.
The neighbourhood your potential home is in has a big impact on your quality of life – and a big impact on the value of a home. For example, you may want to know:
- How close the home is to public transit?
- What school catchment it’s in?
- How far it is from amenities – can you walk there? Do you need to drive?
- Are there plans to re-develop or re-zone in the neighbourhood?
Again, your Realtor can help you find the answers to these questions.
A professional guide
There’s a multitude of documentation to navigate when buying or selling a home. Realtors deal with these on a daily basis and will help you navigate them.
Most importantly, the contract is the central legal document within a real estate transaction. Your Relator can help you develop a negotiating strategy and handle the details on your behalf. Realtors use standard form contacts which have been prepared by lawyers and tested by Canadian courts.
The right Realtor for you
You want to a Realtor who instills confidence. You need to feel comfortable with them. You may be working with your Realtor for several weeks or months. You’ll want to be comfortable with the person you choose.
A great place to start is with family and friends. Ask for recommendations. Take note of FOR SALE signs and visit a few real estate offices that appear active in your neighbourhood. Visit a few open houses and speak to the hosting Realtor.
Our MLS® listing website www.realtor.ca has a searchable directory as well. You can search by neighbourhood, areas of expertise, and other criteria.
When searching for a Realtor you should:
- Look for someone who is dedicated to their profession.
- Ask for references from their past clients.
- Ask about their level of training and education.
- You’ll want to have someone who knows the area where you want to buy and is familiar with homes in your price range.
- Lastly, be sure to discuss your expectations and limitations in your property search.
Buying or selling a home is a milestone moment in your life. Having a Realtor on your side can help make the process as easy and enjoyable as possible.