It is no secret that real estate sales persons are not the most respected professionals. Much of that has to do with our history, and our portrayal in film and television. This idea of representatives swindling the naive seller just to make a quick buck. In reality however, this is not the case, yet the reputation remains.
With the the advantages of the Internet, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) has been on the rise; as it has become easier for homeowners to represent themselves in the sale of their home. While some will tackle the process of selling their home completely on their own, numerous companies have popped up offering, for a small fee, a platform allowing you to represent yourself. A quick Google search of ‘FSBO’ will list off the top companies out there explaining the benefits of selling on your own.
If that is something that interests you, then please consider the following.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario’s (RECO) video on ‘Benefits of Working With a Registered Real Estate Professional’ says it best:
“Selling a home can take significant time, and effort. When you sell your home yourself, you’ll be responsible for everything – setting the right price, advertising, showing the property, viewing offers, negotiating terms, and managing the paperwork once the agreement is reached.”
Many sellers do not consider the amount of time and effort these responsibilities take, and instead focus on how much money they could save on not paying a commission. RECO advises you to “think about what your time is worth” and asks if you “really have the level of knowledge and expertise required to manage such an important transaction, and get yourself the best price”.
Say you want to list your home for $1.1 million dollars, and a few days later someone offers you $1.6 million, firm – $500,000 over listing price. You might jump at that, thinking you might not get a better offer. Little did you know that (in this situation), if you had a trained realtor representing you, they would have shown you what other properties similar to yours, in similar neighbourhoods, were selling for. You would see that such comparables were selling for $1.8 – $2 million; over and above the bully offer of $1.6 million!
Not having a real estate agent represent you when approaching a FSBO is a headache waiting to happen. Negotiating is tricky business, and while it is nice to think that two people representing themselves would be perfectly reasonable while conducting such a transaction, that is not always the case. On top of that, trying to ensure the contract has the proper conditions and clauses, it sounds like a risk that could lead to hefty legal fees down the line.
With a licenced realtor representing you, they are someone who is in your corner. You are their client, and they have a duty of care. By having an agent represent you as the buyer, it speaks volumes to the seller. It tells them that you mean business, that you are here to buy, and that you won’t settle for a bad deal. A buyer agent is a skilled negotiator, and will inform you if a deal is not in your best interest. Furthermore, in today’s market with multiple offers being commonplace, do you really want to go head to head with three or four other agents on your own?
At the end of the day real estate agents are there to represent you and to work in your best interest. They are held to a standard by the government, and have certain fiduciary duties to you. And if things go sideways, you will be thankful you have a professional in your corner.