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1. How do you get paid and how much do you get paid?
Our governing bodies here in Ontario require us from not referring to a commission as ‘typical’ or using the word ‘average’, so this is a Hypothetical sales scenario:
The way “commission sales” are structured when buying a property, is that the home sellers generally set the commission fees. In our market lets say a commission fee for a buyers sales representative is 2.5% plus HST. The listing side or sellers sales representative also would get a 2.5% commission fee plus HST.
There really is no “set fee” because it’s a free market. Some sellers only offer 1% and some ‘for sale by owner’ sellers offer no remuneration to buyers if they want a professional sales representative/realtor to represent them in a sale.
When you want to work with a Realtor/ Sales representative to represent you as a buyer, you will be asked to sign a buyer’s representation agreement. This stipulates that if you buy a home with your Realtor as your representative, but the sellers aren’t paying a 2.5% commission rate, you may be responsible to pay the difference. This should all be discussed in detail before you see any properties, to protect you, to be clear on the options you have and to protect the Realtor that is working hard for you that they will indeed get paid.
2. Should I buy or sell first?
This answer is personal. Hypothetically speaking;
If you have a place to move to (let’s say your mom’s house) incase you don’t find a place to buy in the time frame of your home’s closing, then go for it- sell first!
If you think you can find a house to move into easily, the market is hot, your home is clean and in ‘sellable’ condition and you have the financing to bridge financing for a few months (at least), then you should be safe to buy first. I would recommend you look during the time your home is on the market to confirm that there are suitable homes for you to purchase. You can also make an offer on a home that is conditional on you selling your home. Not a lot of sellers will accept this condition on their sale. (It does depend on the location of the home, the kind of market we are in and the sellers conditions, time frame of their move and where they are going too.)
3. I’m so excited to go out and look at homes! Will you show me 600 homes I’m curious about?
I’m obviously being sarcastic, but you should be able to narrow it down and do some homework before we go out to see even one home. Don’t fall in love with a home you can’t afford or that doesn’t really suit your criteria. It also gets more and more frustrating looking through so many homes and not finding a home you love right away.
Things you need to know before seeing even one home:
1 – You need to speak to a mortgage agent and know what price range you can qualify for.
2 – You need to know what you’re looking for. You should have a “must-have/ wish” list. How many bedrooms, bath, neighbourhood amenities you desire etc. (Contact me and I’ll send you a wish list formula).
3 – You will be asked to sign a buyer representation agreement.
I love looking at homes too! I love everything about looking and buying homes. I teach my clients what’s important to look for in a home before purchasing. My clients see the value in my services and know signing a B.R.A. is an agreement that has some very important information to protect you the buyer and me, the Realtor representing you.
4. Why do I need a Sales Representative/Realtor when buying from a builder or a seller directly?
Having a Realtor represent you on a home sale, means someone is looking out for your best interests and only your best interests, and not negotiating on behalf of the sellers/builder. The sellers have already signed an agreement with the “listing agent/Realtor” to represent them “first”. It’s like having one lawyer in court representing both sides. I would never go into a courtroom without a lawyer representing my needs first. You need to fully trust your (buyer’s) representative to represent you, your needs and wants as well as be able to lessen any surprises along the way, negotiate on your behalf for things like; date of inspection, visits, closing, and other items not included in the sale.
It is possible to just deal with a “listing agent/Realtor” to represent both you and the sellers. Some people think they will save money by asking the “listing agent/Realtor” to reduce their commission if they “double end it”.
Here is a scenario: Lets say the total commission for both a sellers representative and a buyers representative is 5%. The sellers take it out of the amount the buyers pay for the house. Let’s say the house sells for $500,000.00. The commission on this is a total of $25,000.00 – It gets split in half; half to the buyer’s Realtor and half to the seller’s Realtor. If you negotiate a 1% discount on the total commission, this reduces the total commission to $20,000.00. That’s a savings of $5000.00.
Is a savings of $5000.00 worth it to you if you consider the possible issues of non-disclosure, lack of good representation, honest negotiating for the best price? If you are paying a lawyer to represent you would you ask for a discount in fees and expect the same type of representation? They should be able to refer you to another agent in their brokerage so the representation is fair and honest. A sales representative should represent you fully and not be allowed to represent both sides, but the law in Ontario allows Sales representatives to represent both a seller and a buyer.
5. Do I need a lawyer?
Yes, in Ontario you need a lawyer to complete the real estate transaction, as well as to help protect you from fraud. Be prepared to show Identification on any real estate transaction.
6. If I want to offer less than the listing price on a property I want to buy, how much less can I offer?
It’s up to you. My opinion is this; a few things have to be in place before one makes an offer so much lower than the asking price. Homes can be overpriced based on the comparable homes in the area, or that the sellers were not getting any other offers. Also the market may be slow. Every scenario is different.
7. Why do I have to write a written contract? Can’t I just make a verbal offer like on t.v.?
The laws in Ontario are such that when purchasing property you can’t just make a verbal offer. If you are serious and want to purchase a home, you have to put it in writing.
8. There are so many Realtors/Brokerages to choose from! Why should I pick you?
You’re right, there are a lot of sales representatives out there. It’s not easy but you’re doing the right thing by checking out my website first.
I empower my clients by helping them buy the right home for their needs. I offer professional guidance on things like renovation costs, design and space planning during the search for a home. I also offer a free staging consultation for my sellers.
I negotiating well and on your behalf as either a buyer or seller, I don’t represent both sides. Unlike other agents who are only interested in their commission, I don’t take on too many clients because I pride myself on giving excellent customer service. I don’t want my clients to feel rushed or that they are “just a sale” to me. There is an interview process to explain my extensive services, and to see if we like working with one another. If you’d like to set up an appointment, I would be happy to meet you at your convenience.
Think of it as a job interview. I recommend you speak to at least 3 agents before you hire (me!)…I mean one of us. You should choose a real estate representative you feel comfortable with, someone you like, trust and you communicate well with. There are many agents who have diverse life experience in different fields and skill sets that can bring more to the table than an agent who claims to have been in the real estate business for X number of years. Just having years of experience doesn’t mean you’ll want to view houses with them day in and day out, or that they are marketing your property to get you the most buyers. It can be a long process. The average Realtor works with a client for 6-12 months. You should feel as comfortable with your Realtor as you do with one of your friends or trusted colleagues.
9. What if I change my mind and no longer want to buy a home?
I understand that buying or selling a property can sometimes be overwhelming. Sometimes people get laid off or life changes direction on you.
If you have already signed an agreement of purchase and sale on a property, this is a very difficult contract to break. Most times you cannot break the contract, if all the conditions have been met, you waved the conditions on financing or your right to inspect the property, it’s a done deal. If you just had a change of heart – you would have to go through with the sale and put the home back up for sale immediately.