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Choosing a Realtor vs For Sale By Owner

There are some people who think that selling or buying a house is easy and they figure that they could easily do it themselves, saving on having to pay a commission to Realtors.  Yes, there are some instances where this works out but it also can turn into a very messy situation.  There is a lot more to selling and/or buying a home then listing it online and sticking a For Sale sign on the front lawn. 

Here are some key reasons why using a Realtor is not only worth the commission but in some instances safer (both financially and physically):

  1. If a Realtor has your home listed For Sale, appointments for viewings have to be made through the listing office.  Only RECO registered Realtors are able to make appointments and show homes when they are listed with another Realtor.  You do not have to question whether that is showing your home someone is really a Realtor or not.
  2. Realtors bringing Buyers through the home typically have ensured that the Buyer has been pre-approved for a mortgage and can afford the home that they are viewing.  A Realtor would not waste their time showing a Buyer homes that they cannot afford.  If you have your home listed For Sale yourself, you have no way to determine whether someone is actually viewing your home with interest to buy or if they are just a nosey neighbour from down the street casing it for valuables.
  3. There is paperwork required to be signed between the Realtor and Buyer, usually signed before going out for showings.  This paperwork, typically a Buyer Representation Agreement, requires the Buyer to give their full names and phone number to be reached at.  In some cases Realtors will have already collected identification for FINTRAC and have that on file before showing homes.  This identification collection is allowed to be asked for by Realtors under the Privacy Act but if you are selling your home yourself you have no recourse to collect this information.  If you are selling your home yourself you could require viewers to sign-in but they could provide false information and if anything was to go missing during a showing or later on down the road you would have a more difficult time tracking the individuals down.
  4. A Realtor has Errors & Omissions Insurance in case there is a problem that occurs in the paperwork or if something is misrepresented during the buying process.  This is important for Buyers and Sellers because you have recourse against an Agent if there is a problem or you can have protection from being personally responsible for issues that may arise.
  5. Realtors have access to all of the necessary paperwork to safely bind both parties into a fair Agreement of Purchase and Sale.  There is not one party that is going to have an advantage over another but rather all people involved will be on a level playing field and equally protected.
  6. There is lots of information regarding a home that is not available to the general public, but Realtors have access to this information.  Realtors have access to all of the previous sale information about homes, assessment information and generally have a better idea of price points of homes then the average person.  They also have more information and resources to get information about property taxes, fees associated with building a new home and other general area information.
  7. Realtors have the proper access to Trust Accounts to hold deposits safely.  Yes, you can have a lawyer hold deposits (which if you are buying or selling privately we recommend you do) but in some cases there is no way to regulate where/how the money is being held.

Purchasing or Selling a home(s) is probably the biggest financial transaction you will enter into during the course of your life.  It is not worth the risk to sell or purchase a home privately with such huge risks.  We have seen many people enter into legally binding contracts, for private sales, that once they realized what they had signed they wished they had consulted a Realtor. 

If you are thinking of Selling or Buying a home privately, give us a call first and we can discuss the upsides and pitfalls of private home sales before you make your decision.  Anyone of our HomeLife Emerald Realty Ltd. Brokerages 5 full-time Realtors would be happy to discuss private sales with you in more depth and we can be reached at 705-424-0770.

Bill Forsyth
Sales Representative/Owner
billforsyth@homelife.com

Jenna Forsyth
Broker of Record/Owner
jennaforsyth@homelife.com