In today’s market, many homeowners have considered “going it alone” and selling their homes without the help of a professional REALTOR® to “save the commission.” However, once they realize how complex and intimidating a real estate transaction can be, many people reconsider. There are over 100 steps to complete a real estate transaction. It requires an organized step-by-step approach that many homeowners just don’t have the time, skill or experience to carry out.
A REALTOR® provides a variety of services, including help in setting a listing price within current market guidelines. They develop a marketing plan, offer recommendations and advice to make your home more attractive and “saleable” and act on your behalf during negotiations to ensure your interests are protected.
Another advantage of working with a REALTOR® is the far-reaching market exposure your home will receive through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). This co-operative marketing system relays information about your home to a vast network of REALTORS® and, therefore, potential home buyers in your market. Your property gains more exposure, because it reaches the majority of the real estate professionals in your community. The greater the exposure your home receives, the more likely you are to find a buyer willing to pay your price.
Selling your home is not a simple procedure. It involves large sums of money, stringent legal requirements and the potential for costly mistakes. A REALTOR® is committed to spending the time it takes to help you sell your home quickly and for the best possible price.
A REALTOR® must disclose to you in writing, who exactly they represent in any real estate deal. A REALTOR® may represent a buyer or a seller; they may also represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction. Your listing REALTOR® is, in law, your agent. An agent owes his or her client the duties of utmost care, integrity, confidentiality and loyalty.
The process of selling a home with a REALTOR® starts with the listing agreement. It’s a contract between you and the brokerage company that the agent represents. It’s important the agreement accurately reflects your property details and clearly spells out the rights and obligations of all parties. Both you and the listing agent sign the listing agreement and each receive a copy. The agreement binds both parties to its terms and conditions.
A major issue for anyone selling a property is how much to list it for. Although you may have an idea of how much your house is worth, it’s important to have your home valued by a professional on its own merits. If your home is priced too high, there’s no sale; too low, and you lose on your investment.
A REALTOR® has the research and expertise to provide a market assessment of what similar properties in your area have sold for. They can also provide information on market history, such as the number of properties sold in your community the previous month or year.
A REALTOR® also has a number of marketing tools and options with which to promote your property. Up-to-date MLS® local listings and open house information are available online at www.winnipegregionalrealestatenews.com as well as in the print version available at 524 locations throughout Winnipeg and surrounding region. Also, through REALTOR.ca, the national property website, participating local real estate boards can also advertise listings to potential buyers across Canada and around the world.
Your REALTOR® may recommend an open house as a marketing strategy. There are two types: first is an agent’s open house, where sales representatives from the listing company will be invited to view your house. If you have signed an MLS® agreement, other REALTORS® may also be invited. Remember, each of these REALTORS® may have a prospective buyer.
The second type of open house is a public open house, where members of the public are invited to walk through your home and have a look. It’s an efficient way to show your home to many potential buyers at once. The listing agent will act as host, answering any questions.
Once a buyer is found, you will receive an offer that will detail how much, specify any conditions that may apply or be attached by the buyer, state when the buyer would like to take possession and when the offer expires. As an act of good faith, the buyer will make a deposit with the offer.
You don’t have to accept the offer as is. You may wish to make a counter offer that comes part way to meeting the offer’s conditions. The counter offer is one more step along the way to negotiating the final terms and conditions of the sale. A REALTOR® is experienced in making these negotiations on your behalf. Once signed by everyone, the offer is a binding contract. Make sure you understand and agree to all the terms in the document. You may want to have it reviewed by your lawyer before signing.
Then on or before closing day, lawyers representing you and the buyer will set up a trust account for the money coming from the sale and will pay off any mortgages you owe on the property. After these are paid, you will receive any money you have coming from the sale. You must deliver the property deed or transfer documents, mortgage details and keys to your lawyer. Your lawyer will register the mortgage discharge and transfer the deed at closing.
Here your responsibilities under the listing agreement end. You’ll have paid your listing agent the agreed-upon compensation. This can be done by your lawyer who can arrange the payment from the proceeds of the sale. In some provinces, notaries perform the same role in the real estate transaction as lawyers in other provinces. If you have any questions, check with a REALTOR®.
The sale of property is a complex business transaction. There are distinct advantages to having a REALTOR® who is well-educated, knowledgeable, and experienced. A REALTOR® also has access to an array of services, including the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), which can provide you with instant, thorough and accurate property information.
This article was published in a previous issue of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate News.