by Michel Friedman
Real estate is still a “peoples’ business.” The help of a licensed REALTOR® is, in my opinion, critical for a fair and hassle-free transaction.
Here are 15 reasons why you should use a REALTOR®:
1. Most accurate and up-to-date market area comparables (sold and active properties).
2. Most up-to-date and accurate evaluation of a home.
3. Ability to “sell the house” to REALTORS® who are active in the area so they can bring their buyers.
4. Quick exposure to thousands of agents who each can bring a buyer (better chances of getting a higher price). Quicker sale, higher price.
5. Provide secure, day-long, easy access to the house.
6. Ability to market — spend money up front on cards, letters and newspaper advertising.
7. Extensive social networking marketing.
8. Can lead to “multiple offers” situation resulting in an over asking selling price.
9. Reviewing offers with the seller, analyzing the offer, proper (legal) sign backs without needing a lawyer.
10. Proper and legal handling of deposit monies.
11. Provide buyers a wide variety of homes to visit and transportation to buyers.
12. Third-party (mediator) negotiations make it easier to reach a deal (but still working for your best interest).
13. Assistance with mortgage financing, home inspections and assisting your lawyer until closing.
14. Screening of potential frauds.
15. Does anybody (seller or buyer) really save money when both ends want to save?
To FSBO sellers:
If you want to sell your house, which is valued at $600,000, and a buyer comes in (no agent) and tells you, “I will pay you $500,000 for your house,” chances are you will say no and be angry about the offer.
If that same buyer came in with a REALTOR®, the buyer has probably been pre-qualified (meaning the bank allowed them to buy a property for $600,000). Their REALTOR® showed them other properties and this one is the best $600,000 property on the market. The REALTOR® also most likely showed them what other properties are selling for and are listed for (comparables) in that area. It will be easy to sell the house to the same buyer that the private owner most likely kicked out for full market value.
I once approached a FSBO and tried to convince her to list her house with me. She told me that she sold the house already and was very proud to show me a napkin on which it said: “I will buy your house (with the amount to be paid). Under that it said “ I (the seller) hereby acknowledge receiving $10,000 as deposit for the purchase of the property.”
I asked the seller if she received the $10,000 and she said the buyer gave her $5,000 and told her he will bring in the other $5,000 in two weeks. I don’t know what happened to the deposit, but the seller still lives in the same house 15 years later.
What if a buyer is flying in from out of town for two days to buy a house and then flies back to prepare for the move? Is that buyer going to have time to look at your house when they work with a REALTOR® who will show them a dozen houses in one day? What if they pass by your house during the day? Is there a lockbox on your house? You could have just missed the highest paying buyer.
When you sell your house and go to buy the next house for yourself, will you go to FSBO homes only or will you ask a REALTOR® to show you properties?
To buyers working without a REALTOR®:
Will you also “close” the property without a lawyer? You can if you want to, but it doesn’t make sense, does it?
How much will your lawyer charge you to put together a “custom” agreement of purchase and sale and will the lawyer charge you if the negotiations are not successful?
What happens if your home inspector did not catch the fact that the house was previously a grow op and the seller who did not disclose that fact has left the country shortly after closing?
What if you paid too much for the house?
What if a REALTOR® has information about a specific property that you can take advantage of, but you are not working with an agent?
For both buyers and sellers:
Yes, there are options today. Yes, there is technology today. But working with a REALTOR® is still the best and safest way.
(Michel Friedman is broker with Orange Square Realty Inc., a Toronto-based brokerage.)