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Canadians Shop For REALTORS

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 17 October 2000 00:00

When it comes to selling their real estate, Canadians want the best possible price in the shortest time with a minimum of hassle -- goals that do not set them apart from homeowners anywhere. The difference may be that some Canadians have choices and rights that they are unaware off.

Where is the best place to start once you have decided to sell? Acquaint yourself with the real estate market in your corner of Canada and understand your consumer rights.

Invest time researching the buyer perspective on your neighbourhood. Read the real estate section of local newspapers and visit open houses. If you haven't kept up with the market on an ongoing basis, then this step will take more time. Knowing what choice a buyer has in your area and price range may help with your decision making. And, of course, you'll have a chance to see how different Realtors handle perspective buyers at an open house.

You may decide to use a couple of the "free, no obligation, market evaluation" flyers that arrive in your mailbox. Steel yourself in case you meet aggressive salesmanship and remember the "no obligation" promise. By seeing a Realtor in action, you will get a feel for how they handle objections and tough questions. You will also know how much of their service guarantee they are prepared to put in writing.

Check out the Internet, too. Canadian real estate boards post most of their members' listings online, so you can get a feel for what other homeowners think their properties are worth. If you don't know the local board site or want to look further a field, try the official Canadian Multiple Listing Site sponsored by the Canadian Real Estate Association .

The important thing to keep in mind is that your property is worth exactly what a buyer is willing to pay for it, not what you spent or need. That's why the more you know about the types of people who might buy your home, the better able you'll be to attract their top dollar.

"Buyer Beware" must be your operative attitude in hiring a real estate brokerage. The following suggestions may help you make the best choice for your needs:

  • You're the boss Signing a listing form does not transfer ownership of your property to the Realtor. The listing – multiple listing or exclusive – merely gives the Realtor the authority to act as your agent or representative. Further, when there is a decision for you to make, they must explain your options and the implications of each so that you can make an informed decision, whether that is lowering the list price or signing back an offer. Have Realtors explain Agency Law to you and their responsibilities to you, the client. You may be surprised to hear that buyers now hire their own agent to help them negotiate the best deal.

  • Shop around. Ask for referrals from friends and neighbours. Discuss what they liked and disliked about the service and what they would do differently next time.

  • Beware the highest bidder approach Avoid basing your choice on promises to get you more for your property. Look for Realtors who provide you with information on recent sales, unsold listings and the competition so that you can, with their guidance, arrive at a realistic list price.

  • Stay in touch. Be prepared to call your Realtor regularly if they do not report back to you. Let your Realtor know you appreciate his or her efforts, but ask questions and make suggestions if you feel something is being overlooked.

    Getting to know the Realtors in your neighborhood long before you need one is an excellent way to keep up to date on property values and to be able to make an appropriate hiring selection when you are ready to sell. Are my suggestions too much bother or effort? The alternative is putting your faith and your finances blindly in a stranger's open hands.

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    PJ Wade

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