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What Does An Agent Do?

A licensed real estate agent takes care of nearly everything associated with buying or selling a property,
from beginning to end.

For the buyer, the right agent:

• Listens carefully to what the buyer is looking for in a home and then helps to define the search area based on an in-depth understanding of local neighbourhoods;
• Does legwork and sifts through possible properties and narrows down the choices so the buyer doesn't waste time viewing unsuitable properties;
• Accompanies the buyer when visiting available properties. Helps guide the buyer to the ideal property.
• Gives the buyer advice and guidance on price to help establish a reasonable price for a property based on market supply, demand, conditions;
• Devises a negotiating strategy to try to secure the property for the buyer at the best price;
• Has an extensive network of contacts and sometimes has leads on properties not yet on the market; Tells the truth about a home's positive and negatives;
• Follows up after the sale and before the deal closes;
• Develops a lasting relationship with the client.

For the seller, a good agent:

• Gives honest evaluations of the property, including current market conditions and comparable properties recently sold and currently available, as well as professional judgement (because no two homes are alike);
• Advises on the best way to present the property, including staging, repairs, improvements, etc.
• Helps the seller decide on the best price designed to generate the most interest in property;
•Is responsible for managing the showing of the property to various buyers through Open Houses or private showings;
•Promotes the property appropriately through the Internet, print advertising and other available means based on the property and the seller's goals;
• Screens buyers;
•Provides ongoing feedback to the seller on the status of the process and advises on any changes required to accommodate changing market conditions;
•Uses negotiating skills to secure the highest price possible for the property;
•Follows up after the sale but before closing;
• Develops a lasting relationship with the seller.

What Are The Agent's Responsibilities

An agent's responsibility is to work in the best interests of the client at all times in a confidential relationship. The agent's formal responsibilities to the seller are set out in the standard listing agreement. The agent's formal responsibilities to the buyer are set out in the buyer representation agreement. Both are contracts for a specified length of time and outline responsibilities of real estate brokerage and client. When I am in a client relationship with a buyer or seller I am always on call. I encourage my clients to call or email me any time.

Do I Have To Use An Agent To Sell Or Buy A Property?

No. It is certainly possible for a seller or buyer to complete a transaction without an agent but with none of the benefits outlined above that agents bring to their clients. As well, a real estate transaction is usually a very important event in lives of buyers and sellers. In most instances, having professional assistance in the process just makes sense.

How Do I Find / Choose An Agent?

Word of mouth is often the best way to find the right agent. Ask friends and colleagues for referrals. Visit open houses and ask questions. Observe how the agent works and whether you connect. Personality and fit are very important to most clients. A good agent for you is experienced, knowledgeable, confident, knows the market, but as importantly, connects with you, listens to you, and understands you. A relationship with an agent can become a personal relationship because buying or selling a house is an emotional experience as well as a financial one. Ask questions even if you're not interested in the house, and judge whether the agent is genuinely interested in you, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, etc.

Do I Need A Mortgage Broker?

Like a real estate salesperson, a mortgage broker saves you time, money, and stress. You only have to go through the application process once, and the broker does the legwork finding you the best deal with the various financial institutions offering mortgages. The mortgage broker works for you, in your best interest, gives unbiased advice and information. You don't pay for this personal service. The lending institution chosen pays the mortgage broker a commission.

According to a study done by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, over 50 percent of homebuyers accept the mortgage rate posted by their bank, and that means they don't know that they can negotiate a better deal. Another benefit of a broker is that he or she will help the client decide whether monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly payments are best. I recommend my clients talk to a mortgage broker to help them determine if a move is the right step for them now or in the future, depending on their circumstances.

Do I Need A Home Inspection?

Absolutely! Buying a new home is usually the biggest investment you'll ever make. It makes sense to have your potential new home carefully inspected by a licensed home inspector to protect you and your investment.

For the buyer, the home inspector examines the property to determine whether the house is sound. It covers roof, structure, electrical, heating, cooling, insulation, and plumbing. The home inspection is an important part of assessing the price of the home as it allows buyers to consider the additional costs of work needed.

For your own protection, a home inspection is also recommended if you're selling your home. For the seller, inspections are recommended so that the buyer is aware before deal closes of any defects in the property and anticipated costs of repair, or so that the seller has time before listing the property to do the necessary work to correct problems identified in the inspection. The last thing a seller needs is a hidden problem to be discovered before the deal closes, which could jeopardize the deal or dictate a price reduction.

I routinely work with home inspectors and can suggest a couple of names.

What Real Estate Fees Are Charged?

In general, a five percent commission is paid by the seller, split between the agent who represents the seller and the agent representing the buyer.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Definitely. Both the buyer and the seller need real estate lawyers to prepare the transaction documents, perform other required legal tasks, and officially close the deal. I routinely work with lawyers on both sides of the transaction and can suggest a couple of names.