Have you ever bought or sold a house, condo or apartment? I’m sure that if you’re like most Canadian adults you either have already or will go through this process a number of times during your life.
Over the past thirty years or so, my wife and I have bought and sold our share of houses, condos and apartments. The first thing that pops into your mind once you start thinking about selling is which realtor to use. Well lets not be too hasty. Why use a realtor at all?
Of the properties that We have bought and sold over the years about 50% have been with a realtor and 50% on our own. To be quite honest with you, doing it on your own is the easiest and most effective way of selling your home.
First lets look at what is going to take place and who has the most invested in the deal. Obviously if you are the seller you are the one with the asset and the greatest amount at stake. Once your home is sold that’s it. The price you agree upon and receive from the buyer will not somehow magically increase a few years down the road. When the deal is done, it is done. So for this reason you have to know what the market is like and where your home fits in. You are an important part of the equation because you have the property for sale.
If you are the buyer, you have what is needed to make the deal happen, the cash or the ability to borrow the necessary cash to purchase the home. Once the deal had been completed, in all likelihood your new property will increase in value over the years. Once in a while it goes the other way, but that is not normally what happens. You also are an important piece in the equation. Without you and your funds the deal can not be completed.
Enter “The Realtor”. What the realtor is suppose to bring to the table is the ability to bring the buyer and the seller together. He is suppose to actively advertise and seek out a qualified buyer, arrange for the buyer to view the property and then ……. Now get this ……. Wait for it …… The realtor is suppose to SELL Your property to the prospective buyer. That’s right, he is actually suppose to sell the property.
If you choose to use a realtor he or she will come to your home, look the home over, he may ask a few questions about squar footage and the age of the property and then sit down at the table to tell you your options. He or she will have brought along “comparables” for you to look at and see what similar homes in your area have recently sold for. If you agree to let the realtor list your house he will have you sign a contract, take pictures, maybe a few measurements and will be gone.
Your realtor will now compose a standard sals pitch to put online with the MLS listing and on his company website if they have one. He may list your home in the local real estate paper that nobody reads any more and then he will wait. Like a fisherman with his bait cast into the lake, he will wait.
Your phone rings. The realtor has a nibble. “Can we show your home between 1:00 pm and 3:00pm?” He asks.
Well what are you going to say? No! I don’t think so. You will dust and vacuum, clean and fuss, grab the dog, the kids and out you go. Don’t forget to turn all the lights on when you go. And leave your security system disarmed as the realtor wont be familiar with your system.
Ok, we have you out of the house ……. So where are you going to go for two hours? Drive to the super market and get a few things, take the dog and your child to the park for an hour ……. But its raining…. Lets go and watch the people look at your home.
You arrive back at your place and park discreetly down the street a few doors and settle in for a wait. It only took half an hour at the store you still have over an hour to go. But the time does go bye. You have watched diligently and nothing has happened. Perhaps they were there before you got back from the store.
Here they come. They turn into your driveway. They’re getting out of the car and the realtor is fumbling with the lock. Finally they enter the house and you settle back to wait …. But what’s this? They are out already. They couldn’t have gotten past the livingroom. In the car they all pile and off they go.
It was a good thing you sat across the street and watched for them or you could have been driving around for another hour or so. Realtors don’t advise you once they have been to your home. I guess that is because the realtor who just showed your home is not the realtor you hired to sell your home. This realtor doesn’t even know your name or phone number. How could he let you know, which bring up another question ….. Where is your realtor? The one you hired to sell your house. The one who you will be paying $10,000 to $20,000 or more to sell your house.
As you enter your house you see the lights are still on (the good realtors turn them off to let you know they have been there). The realtor
may have left a card or maybe not. There is no standard for anything.
Feedback from realtors is normally a special thing. The only time you are likely to hear from your realtor would be to ask you to lower your price for a quicker sell. He would love to sell your home quick, get paid and be on to the next one …… but at your expense of cource. He gets you to reduce your price by $5000.00 and he only loses about $175.00. Kind of one sided wouldnt you say?
Of all the properties we have sold the “Listing Agent” (OUR REALTOR” has never …. Repeat never been the selling agent. In fact it has been an anomally for my agent to even show our property.
Realtors have no interest in your property. They DO NOT sell your property. They simply SHOW your property to people who have already decided to buy a property. The buyers are simply looking for the property that suits their needs. The realtor simply brings the key.
A sign out front, an ad on Craigslist and Kijji and a lower price (no realtor fees) and a sales contract that you can get online or from the Real Estate Board and you can do a better job.
When you get a call from a perspective buyer, you set the time, you are there to show and sell your property. You have the answers to questions like property taxes, energy costs, traffic age of roof and furnace etc etc. you are the one with the answers.
So you can see that with a little bit of research and a little prep work you can do a far superior job of selling your property than any realtor.
Make sure you use a good real estate lawyer and have the buyers use one of their own. Take a substantial deposit and take everything to the lawyer.
Its that simple. The lawyer, who you would have to use anyway, looks after it from here. Any bumps in the road or hickups that arise would have done so even if you had used a realtor.
Good Luck and have fun!