Buying or selling a home is the biggest transaction most of us will ever go through. That’s why it’s so important to be informed and take advantage of expert advice.
If you decide to work with a registered real estate professional, you’ll have help navigating the buying or selling process along with the added benefit of valuable consumer protection from the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).
All brokers and salespersons in Ontario are registered with, and regulated by, RECO. RECO’s job is to protect your best interests by maintaining a fair, safe and informed real estate marketplace. This includes enforcing the laws that all real estate professionals in Ontario must follow, on behalf of the provincial government.
Working with a real estate professional means you’re automatically backed by RECO’s three pillars of protection, including…
- Real estate professionals must complete education courses before they are allowed to trade in real estate, and they complete mandatory continuing education courses every two years to keep their knowledge up-to-date and their skills.
- All brokers and salespersons in Ontario are required to uphold professional standards that stress fairness, honesty and integrity. They must follow rules and regulations that are designed to protect consumers.
- Deposit insurance provides you with peace of mind knowing that the buyer’s deposit will be held in trust, and insured against loss, insolvency or misappropriation by a brokerage until the deal closes and the money is paid out to the right people. Additionally, real estate professionals must hold errors and omissions insurance to pay for damages and legal costs arising from claims related to their involvement in a real estate transaction.
Selling your home whether you’re moving to accommodate your growing family or looking for a smaller space to be your empty nest, selling your home is a big decision.
To help you make smart decisions, it’s important to think with your head and not your heart.
Here I’ve put together some helpful tips to keep in mind and make the process smoother.
- Don’t be tempted to hire the first real estate professional you meet. Make sure the fit is right, check their references and visit the RECO website to confirm their registration.
Understand what you’re signing
- Before you sign a listing agreement with the brokerage, ensure you know what it means, how long it will be in effect and what the different clauses mean. Ask questions and seek independent legal advice if you’d like a second opinion.
Show the facts
- Include all your home’s details in the listing, from the square footage to recent renovations to items that are and aren’t included (water heater, appliances, drapery, etc).
Plan your open house wisely
- Be proactive and speak with your real estate professional before the open house to set ground rules and identify ways to protect yourself and your property.
Minimize risk by removing all valuables and securely store anything with your personal information, like credit card statements and receipts.
Know your options
- When reviewing offers on your home, the details of the offers will remain confidential between you and your real estate professional. You may get multiple offers, and your real estate professional is there to help you make the best choice.
- Remember that there are closing costs associated with selling a home: real estate commissions, legal fees, moving expenses, and more.
Expect the unexpected
Does your closing date on the sale align with when you’ll be moving into your new home? Have a contingency plan in place in case the dates don’t match up. Above all, working with a registered real estate professional will help you navigate the many steps and decisions involved in the home buying process.
Contact Lance Nielsen REALTOR, Red and White Realty Brokerage.
Do your homework
- Get informed about the buying process before it begins to save time, hassle and money.
- Don’t be tempted to hire the first real estate professional you meet. Make sure the fit is right, check their references and visit the RECO website (www.reco.on.ca) to confirm their registration.
Get it in writing
- If your real estate professional offers you rebates or incentives, they should provide the details in writing.
Understand what you’re signing
- Before you sign a buyer representation agreement, make sure you know what it means, how long it will be in effect and what the different clauses mean. Ask questions and seek independent legal advice if you’d like a second opinion.
Keep your budget in mind
- Remember to include legal fees, land transfer tax, mortgage insurance and utility hookups in your total cost.
- Know the costs of a home inspection and home appraisal or survey.
Moving costs can vary based on volume, distance and whether you hire a professional mover. Have wiggle room in your budget to cover the cost.
- Make your offer conditional on mortgage financing, a home inspection, the sale of your existing home, and/or other factors that are important to you. These conditions provide you important protection as a buyer.
Check what’s inside the walls
- Ask your real estate professional to look into the age and condition of the home’s systems, such as the plumbing and electrical. Find out if proper permits were pulled for any renovations. Consider a home inspection to further examine the home and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
- Make your offer as detailed as possible. Outline what will be included with the sale (e.g., appliances and light fixtures) and be clear if certain renovations need to be completed, based on the home inspection.
- If you encounter a bidding war, enter with a strategy. Set ground rules in advance about what you want from a home, what you’re willing to spend and what conditions must be met. Once your rules are set, stick to them.
- It can be tempting to waive your conditions, such as a home inspection. Think twice before doing this.
Expect the unexpected
Does your closing date on your new home align with when you need to move out of your existing home? Have a contingency plan in place in case the dates don’t match up.