Use a REALTOR® or Go It Alone?
Do you really need a REALTOR® when you sell your home, or can you do it yourself?
Selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions most of us will ever make. REALTORs® have the qualifications and experience to help make that transaction as smooth and painless as possible. Handling a real estate transaction on your own can be like trying to repair your own car; you may have all the right parts and tools, but unless you have the skill of a professional, you may end up making a very costly mistake.
Most people who buy and sell their homes do enlist the services of a REALTOR®. Those who go the “do it yourself’ route often wind up changing their minds and contacting a REALTOR® when they discover the process is more complex, time-consuming and intimidating than they thought.
The main reason people attempt to sell their own homes is to save on the real estate commission. But will you really save money if you sell your home yourself? Maybe. But maybe not. Most buyers expect a discount because you aren’t paying a real estate commission, and as a result may offer you less than fair market value for your home. Determining the fair market value is one area requiring a REALTOR®’s extensive knowledge and training. If you set your price too high, you may frighten off potential buyers; set it too low and you could lose thousands of dollars needlessly. One of your REALTOR®’s most important tasks will be to help you decide upon a realistic market value for your home; one that will enable you to sell it quickly and for the best possible price.
Through the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®), your REALTOR® will ensure your home gets maximum exposure to other REALTORS® and their potential buyers. This is just one of the many ways a REALTOR® will market your home. He or she may also advertise in newspapers, on television and/or on the Internet. Your marketing plan may also include an open house for REALTORS® and for the public. A REALTOR® will work with you to develop a marketing plan that meets your needs.
Do you really have the time it takes to sell your home? A REALTOR® will write and pay for the ads to market your home, remain available day and night for calls from prospects, host open houses on the weekends, show your property on short notice, screen potential buyers, fill out all the paperwork, handle the negotiations and do dozens of other things required to sell a home. When you consider the amount of time invested, are you really saving any money by going it alone?
Many homeowners lack the skill to negotiate the best price for their home. Selling your home can be a highly emotional experience, making it almost impossible to remain neutral when potential buyers make negative comments about the property. A REALTOR® is a skilled negotiator who can remain impartial during the negotiations and keep your stress levels to a minimum.
Use a REALTOR® to sell your home
When you consider all the services they provide -marketing, negotiating, dealing with contracts and legal issues -it pays to have a REALTOR® on your side. Working with a REALTOR® -a licensed real estate professional who is a member of his or her local real estate board and/or the Manitoba Real Estate Association -entitles you to a vast array of services and benefits you would not get if you “do it yourself’.
What to Expect from a REALTOR®
Buying or selling a home may be one of the biggest financial transactions you will make in your lifetime. It can also be a very complicated and frustrating process.
You will need a friend to help you every step of the way. A friend who is highly trained, very knowledgeable and has ethics beyond reproach. Your best friend in a real estate transaction is a REALTOR®, a member of your local real estate board and The Manitoba Real Estate Association.
You can expect a great deal from a REALTOR® whether you are buying or selling.
The REALTOR® you choose is working for you, the vendor, and typically not for the people who are the potential buyers of your home.
The REALTOR® gets paid, usually in the form of a commission, from a percentage of the proceeds of the selling price of your home.
In line with the strict code of ethics the REALTOR® must follow, he or she will disclose this arrangement to you clearly, fully and in writing.
The REALTOR® is experienced in the marketplace and can offer you expert advice on what price to set for your house, how you can make your house more attractive to potential buyers and what marketing plan will sell your home quickly, efficiently and smoothly.
The REALTOR® has contacts among potential buyers currently looking for a home. He or she can quickly separate the merely curious “lookers” from the “buyers”.
As a member of the local real estate board, the REALTOR® can list your home on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), which gets the details about your home into the hands of thousands of potential buyers. Only REALTOR® are able to list homes on MLS®.
When you are buying a home…
The REALTOR® will make it crystal clear to you whether he or she is working for you, the buyer, or the seller.
With his or her wide experience and contacts, the REALTOR® can direct you to your potential “dream home” much more quickly and efficiently, saving you many hours and lots of frustration checking the ads and driving around.
A REALTOR® has access to thousands of listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).
The REALTOR® is usually paid by the vendor; this is the case whether the REALTOR® works for the seller or the buyer. When a REALTOR® working as your agent helps you buy a house, he or she usually is paid from the commission paid to the vendor’s REALTOR®.
Whether buying or selling, a professional REALTOR®’s services can be invaluable. Their advice can save you from making bad choices and help make your home buying or selling experience a positive one.
The REALTOR®’S Edge
Ask any REALTOR® about what makes him or her a “REALTOR®”, you will probably get an answer like “I’m a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association”, or “As a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association, I’m bound by a code of ethics.”
The CREA Code of Ethics does make a REALTOR® special.
A code of ethics sets a standard for behavior which is above the ordinary, behavior which doesn’t look for the line defining legal and illegal or right or wrong but instead requires what is morally correct or “honorable”, as the Concise Oxford Dictionary says.
The Canadian Real Estate Association adopted their Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice in 1959 and has revised it eight times since to ensure that it remains relevant to the real estate business and real estate practitioners. And since 1959, members of the association have been conducting their business in accordance with the Code of Ethics.
The CREA Code of Ethics is made up of a series of statements about appropriate conduct for a REALTOR® in all aspects of a real estate transaction.
Here’s what the Code of Ethics has to say:
“Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.
“Through the Member, the land resource of the nation reaches its highest use and private land ownership its widest distribution. The Member is instrumental in molding the form of his or her community and the living and working conditions of its people.
“Such functions impose grave social responsibilities which the Member can meet only by diligent preparation, and considering it a civic duty to dedicate himself or herself to the fulfillment of the Member’s obligations to society. more on page 2 “The Member therefore must be zealous to maintain, and continually strive to improve, the professional standards of his or her calling:
“By keeping informed as to developments and trends in real estate,
“By endeavoring to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation or unethical practice in connection with real estate transactions,
“By rendering his or her services and opinions based only on the Member’s knowledge, training, qualifications and experience in real estate,
“By seeking no unfair advantage over, nor injuring directly or indirectly the reputation of, nor publicly disparaging the business practice of other Members, and
“By being loyal to the Member’s Real Estate Board and Provincial Association and active in their work.
“In the interpretation of his or her obligations, the Member can take no safer guide than that which has been embodied in the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
“No inducement of profit and no instructions from clients or customers can ever justify departure from the ideals of fair dealing and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty standard of moral conduct in business relations.
“Accepting this standard as the Member’s own, every Member pledges to observe the spirit of the Code in all dealings and to conduct business in accordance with the Standards of Business Practice as adopted by The Canadian Real Estate Association.”
The twenty-nine articles of the Standards of Business Practice which follow the Code of Ethics are divided into four sections: Duties to Clients, Duties to Clients and Customers, Duties to the Public and Duties to REALTORS®. The Standards of Business Practice is even more specific than the Code of Ethics about how REALTORS® should conduct their business.
With these kinds of standards, doesn’t it make sense to use a REALTOR®?
REALTOR® is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and describes a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.