Why do you actually need a realtor when selling a home? What advantages are there to selling a home with a realtor vs selling your home yourself? In short, realtors have the experience, knowledge, skills and connections to help you through the process and to take on liability. The selling process involves many steps. Consider the following benefits of working with a realtor:
One of the most important roles of a realtor are negotiations, which are meant to give you an advantage to selling. And negotiations are varied by a large array of aspects, making every transaction different. For example, negotiations are different in different types of markets, for different styles of homes, and for different price ranges. Even a type of community can set negotiations apart from each other. Also, negotiations involve people, and every seller and buyer has a different motivation, which may influence the negotiations. Besides, negotiations can be about more than price alone. For example, conditions, terms, possession date or even furnishings are just a few examples of items realtors can negotiate about.
A realtor is licensed and extremely regulated by several organizations
Pricing your home right from the get-go to get the best price possible
As a seller, you can never underestimate the importance of pricing your home right at the time of listing it. Pricing your home too high can make it market stale, while you may miss out on money if pricing it too low. Pricing a home is not straightforward, either. What is a buyer willing to pay for the different features in a home? It takes some experience and many factors coming together to price a home correctly. Factors such as recently sold data, the type of market, the type of home, the state of the property and the current competition are just a few considerations that determine the ‘right’ price of a home.
A realtor has access to the correct data, as well as the experience to take all data and factors into account to come to a fair selling price of a home.
Liability and advice on what to disclose or not to disclose
A seller has the legal obligation to disclose those issues or defects in a home that can be hazardous or expensive to remediate. This responsibility of disclosing is somewhat of a grey area. Some defects are visible, while some are not. What is good judgment and what is the law when it comes to disclosure? A realtor has the knowledge and experience to advise what must be disclosed by law. This advice keeps a seller out of trouble in terms of liability.
A realtor is licensed and extremely regulated by several organizations. Realtors have a code of conduct and must abide by their clients’ instructions, buyer or seller, within the law. Realtors also carry insurance for errors and omissions. Having a realtor on your side means that a seller can always turn to the organization that fends for the consumer, the RECA, if mistakes are made.
Get guidance throughout the process and saving time
For most sellers, the financial gain of a professional realtor is demonstrated in many aspects of a sale
Once listed, any guidance throughout the sale process has value. Once an offer comes in, the seller needs to make some real decisions.
- How much do you counter on price?
- Should you ask for a higher deposit?
- Perhaps a different possession date works better?
- What are the requested terms of the buyer?
- What are the implications of any counter offer on price or any term?
- What is a walk-through?
- What happens if the buyer doesn’t deliver the deposit?
- Is there a negotiation strategy that is favorable to get a higher sale price?
- After a conditional sale, the home inspection can reveal certain issues which need dealing with in an appropriate manner.
- The market can slightly shift while a home is listed. What did the house down the street sell for, just a day ago? Will it affect the price?
A realtor guides a seller, step-by-step, goes over all the options, understands the do’s and don’ts during negotiations and explains any implication backed up by experience. This list of guidance that a realtor can offer is rather extensive, and continues after the home sells firm, and before possession.
Marketing your home guidance through the process
Marketing your home is important. Great photos are important, and the listing needs the correct input on the MLS. The MLS, the Multiple Listing Service, is the source where most buyers find their home. As a seller, it is important to know where a marketing budget makes the most sense. What value brings the MLS or social media? A realtor has a more proven strategy when it comes to marketing a home. One side note regarding marketing though is this: marketing a home is great but should not be confused with the marketing focused on the self-promotion of a realtor.
Understanding paperwork to avoid issues at closing
The purchase contract alone between seller and buyer is currently 6 pages
Showcasing your home and advice on repairs
To paint or not to paint? What to do about those signs of leakage on the ceiling? Repair this or update that? Many home sellers have questions about what should be repaired or updated before selling. An experienced realtor can advise and guide a seller on this to add more value to the property.To paint or not to paint?
Repair this or update that? A realtor can advise.
First impressions are important! Before listing a property, a realtor can give tips on how to show your home at its best. Sometimes that means de-cluttering, sometimes it means moving furniture around, giving a living area a better flow. The experience of a realtor helps to showcase a home. This goes beyond great photos.
Other professionals during the sale
The process of selling a home needs more than just a realtor. For example, a real estate lawyer needs to get involved, a surveyor needs to update the RPR, and a painter may need to refresh a few rooms. Realtors can often refer other reliable professionals during the process of selling.
The fee to sell a home in Alberta consists of two sides. One portion is for the selling brokerage, while the other share is for the buying brokerage. Realtor fees are payable to the brokerage and never go directly to the agent who actually sells the home. After the deduction of several fees, the realtor gets paid out the remainder. A realtor needs to pay fees to the brokerage, the Calgary Real Estate Board, the RECA, AREA and for error & omissions insurance.
Fees vary from brokerage to brokerage. Most brokerages in Calgary are considered full-service brokerages. There are merely a few discount brokerages who provide a discount on realtor fees. However, it is still advisable to offer the buying agent a commission as well. So, this discount is negligible once the buying realtor is paid out. Most often, it is the selling realtor who takes the shortfall.
How much commission can be saved when selling your own home?
Some platforms offer the opportunity to sell your own home. These internet-based businesses suggest that it saves the seller a lot of commission. However, these platforms require a non-refundable, upfront payment, while a realtor only gets paid when the sale closes.
This upfront payment often excludes professional photography, negotiations, advice or guidance, and, most of all, does not include any commission for the buying agent. This results in many costs, including the commission for the buying agent, still coming for the seller’s pocket.
Without a doubt, selling a home without a realtor may work for some sellers. However, ultimately, the savings for a seller who handles the entire sale process himself/herself is often much less than what these platforms make a seller believe. Added to that, a seller usually doesn’t know what the home could have sold for if using a realtor. And the seller only finds out if something went wrong when it is too late. And without a realtor added costs can fall onto the independent seller.
In short, the value of a realtor
For most sellers, the financial gain of a professional realtor is demonstrated in many aspects of a sale. The art of negotiations is extremely significant when it comes to saving money. Before listing a property, a realtor offers guidance in staging and determining necessary repairs. Access to the correct sale data in combination with experience helps set a fair market value. Behind the scenes is an underestimated amount of paperwork, which all needs the correct input to prevent any issues during or after the sale. This then brings us to the legal details such as defects, Real Property Reports, title and Dower Rights. The implications that can arise when a transaction goes sideways can be highly significant for a seller. The realtor fee covers a high liability, as well as a colossal number of services and extensive advice, guidance and experience while the realtor works on behalf of a seller. And only in a successful sale does the realtor get paid a commission.
Only in a successful sale does the realtor get paid a commission.
Who are we?
We are Tanja van de Kamp and Ariette van Pelt, working as a team, both buying and selling homes in Calgary. Calgary has been our home since 2004, and real estate our full-time profession since 2009. Tanja was a lawyer in The Netherlands for 12 years, and learned how to negotiate strategically, and to work in the best interests of her clients. Thanks to our honest and transparent approach to real estate and towards our clients, we have built our business. It’s been a privilege to work with our clients. Over the years, many clients, through their many referrals, have shown their appreciation of us.
As first time home buyers, all of the knowledge, patience and candid advice we received from Tanja & Ariette was instrumental to us getting the home we really loved. It feels impossible to buy a place you love in this market, but Tanja & Ariette made it possible for us.
Thank you Tanja and Ariette for all of your help, we couldn't have been happier with our choice, even if it came without all of the stroopwafels! 🙂