What does real estate agency do?

Good question, and no doubt, one that is commonly pondered. A real estate agency can do a lot for you, whether you're a buyer or a seller.

First of all, let me say that all REALTORS® are members of a much larger association. In Ontario, we're all members of The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). And we're also all members of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

In the United States, every REALTOR® is a member of The National Association of REALTORS (NAR). If a real estate salesperson or broker, who is associated with a real estate agency, is not a member of any of these organizations ...

They're Not a REALTOR®

... nor is their real estate agency.

Founded in 1922, OREA represents over 45,000 brokers and salespeople who (on this writing) are all members of the 42 separate real estate boards in Ontario. OREA provides its members with a variety of publications, educational programs and special services, as well as all real estate licensing courses.

OREA, like all such industry associations, does its best to promote higher educational and professional standards, protect the general public from unscrupulous brokers and salespeople and contribute to the preservation of private property rights. It also develops and publishes standard forms, and supports educational and charitable causes through The REALTORS® Care Foundation.

At a more local level, a REALTOR® is a member of a real estate board which provides services to its members, including the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). This consists of the huge database of residential, commercial and industrial properties for sale and lease.

So, during a realty search, what do realty companies do for me?

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If You're a Buyer

... a REALTOR® is your trusted guide who will save you countless hours. A good agent will:

  • assist through the mortgage qualification process
  • recommend honest, experienced mortgage financing services
  • determine and clarify your individual wants and needs in a home
  • pre-screen potential properties of interest
  • assist with the actual MLS® online and physical search
  • advise on neighbourhood amenities
  • gently help through the decision making process,
  • offer advice on home market value
  • prepare, explain and negotiate your offer to purchase
  • deliver all pertinent documents of the transaction
  • arrange for home and other inspections by qualified professionals
  • recommend dependable legal services to handle closings
  • answer the myriad of questions that typically arise
  • and maybe even suggest a mover

At the end of the day, a good REALTOR® may feel like a trusted friend.

Here's another benefit to working with a real estate agency. Without the CREA, OREA or the other provincial/state associations, there would be no Multiple Listing Service® MLS® since we invented it several decades ago as a means to deliver better service to our clients and customers.

Click MLS® Canada or USA to begin your property search.

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If You're a Seller

... a real estate agency will:

  • lead you through the entire trading homes process
  • answer the countless questions that arise throughout the process
  • ensure complete understanding of options when presented with an offer to purchase
  • offer candid, honest advice based on what you need to know and not necessarily what you want to hear
  • negotiate a fair and durable Agreement of Purchase and Sale
  • recommend a dependable lawyer to handle your closing
  • ensure that your home is effectively marketed by exposing it to as many potential qualified home buyers as possible
  • advise on how to prepare your home for market and on how to enhance it without over-spending
  • help obtain the highest possible sale price in the shortest time
  • apply their knowledge and experience with objectivity
  • evaluate your property by completing an exhaustive Comparative Market Analysis

The Most Critical Functions

... performed by a real estate agency in the entire selling process are the property evaluation and offer negotiations. Of course, if your home is not correctly evaluated and listed, there are not likely to be any offers. Thus, one could argue that the evaluating is paramount.

If you fail to list correctly, you may grow old waiting for your house to sell. Or just as bad, you may suffer from a lower sale price than what might have been achieved with the right asking price.

When an offer arrives, usually through a buyer agent, your real estate agent will explain all the terms and options, make recommendations and generally negotiate the offer for you with the buyer's representative. If you've chosen your agent wisely, you should listen to their advice because it's probably good objective advice.

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Your REALTOR® should explain that the ...

Most Active Period of Your Listing

... term is the first couple of weeks in an active market, and slightly longer for slower market conditions. There's always an existing pool of buyers, with the volume depending on the season, searching for homes. They've already been exposed to or viewed everything currently available on the market and are patiently awaiting new listings. Thus, when your home appears on the MLS® system, it'll attract their attention to your property if it is ...

Priced Right

If not, they'll ignore it. With a fair, competitive list price, they'll contact their agent or maybe your agent to arrange an appointment to view it.

It's very difficult to evaluate your own castle because it's virtually impossible for you to be completely objective. After all, it's your home, decorated and finished to your own exacting standards. You might love that chartreuse paint and orange shag carpet, but many won't.

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So, if you followed your agent's advice and prepared your home properly ...

Presto! SOLD

If you're a serious seller whose home remains unsold after this initial active period has elapsed, you should reduce the asking price. Unfortunately, however, your listing is no longer new. Therefore, it won't receive the same kind of attention. And the longer your property is on the market, the greater the chance of either not selling, or selling at a ...

Much Lower Price

Buyer's will often ask how long a home has been on the market. If they feel it's been too long, they'll ask themselves why it hasn't sold or what's wrong with it? If they're still interested, their offer price will be very low. They'll not likely pay much higher for fear of over-paying for a property that no one else wanted.

Buyer or seller, an experienced, knowledgeable and skillful REALTOR® can make your move more enjoyable with less stress.

Buying a home should be an exciting time. Hiring a professional realty agent can help make this a reality. Place your trust in a good REALTOR® and follow their direction.

What will a real estate agency do for you?

Lots. If you're a seller looking to find a real estate agency, or a buyer in 'find REALTOR®' mode, feel free to contact me for a personal recommendation of a REALTOR® in your area.

Having said all this, if you're determined to sell privately, I invite you to explore my website. You'll find a whole lot of helpful advice on how to successfully achieve your goal of a private sale.

If you're considering selling your home, with or without a real estate agency, check out my book The Happy Agent. It contains the sum total of the real estate knowledge, philosophies and techniques that I've accumulated, practiced and polished during a highly successful 40-year realty career.

Learn how to effectively evaluate your home and prepare it for market to maximize the ultimate sale price, how to market and advertise effectively, how to handle showings and open houses like a pro, how to successfully negotiate an offer and more. If you're trying to sell privately without the guidance and expense of an agent, you'll learn how to recognize the signs of when it's time to throw in the towel and hire a professional real estate agency and what to expect from them.

When you consider the huge possible savings in real estate commission with a private sale attempt and the fact that you're dealing with your largest single financial asset, a small investment of your time and a pittance of your money could save you thousands of dollars and a ton of heartache. At the very least, you'll be encouraged to try it alone, at least for awhile. Remember - knowledge is power.

Available virtually everywhere print and e-books are sold.

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