Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

So these are the questions that we commonly get asked. Of course every client has a unique situation and circumstance but these are answers that can be applied to most people looking to buy or sell real estate.
Q & A

Q: Do I speak with a Realtor or a banker first?
A: I have spoken with clients before they have spoken with their banker and helped them look at the overall process. This is fine, it does help to speak to your banker first in most cases as they will let you know if it is even feasible to buy right now. Bankers or mortage brokers will look at your debt ratios and mortgage penalties (if you are selling a property) to see if you can qualify for a mortgage. They will also let you know what you can afford, taking into consideration all the above factors, and what your monthly cost will be for your mortgage. This step will help greatly in setting your expectations when starting to define your needs and wants for a home. In the case of selling a home, you may want to have us come in and give you an evaluation on your home, before you go to the bank, to help you in the mortgage prequalification process, as you will have a more accurate estimate on the value of your home which in turn may affect what you can purchase.  
Q: Can I use a Realtor when I buy privately (comfree or kijijij)?

A: Definately, you have to remember for the most part private sellers are getting their pricing from historical MLS listings, which for MLS listings are for the most part are bought and sold with Realtors and their comissions included in that sale price. So by purchasing at the prices prices private sellers are charging you are essentially paying for representation that you are not getting. Now just because you want to use a Realtor to help purchase a private sale, does not necessarily mean that the seller will want to work with a Realtor. So definately speak to us about your options when it comes to buying private. 

Q: What does representation mean in terms of buying and selling?

A: When we refer to representation in the purchase of a home, this term includes: viewing properties, advising on possible issues or maintenance concerns, advice on the location of the property, options in regards to how to best write an offer, learn of any proper disclosures that may affect you, the placement of conditions that protect your interests, etc. Listing representation can include: advice on properly marketing and pricing your home, advice on how best to negotiate the sale of your home, conditions that could be harmful to you or your sale, providing you with other options to help in the sale of your home other than just price, etc.  Overall, when you are buying or selling the largest asset you will own it is best to have someone on your side that understands the process and is standing beside you to help when you are unsure of what is what.

Q: Who pays the Real Estate Commission?

A: Well, in fact both parties are paying for the commission. The seller pays the commission directly and negotiate the rate before the lisiting is put up. So essentially as a buyer paying $350,000 for a home listed with a Realtor on the MLS will most of the time include the comission that will be paid to the buyers agent. Now there are circumstances where that is not the case but your Realtor will walk you through the options in those circumstances. 

Q: As a buyer if I approach the listing agent directly do I get a better price on the house? 

A: Yes and no. At the end of the day the listing agent has negotiated a commission that is included in the sale price to pay for both agents involvedin a real estate transaction. So some lising agents will take 1% off to accomodate that they are getting the entire comission, which can be a savings of a couple thousand dollars depending on the value of the home which can be deemed a savings for the buyer. However, it means that you in most cases are going unrepresented into this deal and the seller is represented. What does this mean? It means that you are at a disadvantage as a buyer, as the seller has someone to give them advice on strategy and to help them come out winning and you have no one to provide you those same options. Now a Relator has the duty to be honest and disclose any material latent issues to you (anything that could harmful to you) however they have no responisbility to work for your best interest as they only represent the seller in that transaciton. So yes you may get a bit off the price but in the end you may lose out on some possible advantages due to your lack of representation. 
For any other questions that may not be covered here please call Monica Kessler at Element Realty for answers to any Real Estate questions at 204.997.1133.