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How can a Realtor help me?

The process of buying a home can be quite overwhelming when you don’t have a guide to help navigate and simplify the experience. The real estate agent’s role is to organize an effect search, respond to your questions, help to negotiate the offer and be responsible for the heavy amount of paperwork involved in the transaction. Keep in mind that as buyer clients, the agent is very often paid with the commission charged to the sellers upon the sale of a property, which means that you often have complete service available to you that comes at no additional expense.

Is it better to work with several agents to maximize my search?

Every agent in the Toronto Real Estate Board has access to the same Multiple Listings Service (MLS), so the sales representative who you are working with should be able to keep you informed of anything that matches your needs. Spreading yourself across multiple agents will result in being connected with people who will not be working as hard as they could be for you. Real estate agents only get paid when a transaction is complete, so it is a challenge for agents to work with a customer who is scattered amongst many agents versus a client who is loyal to one. Consider working with an agent who you trust and who you know will be on your side throughout the entire process.

What is the difference between being an agent’s Customer or Client?

As a buyer, you may choose to be represented by a real estate agent as a client, or expect fair and honest answers when dealing with an agent as a customer. Agents and clients generally establish their working relationship through a contract known as a Buyer Representation Agreement, which outlines the duties and responsibilities each party owes to each other. In it, you’ll find that agents are required to disclose all pertinent information, act competently, be obedient to the wishes of the buyer, account for funds and documents in the transaction, keep information confidential and remain loyal to the client. In addition, agents will help clients negotiate an offer and counsel them on an appropriate strategy and details on the process.

As a customer, you are entitled to fair and ethical service, care in having your questions answered and no misrepresentations of issues or facts. You will, however, not receive assistance for negotiating or be provided with real estate advice.

Regardless of whether you are a customer or a client, buyer clients rarely pay real estate fees or commission unless there is a particularly unique situation, which will be stated upfront. In almost all cases, payment for a buyer’s agent comes from the seller.

What are the most important elements in an offer?

An offer is a legal document that outlines the names of the sellers and purchasers, the property address, the purchase price, deposit amount (typically 5-10%) and the possession date (or day when the new buyers take ownership). Other important details that can sometimes be overlooked by excited buyers are the chattels that are either included or excluded (those often being appliances, carpeting, light fixtures and window coverings). Finally, the schedules on the back pages of the offer will cover any terms or conditions related to the sale, such as conditions regarding a home inspection, financing approval or a status certificate review on a condominium property, as well as any specific requests upon closing for rebates, property visitations and more. It’s your opportunity to include the items that are most important to you in the purchase.

How do deposits work in real estate?

The deposit represents part of your total down payment and generally tends to be around 5% of the purchase price of the property. It can be included either as a certified cheque with the offer as it is presented or within 24 hours after an offer has been accepted. The deposit cheque is most often held in a real estate brokerage’s trust account where it is kept safe and secure until the closing.

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