Working With a Realtor to Sell Your Home

From a seller's perspective, real estate may seem like an effortless process - prepare the home for sale, find a buyer, agree on a price and move. Buying and selling real estate, however, is a complex and demanding process that requires much more: accurate paperwork, qualifying buyers, marketing properties, negotiating, conveying details to real estate lawyers, dealing with land titles, tax and lien searches; and potential issues with property encroachment are all tasks Realtors are trained and required to be knowledgeable in.

Realtors must abide by a strict code of business and ethics conduct. They are required to act with honesty, integrity, fiduciary obligation to their client as well as to comply with all bylaws set by the Boards and Associations that they are governed by. A good Realtor also knows how to qualify potential buyers and use their network of professional associates to help complete the transaction, including home inspectors, real estate lawyers, mortgage brokers and accountants. All of these components help complete a successful real estate transaction within a demanding time frame.

Be sure to discuss "disclosure" with your Realtor. Realtors are legally obligated to disclose known information about your property to other Realtors and potential buyers. They are to disclose material latent defects which are defined as defects that render a property dangerous or potentially dangerous to the occupants, defects that render a property unfit for habituation, defects that render a property unfit for the purpose for which the buyer is purchasing it, as well as disclose defects that would involve great expense to remedy, and/or notices received by the seller from local authorities that prejudicially affect the property and the lack of appropriate municipal building permits for the property (i.e. basement development permit, detached garage permit, renovated addition to the property, etc). Failure to disclose known information of this nature can result in legal ramifications.

Your Realtor will work closely with you to help determine the appropriate market value of your home. A good Realtor will provide you with a list of comparable properties that have recently sold. Although each property is unique, your Realtor should focus on properties within the same neighbourhood with approximately the same square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms and other similar features. They should also present you with a concrete marketing plan, this should include open houses, online advertising, newspaper advertising as well as other marketing methods. If you are pleased with the marketing plan they have presented to you and you were able to come to an agreement on a listing price for your home, then it's time to begin the process of listing your home for sale. A series of documents are legally required in order to list your home with a Realtor on the Multiple Listing Service:

Agency Disclosure
Understanding Agency is as follows: it is a specific relationship between two or more people. One person must authorize the other person to act on his or her behalf and the other person must consent to do so. In other words, the agency agreement is authorizing a Realtor to work for you in buying or selling a property and the Realtor agrees to this working relationship.

Listing Contract
The listing contract sets the terms of the working relationship - do you give permission to post a "For Sale" sign on your property, the expiration date of the listing contract, the collection, use and disclosure of personal information; Brokerage renumeration and assignment of renumeration.

MLS Data Input Form
The Data form is used to gather information about the property - number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, total square footage of the property as well as the square footage of individual room, condo fees (if applicable), year the home was built, annual taxes, zoning, etc.

Property Condition Disclosure Statement
Though the Property Disclosure Statement is not mandatory, it is encouraged to be completed as it's used as a selling tool to potential buyers. This form provides a history about the property and its current condition in regards to water supply, waste disposal, insulation, history of flooding or drainage problems, un-repaired damages caused by wind or moisture and other questions about the current condition of the property.

Once the home has been listed, your Realtor will work with you to organize and schedule viewings with buying agents that best suit your schedule. Families with young children typically ask that no viewings are scheduled after 7pm. As well, your Realtor will follow up with Buying Agents asking for feedback about your property to discuss with you. This allows your Realtor and you to work together to sell your home for the most amount of money as quickly as possible.

In due time, your Realtor will hopefully present you with an Offer to Purchase. Review the offer and discuss your options such as a counter offer, negotiating the possession date or perhaps declining the offer all together. Once the Offer to Purchase has been signed by both the buyer and seller, it becomes a legal binding contract.

Terms and conditions are typically attached to an Offer to Purchase and the buyer will ask for a certain amount of time to satisfy their conditions of the purchase. Buyers may ask for the following: final mortgage approval, an appraisal (as per the mortgage broker or lender's instructions), an engineer's report, a furnace or chimney inspection, a gas line inspection, a home inspection, a Property Condition Disclosure Statement, a roof inspection or a well quality and quantity test. Once their terms and conditions have been satisfied, these can be removed in order to complete the real estate transaction. Your Realtor will help you every step of the way to assure you are comfortable with the process.

If your home doesn't sell right away, work with your Realtor to adjust your approach. Use the feedback from previous viewings as a tool. If the common feedback is regarding the condition of the home, create a realistic plan with your Realtor. It may be as simple as de-cluttering the home or having the carpets professionally cleaned. Perhaps the feedback is regarding the asking price and lowering it could generate further interest in your home from potential buyers. The choice is yours and your Realtor is there to help you!

If you have any questions about selling a home or would like to discuss selling your home in Saskatoon or the surrounding area with a Realtor, feel free to contact us any time.

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