Selling on your own or with an agent? – #Toronto #realestate

Selling on your own or with an agent?

Valuation, negotiation, nailing a deal – is this territory for the pros or newbies?

Steve Ladurantaye

Globe and Mail Update

A hot real estate market often leaves sellers wondering why they should bother paying a real estate agent for something that seems to sell so easily.

But there’s more to selling a house than planting a sign in the front yard and waiting for the offers to roll in. It can be a lot of work to handle everything on your own.

So who should use an agent and who should go private? We asked Dianne Usher, a vice-president at Royal LePage Johnston and Daniel in Toronto, and Property Guys’ Kitchener-Waterloo franchise owner Mike Shanks to explain.

Why should someone use your services?

Ms. Usher: Well, how long do you have? As individuals we are trained and experienced. We have market knowledge, and have skills in both negotiating and marketing. In addition to that, we are bound by provincial regulators as well as having a national code of ethics. All of these codes exist to protect the consumer. Real-estate agents also have access to professional legal advice when we need it, and mortgage brokers when we need them. We can also provide greater exposure – we have our Multiple Listing Service, which is on, and we run open houses.

Mr. Shanks: We look at selling on your own as simply being a better way. You control the process all the way through. Not only is it empowering, it’s a time saver. You’re not kicked out of the house when you have a roast in the oven. And having a face-to-face connection with the buyer can be rewarding, you can actually make friends with the people who bought your house. I did that when I sold, it was really neat to know the buyer. That’s not even mentioning all the money you can save.

Are there certain people who should opt for one choice over another?

Ms. Usher: People who are not knowledgeable in a marketplace and don’t have the skills and expertise needed to trade on their own. That can be anybody from unskilled labourers to a chief executive officer in the money markets. I say that because while people may be trained and focused in their own areas of expertise, we are trained and focused on ours. Our job is to protect the consumer and ensure the best property transaction.

Mr. Shanks: The easy answer is that anyone can sell a house privately. Maybe there is a small percentage who shouldn’t, like if they have already moved and live out of town. But there’s no demographic that should avoid it. We’ve got a group of retired seniors in an adult lifestyle community getting together as a group to put a bunch of listings on. Some argue negotiating isn’t for everybody, but there are ways to get comfortable with that. You can do it over the phone, do it over the Internet.

What’s the main thing people don’t understand about the way you operate?

Ms. Usher: They often don’t understand the scope of service that we provide. You find that when you use any professionals – financial advisers can provide information off the top of their heads and make it look so easy. It’s the same way with lawyers, it’s the same with brain surgeons. It can be difficult to articulate our value proposition. We have to highlight our experience and our negotiating skills, and that can be difficult.

Mr. Shanks: People don’t always understand how easy this is, because they’ve been told for years how difficult it is and that it’s a big scary process. But it’s actually pretty easy, and when you need advice you can turn to professionals such as lawyers who demystify the process and show you it’s not really a big scary world.

How flexible are fee structures for agents? And if you’re selling on your own, how much can you expect to spend?

Ms. Usher: The fees are totally flexible. There are many different models out there and different levels of service. We are a full-service brokerage, so we charge a commission. There are others who will have different fees, some will post listings and do nothing else. But we don’t set our rates in stone and the consumer is certainly able to negotiate.

Mr. Shanks: There are some costs. If you sell with us, there are different packages that range in price depending on how much help you want. The most important thing is to spend a little bit of money to find out how much you should be listing for. Agents have access to a lot of data that you may not, but you can hire an appraiser for a couple of hundred bucks and find out what it’s worth. That’s definitely a worthwhile investment.

What’s the problem with the competing proposition?

Ms. Usher: You need to understand the marketplace and there’s a lot of competition out there. Things need to be presented effectively, both physically and through marketing materials such as websites. Knowing how to set a value is difficult, as is acting as a negotiator. It’s hard because when you are selling residential real estate the buyer and the seller are both operating in an emotionally charged environment and are skeptical of one another. It’s hard to get something done effectively. When someone is trying to sell on their own they can miss the valuation and have it languish on the market and do themselves a disservice. It’s highly difficult and usually unsuccessful to sell privately.

Mr. Shanks: I think the flaw is in the real estate industry’s attitude. Any time I talk to agents they say they believe in private sales and give us a bit of lip service because we’ve been a success. And then they say they think people should try and sell privately and then when that doesn’t work, use an agent. They really do think you have to use an agent.

Posted via web from Toronto Real Estate News, Blog


About Tariq Sultan
Dear Readers, I am a dedicated Toronto, Ontario based real estate professional who has been successfully meeting and exceeding the needs of his clients for past several years. I am actively involved in the insurance, financing, and mortgage industry. Real estate is not only my career – it is my passion. I strive to continuously provide my clients with exceptional service to ensure they are fully satisfied when it comes to their real estate needs. For any real estate related inquires contact me today, I will be happy to assist you. Best wishes, Tariq Sultan

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