Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region

How to choose a Realtor and how they can help you purchase a home.
January 13, 2009, 2:55 am
Filed under: Buying, Rebecca Sargent | Tags: , ,

The Realtor should first discuss with you the values and services he/she will bring to the table.

What SHOULD they be doing for you as a Buyer agent?
• Organize and schedule your home search process
• Discuss with you the benefits and drawbacks of each home in relation to your specific needs
• Provide you with ongoing updates on available homes
• Help you compare homes and make a decision
• Advise you on the terms and issues of the offer and fill out the purchase order contract
• Present your offer and negotiate on your behalf
• Coordinate and supervise the preparation of all closing documents and guide you through the closing process
• Help you resolve any closing issues
• Answer all your questions in a timely manner.

Decide on the values that are important to you, and discuss them with your Realtor. Are they willing to provide you with all the services you need? Get it in writing!

You will then need to decide whether you want to sign a contract with your Realtor. There are several types of contracts, depending on the services you will require.
The Buyer Agency Agreement is the most common. This agreement:
• Establishes the type of relationship that is involved
• Sets out the duties and responsibilities of both parties
• Details commission arrangements and buyer responsibilities if commission is not to be paid by the seller

Why should you sign an agreement?

By signing the Buyer Agency Agreement, you ensure that your Realtor is working for you in a client relationship, meaning that the Realtor must represent you exclusively in the contract. It lets the Realtor tell you all the information they know about the property, and makes sure they are obligated to work in your best interest.

The traditional agency relationship requires that all agents have a fiduciary relationship with the seller. That means that it’s their job to protect the interests of the seller. By entering into a Buyer Agency Agreement, you ensure that the Realtor will always be protecting your interests.

The agreement also protects your Realtor. It means that you acknowledge that he/she is representing you for the duration of the contract period, and that you are agreeing to work exclusively with that Realtor for the duration. This means you have the responsibility to notify the Realtor of any property that you are interested in during this time period and your Realtor will make all the arrangements to view the home. This includes homes that come directly from the builder, or open houses that you want to inspect in the neighbourhood.

Deciding whether or not to sign a Buyer Agency Agreement is up to you. You can sign the Agreement for one property, or one area, or for everything you are searching for. You should discuss the terms of service that the Realtor will offer you in return for your signing and get all the details in writing. This could include certain marketing aspects and all the rights and duties that each party will perform. This is a promise for a promise: you promise your Realtor exclusivity, and they promise you service. This means that if your Realtor does not perform the set services, you CAN fire them. But be aware that Buyer Agency contracts typically have what is called a “hold over” period (usually 30-60 days). If you purchase a property that was introduced to you by your Realtor within this period, they are entitled to commision under most contracts. 

Things you can do to protect yourself:
– ask for a short term or specific contract (for 30 days, or 24 hours, or for a specific property, area or price range);
– ask about anything on the contract you don’t understand- if the Realtor cannot explain it to you in clear terms- do not sign it.
– Get copies of anything you sign, and keep it in a file for yourself
– Know what duties to expect of your Realtor, and make sure they answer all your questions. Remember there is no such thing as a “dumb” question- so ask if you don’t understand! It is part of your Realtor’s job to answer your questions.


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