Did you know that a realtor can assist you with the purchase of a property listed on a for sale by owner website?

The availability of online marketing has provided an accessible means by which homeowners can now advertise their properties for sale on their own.  Although this may seem appealing, some measure of caution must be taken as a buyer.  Purchasing a home is a major investment that comes with many risks, particularly for first-time buyers taking on this challenge without professional support. There are many advantages to working with a realtor when a buyer has found their dream home listed by the homeowner.

Firstly, when working with a realtor, the buyer is protected because a real estate broker is responsible for verifying that all the information about a property is accurate.  If  a realtor advertises false information, they can be held accountable.  Real estate brokers must maintain liability insurance, in the event that information provided to a buyer is incorrect.  Having access to legal advice protects the seller who has already paid for this service with a for sale by owner service such as DuProprio.  The buyer, on the other hand, has no protection and is at the mercy of the seller by trusting that the information provided is correct. 

For example, last year, when I was helping a newlywed couple buy their first house, they inquired about a home that they had found on DuProprio.  When I did the background research, I discovered that the seller had advertised the wrong square footage or the terrain, the wrong year of construction and he was asking 30% more than he had paid for the home two years ago, without doing any renovations.  I also noticed that the seller had put up drywall in the basement, thereby covering the concrete block foundation wall making it difficult to determine if there was water infiltration.  Concrete block foundations are prone to this.  All of these factors combined caused the buyers to be suspicious, and they decided not to proceed with putting an offer on the home.

Secondly, a realtor ensures full disclosure about any possible known defects, which protects both the buyer and the seller.  Any information that a seller is aware of, which could affect a buyers decision, increase the expense or decrease the value of a home must divulged.  When listing a property with a real estate broker, a seller is obligated to fill out a seller's declaration form, which is a checklist regarding any possible problems with electricity, plumbing, the year of the roof, renovations done, etc.  When a homeowner lists their property on a for sale by owner website, they are not obliged to fill out this form even though the company has a template that can be provided to the seller.  Furthermore, an unrepresented buyer may not know to ask for this form.  When helping a buyer purchase a home listed by the homeowner, a realtor will ask the homeowner to fill out the seller's declaration.  It protects both parties, as the buyer can make an informed decision and will have no legal recourse against the seller if he or she decides to proceed with the purchase despite being made aware of any possible problems.

Recently, a seller in Quebec city paid a high price for failing to disclose a double suicide in a home that he had bought and flipped.  He initially requested the services of a realtor.  When the real estate broker learned about the deaths, she informed him that this detail must be disclosed because it could affect a buyer's decision.  The seller refused to fill out the seller's declaration and instead, listed the property with DuProprio.  A young couple bought the home with the intent to start a family in it.  When the couple learned about the suicides from a neighbor, they were devastated, as they did not want to raise their children in a home that represented negativity and despair.  They took legal action against the seller and were reimbursed for their cost of $275,000 along with $15,000 for moral damages and $23,000 for expenses. 

Thirdly, when working with a realtor for the purchase of a for sale by owner property, a better price can often be negotiated.  Buying a home can be an emotional process.  The real estate broker acts as an intermediary, thereby assisting a buyer in making a more business-oriented decision, rather than an emotional one.  An experienced realtor will know what kind of documentation to look for, what details about the home can affect the resale value, as well as any factors about the neighborhood that could affect the value of the home.  A realtor also has access to see how much the seller paid for the home, when it was purchased, and if there are any outstanding loans or leans on the property.  In addition, the realtor can gage any personal issues that may affect a seller's price.  All of these factors can be used in negotiations to help a buyer achieve a lower price.

In sum, the benefits of working with a realtor are better protection, full disclosure, and increased negotiation power.  A real estate broker is obligated to function with their client's best interests in mind.  Not every realtor is in it for a quick commission check.  There's nothing more rewarding than knowing that my clients are happy and satisfied with their new home, especially when a seven year old hugs me and thanks me for his house.

So, how does a buyer work with a realtor when purchasing a home that's for sale by the owner?  Feel free to contact me and I will be happy to explain the buying process of a property listed on a for sale by owner website.  I'm here to help you make an informed decision about the biggest purchase you will ever make. 


Angela Langtry

Angela Langtry

Real Estate Broker
CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus
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