It's Caveat Emptor When Buying Privately

Caveat emptor comes from Latin and embodies the principle of "let the buyer beware".  When I think back to the tough times in real estate in the early '90's, I remember a number of new clients forced to sell who had bought a private sale during the good times in 1989-90.  An analysis of their situation often revealed a number of issues.  In many cases, they had overpaid considerably for their home and the location was less than desirable for resale.  Why?  A decision to buy a home is often filled with emotion.  A private seller can prey upon these emotions.  Conversely, a Realtor is bound by the Code of Ethics of the Canadian Real Estate Association.  When acting for a buyer client, the agent is obligated to work in the buyer client's best interests.  It's the Realtor's job to add logic to the equation.  This includes a duty to disclose any known defects about the home whereas a private seller is under no such obligation.  Additionally we consider the following:  What have similar homes sold for in recent months?  What did those homes have that this one doesn't and vice-versa?  Why is the seller selling?  What do we know about the history of the home and the neighbourhood/area?  Clients are often surprised when I tell them the results of my research.  I was recently asked by a buyer client about a home that a search revealed had sold 3 times in 4 years.  Contrast that with the peace of mind of a buyer client who just purchased a one-owner home built in 1954.  In short, using a Realtor to help you buy a home is always prudent and particularly in times of uncertainty. 

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Jeff Gingerich

Jeff Gingerich

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Heritage House Ltd., Brokerage*
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