Buyers and Sellers: A Guide to Working with Agents
Published on 8 January 2024 in Blog Ottawa Real Estate by
Last updated on February 8th, 2024 at 11:00 amWith a constantly changing real estate market, sellers and buyers alike need to employ various strategies to navigate the world of property transactions—and often, they need help along the way. Whether you’re looking to buy your dream home or sell your current property, a real estate agent is one crucial ally in this journey. This guide will explore the ins and outs of working with these agents in Ontario, providing essential insights for clients on both sides of the transaction.
Sellers Working With Real Estate AgentsPartnering with a real estate agent to sell your property can make the process smoother and more efficient. Here’s what these professionals do:
- Advise on the best strategies to attract buyers.
- Market or advertise your home.
- Connect you with other professionals, like a home staging service or lawyer.
- Arrange viewings.
- Advise on how to navigate competing offers.
- Vet potential buyers.
- Negotiate with buyers.
- Guide you through closing the transaction and related paperwork.
Buyers Working with Real Estate AgentsFor home buyers, a real estate agent can also simplify the process. Here’s how they can help:
- Enable financing pre-approvals so you can step into the process knowing how much you can afford.
- Assist in the property search, including sharing information about neighbourhoods and homes that meet your needs.
- Arrange showings.
- Inquire about zoning.
- Refer you to professionals like lawyers, contractors, or home inspectors.
- Advise on how to approach competing offer situations.
- Negotiate with sellers.
- Guide you through the closing process.
Responsibilities of a Real Estate AgentReal estate agents follow a set of ethical and legal responsibilities that ensure they act in the best interests of their clients. These professionals should:
- Have undivided loyalty. Agents must prioritize their client’s interests above all else; they should avoid conflicts of interest and refrain from activities compromising their loyalty to the client.
- Provide disclosure. Agents are required to provide accurate information to their clients. This includes disclosing any material facts or potential issues related to the property or the transaction that could impact the client’s decision-making.
- Protect your confidentiality. Real estate agents must keep all client information confidential unless authorized by the client to disclose such information or required by law.
- Avoid conflicts of interest. Agents should not represent multiple parties in the same transaction without informed consent.
- Fiduciary Duty: Agents owe a fiduciary duty to their clients, which means they must act in the client’s best interest, prioritize their needs, and exercise due diligence throughout the transaction.
Your Obligations as a ClientTo ensure a smooth and productive partnership, clients have certain obligations to fulfill, whether selling or buying. As a buyer or seller, you should clearly communicate your property requirements, budget, and expectations to the agent. It’s also essential to stay in regular contact with your agent, respond promptly to their inquiries, and provide feedback where possible. Other obligations include:
- Agreeing to the terms set by your contract with the agent.
- Honour the agreed-upon fees outlined in your representation agreement.
Signing the Contract With Your AgentYou should sign a representation agreement before you partner with your chosen real estate agent to ensure they’re working for you. Without it, they’re not permitted to release any information that could aid in your decisions. This legal document outlines the terms and conditions of your partnership. It should specify critical details like:
- The designated representative within the brokerage
- The scope of services
- The payment amount and terms
- Termination provisions
- The contract’s expiry date