Are you in the process of shopping for a new home or listing your current residence and hoping to do away with hiring a realtor? While you may not be fond of the prospect of having to pay out a commission to a third party, the realities of handling the housing market on your own can often feel daunting. It is possible to sell your home without a real estate agent, particularly if you have a skilled legal team on your side, however, it is extremely important that you take the time to educate yourself on the various aspects typically handled by outside representation.
As a legal team that happily partners with homeowners and buyers throughout Vancouver and Northern Vancouver navigate our tricky real estate market and secure their dream home. If you’re debating listing or buying a home without an agent, below are some of the key aspects you’ll need to keep in mind.
What Real Estate Agents Typically Offer
While we completely understand the reason why many people would prefer to do away with the “middle man” and lower their overall fees when it comes to real estate transactions, the reality is, qualified agents do bring a lot to the table. For example, a vetted real agent will have advanced knowledge of active market conditions and forecasts, as well as insider knowledge about specific neighbourhoods, industry connections, staging experience, and more. Real estate agents are also skilled at handling tricky negotiations, as well as the ample work involved in the sale.
Unless you’re an experienced investor, you’ll likely have a steep learning curve, and you may be surprised to learn just how much time goes into the buying and selling process. These factors and more are why most listers and sellers ultimately opt to use an agent in the long run, despite the costs associated.
Going it Alone
If you choose to operate without an agent, you’ll need to handle the following aspects independently:
1. Applying for a Mortgage
When you buy a home, one of the first things you need to handle is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing so will help clearly define your budget, as well as add gravity to any offers you place for sellers as it indicates that you are serious in your intent and that your financing is far less likely to fall through.
2. Decide Where you Want to Live
As any Vancouverite will know, each of our neighbourhoods has their own distinct flair and offerings to be enjoyed. Narrow your search by refining what you need in a neighbourhood, as well as nice to have’s and then focus on average selling prices, historical data, as well as any other specifics you can find on areas you have in mind. Knowledge, especially in this regard, is power, and you definitely want to do your research before committing to a property.
3. Choose a Home
After finding a neighbourhood, the next step is to find your home. Keep a running list of properties under consideration, ideally with as much detail as possible during your search. Doing so will save you time, assist you when you decide to place an offer, and eliminate countless headaches in the long run.
4. Getting a Seller’s Disclosure
Seller’s disclosures (called Property Disclosure Statements within British Columbia) are a must before placing an offer and are designed to let potential buyers know about any existing issues with the home, as well as any previous remodelling work done by the current owners. Aspects found on a seller’s disclosure include structural issues, plumbing/heating/electrical problems/ radon or asbestos warnings, any damage caused by wood-boring insects (i.e. termites), mould and water damage, and more.
It’s important to note that, while such disclosures are not legally required in British Columbia you should always request one and exercise extreme caution should the sellers refuse to provide one.
Make an Offer and What Happens Next
When you’re ready to move forward, you’ll need to make a formal offer via an offer letter. Unless the home is for sale directly by the owner, you’ll need to be prepared to negotiate the house price and terms with the seller’s agent. From here the seller either directly, or through their agent, can accept your offer, deny it or return with a counteroffer.
If your offer is approved, your next step is to partner with your legal team and a home inspector to finalize the last details. While the inspector will go through and search for any hidden issues, your lawyer will comb over your contracts and make sure all conditions are favourable. Once everything is agreed upon, your legal team will help you finalize financing details and get ready to move in officially.
Need Help Moving In?
Paperclip Law is here to assist! Whether you’re selling or buying on your own or with the help of an agent, we’re happy to partner with you to help make your dream move a reality. Contact us today to learn more!