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When you get right down to it, the simplest reason to have your own agent as a buyer, is that your agent works for you, while a seller's agent works for the seller. A seller's agent is working to get the best price and terms for their client, and a buyer's agent can do the same for you. When you contact the seller's agent directly, you may be giving away valuable (spoken or unspoken) information that will be used against you at the negotiating table. This is not uncommon in a seller’s market. (For example, a seller’s agent with two potential pending offers on a property may favor an offer from seasoned buyers with a 20% down payment over an offer from a first time home buyer who will only be able to provide a 5% down payment and who is currently renting. The reason? The latter may represent a higher risk and therefore a higher chance of the deal falling through on financing).
Agents owe their clients certain fiduciary obligations: undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience, reasonable care and skill and full accounting. When you contact a seller's agent, you're not their client, and they don't owe you the same obligations. You can learn more about agency relationships and fiduciary obligations on the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) website.
You'll get a better deal if you use the listing agent
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact everything that you say or disclose may be used against you. The listing agent's job is to get the best deal they can for their client, the seller. In some cases, the listing agent may agree to reduce their professional fee to sweeten the pot, and get a deal together. However, you'll be negotiating with someone who negotiates the sale of properties for a living. If you save a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on the professional fee, how much do you think you might over pay for a property? And don't forget, the seller's agent and their client may have already agreed to a reduced rate if there is no buyer's agent, and there may be no more room for professional fee reduction anyway.
The listing agent knows more about the property
The most important information an agent can help you interpret is information related to value. Your buyer's agent can provide an independent Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of the property to give you clarity on market value. As we've already mentioned, the seller's agent is working for the seller (not you) and is working to get the best deal for their client. If you have specific questions, your agent can easily call and ask them on your behalf without having to disclose anything about you. If there are any hidden defects in the home, the seller is obligated to disclose these defects to you. If you make an offer on a property, you can have an inspection done, at which time you'll probably know more than anyone about the property.
This is your 5th time buying a property so you already know everything you need to know
Even if you have purchased many other properties in the past, you still don’t know what you don’t know. You don't know what you don't know, until you find out what you don't know, and then it's too late. Every Agreement of Purchase and Sale is unique.
Whether you’re thinking about buying your first home, or your fifth, there is a lot to learn about every home. The more you know, the better your experience will be. We can help you sort through all the information that is out there, and explain all the aspects you need to know. Our personalized home buying consultation sessions give you the basic information you need to get started. We will help you avoid costly mistakes, explain the process of buying a home, and give personal recommendations for reputable mortgage brokers, inspectors, lawyers and any other professional service providers you may need. We will also explain how we use our knowledge of contract law (the offer and acceptance process) to increase your chance of securing your dream home at the best price. These sessions are free, scheduled at your convenience, and there is no obligation to work with us after the session.
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