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How Important is Professional Help When Buying or Selling a Home?

As people look for ways to save money on buying or selling a home, a common question they consider is whether they really need the services of real estate professionals. While this is not a new debate, with so many industries being disrupted lately and Canada’s current housing crisis, it has gained new momentum. 

When people question the necessity of hiring professional help when buying or selling property, they are usually referring to real estate agents and real estate lawyers. Let’s take a look at the roles they play in a real estate transaction to help you make an informed decision.

What a Real Estate Agent Does for Buyers

Buyer’s agents find their clients listings that align with what they are looking for in a home and arrange showings. Experienced real estate agents use their experience with listing services and knowledge of local markets and save their clients the time and effort it takes visiting properties they know will not be a good fit. They’ll also know if a home is listed at a reasonable price and what red flags to look for during a showing. Similarly, when the time comes to put in an offer on a home, the buyer’s agent will use their market knowledge to negotiate a fair price.

While buyers may be able to save money by not paying an agent’s commission, it’s unlikely they will have the same skill at negotiating a real estate sale as an experienced professional – meaning they may end up paying more in the end.

What a Real Estate Agent Does for Sellers

A seller’s agent is responsible for marketing the home and using their experience and network to advise the seller on how to get the best price for their home in their preferred timeframe. They also use their experience and skill to negotiate the selling price.

By not using an agent, a seller can keep more of the proceeds for themselves, but if they don’t market or price their home properly, or aren’t expert negotiators, they too might lose money on the sale.

If you’re buying or selling a home and want to save money, you can negotiate an agent’s commission or consider using a discount or online brokerage to keep yourself protected.

What a Real Estate Lawyer Does When Buying or Selling a Home

The decision on whether you need a real estate lawyer when buying or selling a home is straightforward – only lawyers can perform title searches and complete a transfer of land for it to be officially registered as the buyer’s property in Ontario. 

However, real estate lawyers also perform other services to ensure that a transfer of property is seamless and legally sound and that their clients are protected during one of the most important transactions of their lives.  

For sellers, they can also assist by helping you negotiate the terms and conditions of the sale, address any title issues and review and explain the Agreement of Sale and other legal documents. 

When acting for buyers, real estate lawyers perform the same duties, but they are also responsible for transferring the funds to the seller, ensuring the property taxes are up-to-date and calculating the amount of land transfer tax the buyer must pay on closing, among other functions.

Parting Thought

Considering we don’t know what we don’t know, perhaps having professional help when buying or selling a home is a good idea considering what’s at stake. The key however, is to do your homework and work with professionals you can trust.