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The value of a real estate agent

When you are buying a home, refinancing your mortgage, or selling your home, there are a number of professionals that you will work with to help facilitate the transaction. In this five-part blog series, we examine the role of the professionals you may encounter in your home buying and/or selling journey to give you a better understanding of the value they bring to the transaction.

In this post, the last of the series, we’ll discuss the role of a real estate agent in the process of buying and selling a home.

What is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is a licenced professional who helps home buyers and sellers come together in real estate transactions. Once an agent has obtained their license, they must work under a supervising broker for at least two years and take part in annual continuing education training.

In many cases, both the home’s buyer and the seller have their own real estate agent to represent their interests. Although it’s recommended for each party to have independent representation, in some cases, the seller’s agent (also known as the listing agent) will represent both parties. It is important to understand from the outset which party the agent is representing because it may have an impact on the conditions of the sale.

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a broker?

Real estate agents are independent professionals who work under a real estate broker. Real estate transaction fees are generally paid through the brokerage that an agent works with, but you can also work directly with a broker. Licencing requirements vary by province but passing a certification exam is necessary to serve as an agent or a broker in any province or territory in Canada.

Do I need to work with an agent or broker to buy or sell a home?

Because real estate agents are typically paid a commission based on the sale price of the home, it may be tempting to attempt to negotiate directly with a seller to avoid paying those fees. However, without an agent, you’ll have to do a lot of leg work on your own. Finding a property you love may be easy enough to do without support, but negotiating an offer, including a fair purchase price and what conditions or contingencies to include, may be a challenge without an experienced professional to help guide you.

Further, only licenced agents can list properties on mls.ca, arguably the most visited site for real estate listings in Canada. If you are selling your home and it can’t be listed on mls.ca, you will miss out on a significant source of potential buyers.

How can I find a real estate agent?

When selecting someone to serve as an intermediary for you on what may be one of the most significant purchases you will ever make, it’s important to be sure you’re comfortable with your choice. Make sure the person you select is someone who listens to you about your needs and wants in a home. Ask your friends and family for a recommendation if they were happy with a real estate agent they have worked with previously.

If you are moving to a new area and can’t ask your network for a local referral, you can use the directory on mls.ca. Be sure to take your time in the process of finding a real estate agent so they can, in turn, help you find a home you will love. Agents often have expertise in certain geographical areas, so if you’re looking in a specific neighbourhood, you may want to consider finding someone who has a good understanding of that neighbourhood.

Whether you’re buying, selling, or refinancing a home, taking the time to learn more about the people and companies you can expect to work with can help you feel more confident about the process. Be sure to visit the rest of the posts in our five-part series on real estate industry professionals:

The information, materials and opinions contained in this Blog are provided for your information only. This Blog does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice and you should not rely on it as an alternative to specific advice based on your particular circumstance. This Blog contains links to third party websites. These links are provided for information and convenience; Home Trust does not endorse the content of any third party website, and it makes no representation or warranty as to the information on such third party sites. By clicking on any link to a third party site, you leave Home Trust’s website and do so at your own risk. Home Trust disclaims all liability for any damage or loss that results from your access to or reliance on information contained in this Blog or any third party site.

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