When it comes to buying and selling property in Canada, there are several avenues that you can explore, including classifieds, social media, or even looking for ‘house for sale’ signs outside homes in your neighborhood. However, involving a realtor continues to be the most popular method of finding suitable properties to buy.
Normally, people looking to sell their house get in touch with a realtor, who can connect them with prospective and interested buyers without any trouble. Since this is the common practice, buyers also think that they need to involve a realtor if they want to buy a property.
This article covers everything you need to know on the topic of buying property without a realtor in Canada.
Although it is common for property sellers to get in touch with realtors, some choose to represent themselves and add listings on several classifieds and other platforms. Similarly, buyers can also represent themselves when they choose to buy a property, by searching for home for sale and getting in touch with the seller or selling agent directly themselves.
There is a common misconception about buying a property without a realtor. Many think that if as a buyer you come without a real estate agent, you can save some money on commission and fees. If the seller also does not have a realtor representing them, then there may be additional room for negotiations, but if the seller has a real estate agent who listed the property, then they are usually obligated to pay the full commission to the selling agent in the event that the buyer has not realtor representation. This means that if the seller signs an agreement to pay 5% to the selling agent, in the event of a buyer coming with their own agent, that 5% is usually split between both agents. If the buyer does not have their own realtor, then the selling agent will keep the full 5%. In this situation, whether you come without an agent to purchase the property or with an agent, the seller pays the same 5% regardless.
By not having an agent help you to find and buy a property, you might be losing out on a lot of time and on the added protection that reputable and experienced realtor can provide by guiding buyers and helping them find the right property for their needs. According to real estate laws in Canada, the buyer’s realtor doesn’t receive any commission from the buyer, but they tend to get a share of the commission received by the seller’s realtor.
So, you can buy property without involving a realtor in Canada, and you can actually close the deal without any difficulty. However, the process can be a little hard to understand, and you will need to have knowledge regarding policies surrounding buying a house. Venturing into purchasing a property without a realtor calls for extensive research, and you will have to put the time and effort into finding suitable properties yourself, while also, in many cases, dealing with realtors on the other side.
If you still think that you can find your way around the real estate market without a realtor at the steering wheel, you have all the authority to do so.
The reason why both the buying and selling parties choose to involve realtors is to develop trust among each other, which is the key to finalizing the deal where someone’s money and property ownership changes hands. Sellers would typically not have an issue with the buyer not involving a realtor in the deal, and therefore are unlikely to refuse to do business with you. For the most part, sellers just want to sell their properties for the highest value that they can, and they don’t really tend to care much about other factors.
However, when a seller chooses to allow into their property and allow you to examine it completely, either the seller will be present or their realtor in most situations, unless you have your own real estate agent with you. This is primarily for the protection of the seller and their property. In some situations, without an experienced real estate salesperson helping you, some sellers might try to take advantage of you, since you might not have the knowledge or experience yourself about certain aspects and intricacies surrounding the real estate market and buying a property.
I always listen to my gut on these things and I will cease any negotiations or talks with a seller or agent who I feel seems to be hiding something or not forthcoming. That’s usually a good rule of thumb for many.
Unless you have excellent negotiation skills, you might find it difficult to effectively negotiate a favorable purchase price when going up against a professional real estate salesperson. Especially in a seller’s market, getting a reasonable price on a property might be next to impossible and you might find yourself out of luck is you try to lowball the seller. This is where either a realtor’s experience and knowledge can come in handy to help you understand the true value of a property when you put in an offer. Unless you have this kind of knowledge and experience yourself, you might find it difficult to determine what offer price is right to present.
If you do decide to attempt this on your own, be prepared to negotiate. In many cases, the seller’s realtor will try to get you to increase the first offer that you present. Keep in mind, the goal of both the selling agent and the seller is to sell the property for as high of a purchase price as possible. By self-representing, you might be more likely, especially if you are not well versed in the real estate market, to over pay for a property, or make an emotionally-driven decision rather than a fact-based decision, and you may end up regretting it.
One thing that many buyers are not aware of is that if you make an offer and your offer is accepted by the seller, there are certain cases that will allow you to attempt to renegotiate or walk away from the property down the road. For example, if upon inspection of the property you find deficiencies that were not disclosed to you originally, you will have the right to renegotiate the price or walk away from the property, provided that there was a sufficiently written inspection clause in the signed agreement of purchase and sale. If the seller wants to sell the property to you, they will likely negotiate the price down, or repair the deficiencies prior to closing. However, in a heated market, sellers might be less likely to renegotiate knowing that they will likely be able to sell the house to someone else for the same price they accepted from you or even higher regardless of potential issues with the property. As a result, they might be happy to have you walk away from the deal.
A major benefit of working with a realtor is that they have extensive knowledge and a wide catalog of properties across several locations. This can help you get access to the best properties that suit your requirements. While most realtors post property listings on websites, MLS, and classifieds, they reserve some of the premium properties for their select clients. This means that you might not even know about a property that is on the market if you don’t involve a realtor.
To some extent, you will need to depend on the property listings put up by realtors on online marketplaces, since it isn’t actually viable to roam the neighborhood and look for houses that are being sold. Moreover, house owners might not let you in if you simply walk over to their front door and ring the bell since they won’t know who you are and may not trust you like they would a realtor.
So, if you are willing to endure the grind and do whatever it takes to find suitable properties for sale around you, you can choose to work without a realtor. You will have to familiarize yourself with the important terms and clauses involved in sale and purchase deals. Not only could a realtor help you understand everything the seller and their realtor talk about, a trusted realtor will also help you communicate better with the buying side. They will keep you up to speed in the entire process, and also ensure that you don’t get talked into a bad deal.
You know hopefully have a better on how you can buy property in Canada without involving a realtor, and the pros and cons that go along with that decision. As you know now, there is no law stating that you have to involve a realtor in the process, but doing so can help you get access to the best properties, and also help you save time and money. However, if you have planned to go solo, make sure you know about the technicalities and terms, and the market trends before you start looking for homes and negotiate with sellers.