Since all my friends and family know I’m in real estate, I am often asked for advice. One of the most common real estate questions I get is, “Do you need a realtor to buy a home?” No, there’s no law stating you must work with an agent, but there is absolutely no good reason not to.
It doesn’t cost money—not a single penny—for an Ottawa home buyer to use an agent. The seller pays our fees, so why not use one? We have the license, the skills, the education, and the insurance.
Still, many think buying a house without a realtor saves you money. This is simply not true. Taking a DIY approach limits your options and can cost you more in the long run. You need a home-buying guide to help you in your journey.
Here’s what I tell anyone who asks and what you should know before you start house hunting alone.
With a realtor, you’ll get:
1. Years of Market Expertise
If you’re internet savvy, you can search “homes for sale in Ottawa” and probably set up some viewings. That’s a start, but your online search will only get you so far. Are you confident the houses you are looking at are worth the asking price? Do you really have a pulse on the market? Are they aware of all the various neighbourhoods, from Old Ottawa South to Barrhaven?
Real estate agents understand the local home buying process better than anyone, which means we recognize subtle nuances and can predict trends. Using tools the general public doesn’t get access to, we check the historical purchase price of homes in different areas of the city, carefully tracking community and property data going back several years. As a buyer’s real estate agent, we share this important market value information with you.
Also, because we buy and sell homes daily, we likely know the seller’s agent (also known as the listing agent). We’ve developed relationships with folks across the industry and know who to trust and who to be wary of. This extends to the many vendors you’ll need to call upon, like a home inspector, handyman or real estate attorney.
When you buy a house without an agent, you risk working with someone that doesn’t have your best interest in mind.
2. A Negotiator
A buyer’s agent will fight for you. We are practiced negotiators who aren’t emotionally tied to the home or the buying process. We know what to say and when based on information about the house, the situation, the personalities involved, bully offers, and numerous other factors.
You don’t want to make an expensive mistake, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. Let us help you get the maximum ROI on your real estate; experienced agents are trained negotiators who get you the best deal.
3. Insider Information on Great Properties that Haven’t Hit the Market Yet
If you’ve viewed a “new” property on the MLS, it’s already been on the market for at least 24-48 hours. That’s because there’s a “real estate agents only” grace period for all listings. In that time, any agent selling property in Ottawa has had the chance to show homes and collect offers. As a result, approximately 10% of home sales occur within that first day, before the property ever hits the market.
There are also properties that never even make it to the MLS. These are pocket listings. Buying agents share information with their team members, including listings that aren’t publically available. If we end up in a dual agency situation (where both agents are members of the Paul Rushforth team), the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent diligently work on behalf of their clients to put together the best deal possible for everyone.
And, at Paul Rushforth, we immediately set you up with a search that sends you properties each day. This comprehensive list includes properties from all real estate companies, plus bank home foreclosures, distressed sales, company-owned properties, and more.
Access to this information is a huge benefit because once a property hits the market and open houses occur, you have much more competition. If multiple people are interested in the same property, you could end up in a bidding war and paying more for the home you want.
When you are buying a house without an agent, you miss out on opportunities like these.
4. Someone to do the Homework for You
Sure, there are tools online that can help narrow down your search, but they don’t let you filter for everything you may be looking for in a home. Searching through listings takes time that most buyers don’t have. Your agent will make the extra effort to find what’s important to you, like a cook’s kitchen, high ceilings, or small yard.
A buyer’s agent can also find hidden gems. Some properties are listed by an inexperienced seller’s agent who has forgotten to mention wonderful advantages. We’ll root out these listings and send them your way.
And, we know all the right questions to ask before you make a home purchase. For example, if you are looking at a new build in Ottawa, it’s your agent’s job to check the zoning in the surrounding area. Will you soon have an apartment building or gas station in your backyard? Will a green electrical box appear suddenly on your lawn?
The salesperson working in the new home sales center isn’t licensed and won’t have answers to these questions.
5. An Entire Team
Buying a home involves a lot of work. When you decide to proceed without a realtor, all that work falls squarely on your shoulders.
At Paul Rushforth, we’re fortunate to have a large team of Ottawa real estate professionals that take care of details that save you time, money and headaches. For instance:
- We know the true value of the homes you look at.
- We know what seller disclosures to ask about.
- We know the hidden costs of buying a home and what closure costs you don’t need to pay.
- We can arrange a thorough home inspection to spot serious issues. (You don’t want to be stuck fixing foundation cracks or removing lead paint from your new home.)
- We negotiate and fight for you.
- We understand the contracts, clauses and legalese.
- We help you change the closing date if unforeseen problems arise.
- We have a list of trusted vendors to share with you.
- We get all the closing documents to the lawyers and the paperwork to the bank on time.
- We can even help you get a better interest rate and lower your monthly payments.
Working with a strong team is an incredible advantage for our clients, especially in our ever-changing market environment.
6. The Paul Rushforth Team Process
Part of the reason the Paul Rushforth team is so successful is that we do personality matching for our customers. We have a lot of agents and take the time to find the right one for each buyer. This way, we have a deeper, more personal understanding of what you need faster.
We also do something very unique: we sit down with potential buyers and review all the pricing in the area to show you what homes are actually selling for, and then go through the entire contract with you. So, you are prepared and familiar with all the contracts and all the clauses from the very beginning. Things shift quickly in a market like ours, and this saves precious time.
It doesn’t stop there. On top of helping you through the entire real estate transaction from start to finish, we offer extra value like free use of a moving truck and a buy back guarantee.
Don’t Miss Out on the Many Advantages of Working With a Realtor
Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or seasoned investor, it truly pays to have someone looking out for you every step of the way. When you buy a house without a realtor, you fail to benefit from all the services, market expertise and negotiation power mentioned above.
So, if you’re ready to buy a home in Ottawa, reach out today; we’d love to help you find your dream home.