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Frequently Asked Questions - Realtors

Why should I use the services of a Realtor?
A Realtor can provide valuable advice on both buying and selling real estate. Using a Realtor services can facilitate your purchase/sale process, ensure your decision is based on quality information, and ultimately save you time and money on the purchase or sale of your home.

How is a Realtor compensated for his/her services?
If you are selling you will agree upon a method of payment. Most Realtors are paid on commission which means they only get paid if they sell your home. Commissions are negotiable, and usually depend on the property, and situation. In most cases the commission is deducted from your sale proceeds. There are a select few Realtors working on a fee for service basis, which means you may pay them for their services prior to your home being sold.

A buyer normally doesn't pay any commission as the sellers offer a commission to the selling Realtor (buyer's agent) for bringing a buyer to their home. Again, some Realtors operate on a fee for service basis which would change this situation depending on the arrangements made.

How do I know which Realtor to hire?
You should interview 2 or 3 Realtors and hire them based on their ability to service your needs as a buyer or seller. Yep, I said BUYER or seller. It seems as though no one interviews Realtors when they want to buy and this is a large oversight, as you spend a lot of time with your Realtor when you are buying and you should make sure they are the right person for the job. It's better to decide you are not a fit in an interview, than 2 weeks into the process. Interview a Realtor, and make a commitment to the one that makes sense for you!

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Request a complete seller's information package

How are appointments made to view potential homes, or my home?
Your Realtor must arrange them by speaking with the listing Realtors, who in turn, get permission from their sellers. This process can involve 2 or 3 phone calls so when you are looking at 5 or 6 homes, you need to allow adequate time for these appointments to be made. It's very hard to make these arrangements on short notice, or make last minute changes. Remember this is someone's home and they need notice as well.

The listing Realtor will call back with any special instructions, the location of the lock box, and any codes required to access the house.

When looking at For Sale By Owners (that's right, we will arrange and work with all types of sellers on your behalf) there are no lock boxes, so we are required to work completely around the sellers schedule as they need to let us in. This means it's very hard to see more than 2 or 3 For Sale By Owners in one day or night. You also have to allow for the personal tour aspect which they all like to do and this takes some extra time.

How long does it take to view a home?
When looking at more than one home you should allow 15 minutes maximum as you have to ensure you make your other appointments. If you like one particular home you should make notes and let your Realtor know that you would like to go back for a second showing. More time is allotted for second showings so you can spend more time in the home taking notes or asking questions.

Can I take pictures of the homes?
No, this is unlawful without the permission of the sellers. The listing Realtor sometimes provides a detailed feature sheet with the pictures of the home. You can take this along with you notes to help remember it once you get back home.

How many homes will we need to see?
Our clients on average look at between 8 and 13 homes before making an offer. We spend a lot of time educating our clients to the market, reviewing their criteria and buyer needs. If this doesn't happen, you might find yourself looking at too many homes that don't meet your needs. If you've viewed over 30 homes and can't find the right one, it's time to re-evaluate and make sure your Realtor understands what you want. A simple Wish ListĚ could help both you and your Realtor understand the characteristics of your future home.

How do I decide how much to pay for my house?
This is why you have the help of a Realtor. We can access property history, recent sales in the community, and other factors that influence the marketability of a home. Together you and your Realtor will review this information and determine a start and finish point for your negotiations. On homes over $1,000,000 it is our policy to have an appraisal done by a CRA or AAIC accredited appraiser to help establish the value of your home.

What are competing offers?
Sometimes in a hot market there may be more than one buyer with an offer on a home. If you have an offer in negotiation and another offer is presented to the listing Realtor, you will have a chance to re-write your offer (usually higher and better), and so will the other parties. Then all offers will be presented to the seller at a certain time at which time the seller simply chooses the offer that they like the best. Usually a buyer will have to pay more money when there are competing offers.

What is a Real Property Report (RPR)?
A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements on and within your properties boundaries. It is a drawing/survey of the various physical features of the property. It is relied on by the buyer, seller, lender, municipality as an accurate representation of the property and improvements. If you plan on selling you should have an up to date RPR ready for your Realtor. For more information visit the Alberta Land Surveyors Association www.alsa.ab.ca

What is a home inspector and do I need one?
It is our policy that all purchasers should have a home inspection done on the home they are potentially purchasing, and the offer should be conditional, or subject a buyers satisfactory approval of a home inspection.

A qualified home inspector can detect problems with the home, sometimes, so significant in nature that you may not wish to proceed with your purchase. A home inspection is for you protection and is highly recommended.

What is title insurance?
Title insurance offers a buyer protection against certain unforeseen errors or oversights. For instance it covers you against errors in R.P.R.s, or encroachment of your property onto a neighboring property, or utility right of way. These are generic examples and of course each insurer will have terms and conditions of coverage. One company offering title insurance is First Canadian Title. For more information: www.firstcanadiantitle.com or 1-800-307-0370.

Where can I find information on communities?
The city of Calgary web site offers some valuable information on communities and schools: www.calgary.ca

What are conditions on a contract?
Conditions have an expirey date and can be for the sole benefit of a buyer or seller. A common condition for a buyer is financing where a buyer reserves the right to cancel their deal if they do not receive financing approval for the home.

It's important to note that unless a condition is waived or satisfied by providing written notice (buyer would provide notice to the seller that they have received financing and are removing/waiving/satisfying their condition) the deal will become null and void. For this reason it's important you are careful as a seller which conditions you agree to.

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