Should I sell my home myself?
This is a question that a number of sellers in the Comox Valley real estate listed through realty agents market ask. When asked, most sellers who ponder this question do so in order to save the commission.
Here are a few perspectives on this issue. First, the commission. Comox Valley real estate agents work on a commission basis in British Columbia. This is not by choice. It is the way the market currently works. Given a choice many agents would likely choose to bill clients by the hour for the professional services that they provide. Good real estate agents provide people with many real estate services for which they do not get paid. These professionals only get paid when they receive a commission. Having said this, they pay for many things, and incur many expenses, of which most people are not aware. In a future blog I will touch on some of these. For now, let’s get back to the commission.
Comox Valley real estate commissions are generally split between the realty selling and buying agency. The real estate agency is the business with which the real estate agent is under contract. The commission is then further split between the agency and the agent. If there are fees such as referral fees, they are taken off of the commission that is paid to the agent. After expenses and tax, the real estate agent is left with an amount that can be far less than the overall commission paid by the seller. Remember, the agency employs people to help with things like coordination with the local real estate board, retrieving information for agents, and coordinating with the offices of notaries and/or lawyers. While clients deal with the individual agents, other people are involved in the overall process to make sure it works as smoothly as possible. Some Comox Valley agents may also employ assistants who they also have to pay.
Some professionals do “pro bono” work – professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment, or at a reduced fee as a public service. To stay in business, however, real estate professionals, like anyone else, need to be paid for the services that they provide. In the Comox Valley real estate profession, the type and quality of service can vary dramatically among different real estate agents. It is important, therefore, to interview several before entering into a business relationship with them.
Comox homes now offered for sale in a sellers’ real estate market can be quite different than selling a home in a buyers’ market. If a home seller has had lots of experience selling in a variety of markets, they will understand the differences. As well, they may be able to adjust their selling strategy and plan to the market with which they are faced to sell their home.
Marketing a Comox Valley ome today is a different proposition than it was even 5 years ago. While some traditional methods still work, other methods are becoming less effective in the world of today, and some are expected to become less relevant in the world of tomorrow. It is important for a real estate agent to keep abreast of the changes. As a seller, I would want to know how they do this. Do they try and learn the newer, more effective methods themselves? Do they do this by self-study or by trial and error? Do they take advanced marketing courses? Do they keep current? Do they contract with professional marketing firms? Good questions to ask if you are thinking about selling a home yourself. How do you do this?
Comox Valley Real Estate is a highly regulated industry. There are many laws that currently regulate different aspects of real estate. While preparing for a presentation to a seller, I recall compiling a list of some of the real estate laws that could affect a real estate transaction in British Columbia. I came up with a list of 38 real estate related Acts fairly quickly. Given how frequently laws can, and do, change it would be prudent for any seller to be familiar with some of the more common laws relating to real estate. By law, Comox home sellers have obligations, for example, related to disclosure when selling a home. Clearly, real estate agents do not give legal advice. However, competent real estate agents stay current on these laws so that they are in a position to know when to recommend to a client to seek legal advice. Competent real estate agents are also trained to know how to write a legally enforceable contract. As a private seller, how well prepared are you to deal with these types of issues? When nothing goes wrong, these types of issues may not surface and become issues. When something goes wrong, however, they may surface and cause grief.
The Comox Valley real estate market, marketing, and legal aspects of selling real estate are only three of 15 that I can think of that a Comox Valley home seller who is planning to sell their home themselves should think through. If you are thinking of selling a home yourself in the Comox Valley, take a few minutes and come and talk to Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty.