buyers-representationSearching for your first, or next home, is a big step, and ultimately a big decision. Purchasing a home is likely going to be the largest investment you will ever make. The average homebuyer spends approximately 1/3 of their income on their home. This decision obviously will have a large impact on your lifestyle, finances, and future decisions.

Like most homebuyers, you likely start out alone and browse the internet to see what you can get for your money in the areas that interest you. Depending on your area, there may be a lot to choose from or the listings may be sparse. But where do you go from there? Do you just call up the listing agent and make an appointment to view the property? Do you wait for an open house, which may never happen? Or do you find a Realtor to help you with your search?

Even this early in the process there are plenty of options. Your choices can affect the outcome of your buying process tremendously. If you end up purchasing a home that requires more work than you had initially thought, your life and finances will feel the strain and leave you in a state of turmoil. On the other hand, if you are well informed about each and every home you view, your chances of making the wrong decision are very slim.

How do you get such advice? Seek out the services of an experienced Realtor. Your Realtor is an invaluable tool in the home purchasing process and can be the difference between a smooth satifsying transaction, or a nightmare.

Here’s why obtaining buyer’s representation is essential when making the decision to buy a home:

It’s Free!

This is a huge reason, and many homebuyers are unaware that a buyer’s representative costs you nothing. Who doesn’t want something for free? Although you’d want to double check with the buyer’s agent, typically you pay absolutely nothing for utilizing the services of a buyer’s agent. I know that for my services as a buyer’s agent, you will never pay me a penny for those services. The buyer’s agent is paid from the seller, an amount that is already agreed upon at the time of listing.

Full Access to MLS/

Browsing the internet for properties is likely where you first start out. When you get more serious, it becomes quite a task checking everyday to see if there are any new listings in the London, Ontario real estate market. Thankfully there is a better way. A Realtor can set you up on a system that will email you all the properties that match your search criteria. This includes information such as: prices, location, house style, photos, tours, property taxes, rooms sizes and more. In many instances you will receive this information even before it shows up on, giving you the advantage to know about properties that may interest you before other buyers. What’s even better is that as every day passes, if a new property comes on the market, within your search criteria, you will get an email notification letting you know. This allows you to browse all the available properties at your own convenience and have the peace of mind that you won’t miss anything that has just become available on the market.

Save you valuable time

Although driving neighbourhoods is a great way to help you decide which locations you prefer, it’s not a very efficient way to find your new home. Gas is expensive, and your time is extremely valuable. Your buyer’s agent will listen to your needs, make suggestions based on those needs, and provide you with a list of homes that match all of your wants & needs. This way you can be well informed about any given property before you choose to spend the time to go view it. This saves you a great deal of valuable time. Your buyer’s agent has helped many homebuyers with this process and can therefore help you maximize your time by assisting you with this process.

Have someone in YOUR corner

When a property is listed on the market, the seller will have signed a legally binding agreement with a listing agent requiring that agent to ALWAYS act in the best interest of the seller. If you are a buyer walking into this scenario you have likely put yourself at great risk. Remember, buying a property is a huge investment, you want to make sure you are protected.  Having buyer representation ensures that you have someone in YOUR corner looking out for your best interests. The listing agent is not going to point out all of the issues or repairs needed to bring the property up to your standards. They made an agreement with the seller to sell the place, which means they will fill your head with all the good stuff and leave out the bad. Your buyer’s agent will leave out emotion and carefully inspect the property as you walk through and point out some of the potential issues that may arise, if they do exist.

Negotiating Power

Your buyer’s agent has access to a database full of properties sold within the area of the listed property. This allows your agent to carefully analyze each and every sold property, within a specific time frame, in order to come up with a fair market value for the property that interests you. Your buyer’s agent will be able to determine if the property being sold is at a reasonable value or whether it is overpriced. This one task alone could save you thousands of dollars. A listing agent may show you some comparables but they may not be fully accurate, the comparables might only reflect properties that have sold for higher values than the average. Since you do not have a viable means to access all of this information, having a buyer’s agent will surely put you in good position. If the said property is overpriced, your buyer’s agent can come up with the proper documentation and evidence to negotiate you a better price.

Conditions and Clauses in the Offer

When it’s time to buy the property of your choice there are some key elements of the agreement of purchase and sale that need special attention depending on your needs. One such instance are the conditions. Conditions and clauses help protect you during the purchase so that you still have time to get your affairs in order before fully committing to the property. If you don’t have a buyer’s agent it’s up to you to know what information you should include in the agreement. Your buyer’s agent will have a great deal of experience with agreements and know what information should be included so that your best interests are being accounted for. Again, you could save thousands of dollars with a few simple statements and be protected in your purchase.

Some buyer’s choose to “go it alone” because they feel they may get a great deal on a property by assuming a listing agent will cut their commission and save them a few thousand dollars. First off, this is not likely the case as the previously signed agreement has already stated the commission amount and to assume that would be the case may be a great misjudgment. In addition, let’s say the property in question is overpriced by $15,000. Unless you have a full list of ALL properties sold in that area, there really is no way to know. If you buy the home and save yourself $2,000 by using one agent, you are still overpaying by $13,000. Is it really worth that risk? Let’s not forget about the fact you may not be fully informed about the property as a whole because there is no one looking out for your best interests.

As already stated, buying a home is likely your largest investment. Why do it all alone when you can hire a buyer’s agent and have the peace of mind that your best  interests are being looked after. This will result in you feeling confident about your purchase and knowing that you paid a fair value for your home.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, I look forward to speaking with you.

Andrew Hopgood
Sales Representative
Sutton Group – Select Realty Inc.
London, Ontario
Direct: 519-317-2215
Office: 519-433-4331

A blog helping people understand more about Real Estate in London, Ontario and Canada