Q: What's the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?
"REALTOR®" and "real estate agent" are not interchangeable, although some real estate agents might like them to be. The term REALTOR® is a registered certification mark that identifies the quality of services rendered by licensed real estate agents who are members of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). All real estate agents are not REALTORS®, but all REALTOR® members are real estate agents. REALTOR® members are committed to a strict code of ethics known as the REALTOR® Code, and are the only ones who have the right to list your property on the MLS® systems of their local real estate boards. To correctly be referred to as a REALTOR®, a real estate agent must be a member of CREA.
Q: How do I figure out what mortgage I can afford?
Determining the mortgage you can carry is based on a relatively simple calculation of loan amount, down payment, interest rate and amortization period. A good rule of thumb when figuring your monthly housing cost is that it should not exceed 32% of your gross monthly family income or 40% of your gross monthly income.
Visit the Mortgage Calculator, plug in a few numbers and see what you end up with! Remember to take your “ closing costs” into consideration...this is money you will need before your possession date which consists of your down payment, legal fees, land transfer tax, and property taxes, ect. An average estimate is 2-3% of your purchase price. Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be! Feel free to reach out, I can help you with a more accurate estimate once you decide on a home to purchase.
Q: What should I expect when I enlist the help of a REALTOR® to sell my house?
REALTORS® help you get the most for your home and they remove stress and confusion from the process. Here are just some of the advantages:
- Your REALTOR® is an ethical business person. REALTORS® must adhere to the extensive Code of Ethics of the Canadian Real Estate Association. Several provinces have additional codes of ethics governing real estate professionals. Your interests must always be put first.
- Your REALTOR® becomes your home's champion!
- REALTORS® have extensive market knowledge so as to help you get the most for your home.
- When you sign a 'Listing Agreement' with your REALTOR®, this is their promise that he or she will use all their skills and resources to get the most for your home.
- REALTORS® know how to attract the most potential buyers.
- Your REALTOR® is an expert home promoter, connected to a network of agents and their buyers. He or she knows how to write compelling ads for your home, and only REALTORS® can place your home on a board's MLS® system.
- REALTORS® will help you increase your home's 'sale-ability.'
- Most people have an emotional attachment to your home, and therefore can't view it objectively. Your REALTOR® will help you present your home in the best light, so buyers will fall in love with it effortlessly!
- REALTORS® are masters of reading the market and pricing your home for maximum return. A REALTOR®'s experience literally pays!
- REALTORS® are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers. Tempers can flare and heels can dig in. Your REALTOR® is an expert at smoothing things out.
- REALTORS® have progressive negotiation skills so as to keep the deal on track!
Q: Do I really need a REALTOR® to sell my home?
Many people who try to sell their own home end up using a REALTOR® in the end anyway. Before anybody decides to fly solo through this complex, time consuming and financially perilous process, they should consider these questions:
- Will you really "save" the real estate commission? When buyers see a home for sale 'by the owner', they see a bargain. They imagine the REALTOR®'s fee going into their pocket, not yours.
- How many potential buyers will you reach? Selling a home takes more than just hanging a 'For Sale' sign. How will you promote your home? Will you write your own ads? How will you use the internet? MLS® and the corresponding web site www.REALTOR.ca have changed the way people search for homes, and it's hard to court buyers without it.
- Do you have the time? I DO! I work 24/7 with my marketing plan, promoting your home through various avenues. Promoting a home is a full time job--and you probably already have one! Will you be able to take calls at any time? How about screening the callers to figure out if they're suitable candidates? Not everybody who calls is even suitable to walk through your home, but how do you tell? I can help make sure the buyers coming through the door are qualified and serious.
- Do you know the market well enough to get the most for your home? I DO! The average do-it-yourselfer is merely guessing at their listing price. Often they set the price too low and miss out on thousands of dollars, or they price their home too high and drive away willing buyers.
- Do you have the negotiation skills to keep a deal on track? When an offer comes in, emotions can run high with so much money on the line. This is why direct seller-to-buyer deals often end in disaster. The average person doesn’t know the proper legal terminology or 'conditions' that may exist to help a deal come together. I DO! REALTORS® keep it professional and are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers.
Q: Should I sell first or buy first?
This is a personal question and depends on many factors such as the availability of properties in your new desired area, the average time it may take to sell your current home, your personal financial situation, your comfort level with the possibility of owning two homes for a period of time as well as your comfort level in potentially not having a place to move immediately. I can discuss the in's and out's of your personal situation to help you make sense of the process, and decide what is right for you!