Meet three prospective first-time home buyers, and one who took the leap

Text by Tara Perkins, Kelly Cryderman, Brent Jang and Susan Krashinsky

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Mar. 09 2013, 8:00 AM EST

Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 12 2013, 9:03 AM EDT

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/meet-three-prospective-first-time-home-buyers-and-one-who-took-the-leap/article9559385/

 

Cracks in the house? Climate change dries the ground we stand on

By Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen May 12, 2013

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Cracks+house+Climate+change+dries+ground+stand/8373664/story.html#ixzz2TO13kRSW

Is your house built on leda clay? If you live in Ottawa, chances are high that it might be. Here is a good article to educate yourself as to the risks and what you can do to safeguard.

 

Real Estate Agents are just out to get paid

Blogged by Laura Seanor, March 17 2015

A CTV Consumer Report last night about Buyer Representation Forms made it sound as though Real Estate Agents are out to trap you into a contract, so that they can get paid.  Is this really the case?  What is the form really for?

When I sit down with a new buyer for the first time, I always provide a sample of the Buyer Representation (Form 300) found on the Ottawa Real Estate Board Website.  This provides a highlighted red explanation of each clause in the contract.  I like my buyers to know what they are signing.  I am an extremely loyal person, I provide this form upfront and if I am working for you, I do appreciate your loyalty in return.  I promise hard work & dedication for my clients but I do not promise to work for free.  Would you?

Why sign a Buyer Representation? 

It is really just a document to ensure that an agent gets paid?  No, it is not.  It is a document in which you are contracting the Real Estate Brokerage to work on your behalf.  It defines the relationship between you, the buyer and the Real Estate Agent.  As with any contract, it does specify what the compensation the professional is receiving for the services they are providing.  If you are signing a Buyer Representation (Form 300) the agent is also committing you to that you as the buyer will be treated with the elevated status of a Client Relationship.

In my first career, in the Telecom Industry, we used the words Client and Customer interchangeably.  What is the difference?  We would have long debates as to whether we had Clients or Customers.  What did the titles mean in the market place and how were they perceived?  As we were selling to the big guns (Verizon, Bell, Telus, Rogers, AT&T, etc.), it was decided that the word Client showed more respect.  Clients were more elite and required an elevated level of service.

This is very true in the Real Estate industry.  There are very distinct differences between a Client and a Customer.  In your initial meeting with your Real Estate agent you can choose to be either a Client or Customer.  If you do not want to be represented as a Client there is another Ontario Real Estate form to sign the Buyer Customer Representation (Form 310)

Below is a quick chart showing the base differences between Client Service & Customer Service.

Services & Duties Provided

Client Service

Buyer’s Agent

Fiduciary Duties

Customer Service

Honesty & Fairness

Accounting

Reasonable Care & Diligence – obey laws

Confidentiality

Undivided Loyalty – work solely in your best interests

Full Disclosure

Advocacy – Must Act As Your Advocate

Negotiate – best price & terms for you the buyer

What does this mean for you?

Your agent provides advice, guidance and discusses best negotiation strategies

Your agent only provides the facts / numbers.  They cannot help interpret the facts

 

Along with these two forms there is yet another form within the Ontario Real Estate Association; Working with a Realtor (Form 810).  This form is used on both the Buy & Sell side of the transaction and is a one page form to again clarify the relationship between the Buyer/Seller and the Real Estate Agent.  Within Form 810 you are signing that the types of representation have been explained to you and initialing to what sort of relationship you are requesting (Client or Customer).

But what do you do if you aren’t getting the service you are promised?

If you aren’t happy with your real estate agent, talk to them, let them know.  Satisfied Clients are not only more fun to work with, they lead to future recommendations and my business growing   If my client sat me down and said “Laura this just isn’t working”  I am going to do everything in my power to figure out why and remedy the situation.  If I honestly cannot remedy the situation, I would release that client from the contract, continue to work with them as a customer or possibly recommend an agent that may fit their needs a little better.  This has never happened, as I stated before, once we define our relationship, I am extremely loyal & dedicated to you.   It is also important to note that the contract is signed with the Brokerage, not a specific agent.  If you can’t find a resolution with the agent, speak to the Manager of the office.    You have more options than what this news brief has you to believe.

But I can get a better deal if I just go work with the Listing Agent for the house I want to buy.

Can you?  Most likely, if an agent is marketing a home, that Listing Agent selling the house has signed a similar document on the sell side Listing Agreement (Form 200).  This agent is providing the higher Client level of service to the seller.  Until your relationship with this agent is clearly defined, their fiduciary responsibility is to the Seller.  Basically everything you say to the Agent is being said to the Seller.  This does weaken your negotiating power.  Once an offer is in place, then you are in a multiple representation situation.  At this point, a single agent cannot provide higher level Client service to two different parties.  The relationship of both the Seller & Buyer does change to the base Customer level of service.  However, the Seller still has the advantage of previously negotiation strategies that were discussed while under Client relationship.   You effectively are working with a Real Estate agent, but they are not working FOR you.  Is this what you are looking for?  Are you really getting a good deal or could an agent representing your best interest have gotten a better deal?  It is great that you are happy with the price you paid but is there seed of doubt as to whether you could have gotten a better deal?  You could even now be committed to an agent to sell your existing home and you do not know their marketing plan, numbers or credentials.

What does this come down to?

Thank you to CTV consumer report for opening the conversation.  I don’t know the specifics about the case highlighted in the report however when choosing a real estate agent, know that you have the right to the level of service you want.   Licensed Real Estate agents governed under CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association), OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association) and their local board, OREB (Ottawa Real Estate Board) should follow these forms and make every effort to fully educate buyers about their options.  Real Estate agents are people too; we come in all kinds of personalities. It is important to ask questions and select an agent that actively listens, informs you and feels right for you.  Buying a new home can be an emotional and overwhelming time.  Using the right agent can change the experience into a fun and rewarding time, when you find the home that fits all your current and future goals. 

If you have any questions about the Ottawa Real Estate Market or would like any additional information on the ideas or forms presented here please feel free to contact me at Laura@OttawaLaura.com