First Steps When Buying Your First Home
Buying a home is actually a little bit complicated. Those who have never been involved in the home buying process will often look up Open Houses and do that for a while. Some will search on the internet and Google addresses of properties they like, thinking they are going to find the listing agent. This is not how it works, though. If you search addresses on the internet, you are going to land on a site like this one. This is a great search engine for Real Estate, but the listings on this website are not mine.
We have many new rules that have been imposed on us by the government. Trying to reach the listing agent will not actually get you the results you seek. Many people think it will be faster, more convenient, and possibly that they may be able to negotiate a better deal by negotiating out the Buyer's Agent commission. This is no longer possible. A listing agent is strictly forbidden from representing a Buyer on a property that they have listed. A Listing Agent who is not representing you can not answer any questions that are not already publicly disclosed in the listing, they can not tell you anything about why the seller wants to move, and can not discuss price with you. If you ask about how much flexibility the seller may have, about the only answer you could get from a competent listing agent is that "they might take full price", although that is not always the case. Sometimes a seller wants more than asking price...
I'd like to discuss Open House a little bit more. If you are visiting an Open House that is being hosted by the listing agent, he or she will not be able to answer any questions beyond what is public information. This is the result of the banning of dual agency, one of the new rules imposed on the industry. This has brought about a new behaviour in listing agents, which is to have someone else host the Open House for them. Since they can't actually pick up any Buyers at their own listing, it is better to do Open Houses for someone else, and have someone else do their Open House. This does not necessarily help you much as a Buyer though, as the only way an agent can engage Buyers that they meet at Open Houses is if they have not met the Seller, and do not know anything about their motivation, etc., so they don't actually know anything beyond what is public information in the listing. The advantage is with the agent hosting the open house, in that they can meet Buyers who are not represented by an Agent yet.
There is a process, though. An agent can't just start chatting you up about why you want to buy, what you want to buy, your budget, etc. Before an agent can talk to a Buyer about budget, motivation, or even personal information, there are forms that need to be signed, although none of these forms actually bind you to an agent. They are mandatory, though; these are some of the new rules imposed on the industry in the summer of 2018. One of the forms is called Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services, and the other is Privacy Notice and Consent form. So, every agent you want to talk to about Real Estate, will first need to have a discussion with you about these forms and have them signed before they are allowed to even talk to you about anything more than general market trends. You certainly may choose not to sign them, but that would be the end of the conversation since having them signed is mandatory for the agent to be able to talk further.
So, after doing the Open House thing for a while, and having dozens of agents putting these forms in front of you in order to try to talk to you about your purchase, you will probably find that it is best to choose an agent. If you have an agent, then you can tell people so, and they will not be pestering you. If you have not been doing the Open House circuit, having read this page should hopefully get you thinking about finding an agent before going out there. At MegaSite™ there are about a half dozen experience and qualified agents. I can connect you with someone who speaks your language if English is not your first language.
Having read this, you are better educated than most people out there. Agents are not having this discussion with their clients, and even experienced Buyers are not aware of these new rules I have just discussed. Most of the calls I get are from people who have an agent, and they are assuming I am the listing agent. This frustrates me to no end. Buyers do not know that Listing Agents can't answer their questions, and their chosen agent has not informed them of how to properly get information about a property, which is through their agent. This is the Buyers' Agent's job, it what they get paid to for. A Buyers' Agent is more valuable than just an information gatherer, though. A Buyers' Agent is going to competently write a contract that protects a Buyer, and will offer guidance in the process. You will know what all your associated costs will be, and you will benefit from an agent's Errors and Omissions Insurance.
Feel free to browse listings on my Website and contact me when you are ready, understanding that these are not all my listings. Because they are not my listings is why I can help, if they were my listings I would not be able to do anything for you. I will connect you with an appropriate agent serving the area you inquire in. You can contact me from any listing, but please leave me a detailed message so I can connect you with someone who is the best fit for you, then you decide if you want to work with them.
Sutton Centre Realty
An Independent Member Broker
3010 Boundary Road Burnaby BC