Downsizing to a smaller home?
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5 questions to ask when hiring a real estate professional
With about 75,000 real estate professionals in Ontario, how do you pick the one that is right for you?
“It’s always a good idea to meet with at least a few different real estate professionals before selecting who you will work with,” says RECO Registrar Joseph Richer. “Consider asking friends or family to recommend a broker or salesperson.” When you have your shortlist of representatives ready, consider asking these questions to find out which representative is right for you.
1. Tell me about your real estate experience.
Experience is about more than how many years someone has been in business. Take the time to learn about the types of properties they typically work with, which cities or areas they work in, and how many homes of the type you are looking for they helped buy or sell in the past year or two.
2. Tell me your general approach to buying or selling and how your approach would best suit my needs.
For the buying side of things, how will the representative search for suitable properties and what is their approach to negotiations? When selling, how will your home be marketed to help attract the right prospective buyers? By understanding their approach, you’ll know what to expect and will be able to determine which representative is aligned with your preferences.
3. Tell me about the services you would provide and any different options or services that may or may not be included.
Discuss your particular needs and expectations to ensure they are able to provide the services you want. For example, when selling, will the representative have professional photos taken of your home or prepare multimedia promotional materials? Will they host open houses? What about advertising? Understanding exactly what services will be provided, and later documenting them in your written contract, will help avoid misunderstandings later on.
4. Tell me about the commission or fees I would pay.
Commissions and fees can vary between brokerages and for the services provided, so be sure to understand what will be provided, and what it will cost. Keep in mind that, as with most things, the cheapest deal is not necessarily the best one.
5. Do you have references?
As with most job interviews, getting in touch with references is an important step before hiring someone. Were past clients pleased with their experience? Was the representative responsive and easy to get in touch with? Would they recommend them to others? Buying and selling a home is a major decision, so it’s important to take the time to find the right representative for you. As the final step before committing to a representative, use the ‘real estate professional search’ feature at www.reco.on.ca to confirm they are registered with RECO.

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5 tips for navigating an uncertain real estate market
For most of us, real estate transactions are the biggest financial transactions of our lives. So before you embark on the buying and selling process, here are some tips to help get you started you get started in an uncertain market.
1. Shop around
With more than 75,000 real estate professionals in Ontario, how do you pick the one that is right for you? It’s always a good idea to meet with at least a few different real estate professionals before selecting who you will work with. Consider asking friends or family to recommend a broker or salesperson. When you have your shortlist of representatives ready, consider asking these questions to find out which representative is right for you. It’s a great way to determine whether you and your rep will be on the same page.

1. Tell me about your real estate experience.
2. Tell me your general approach to buying or selling and how your approach would best suit my needs.
3. Tell me about the services you would provide and any different options or services that may or may not be included.
4. Tell me about the commission or fees I would pay.
5. Do you have references?
2. Look them up
Before hiring a salesperson or broker, check out RECO’s Real Estate Professional Search tool, at the top right corner of our website. Confirm they’re registered and in good standing.
3. Read and understand everything before you sign
It can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you haven’t read. After all, nobody really likes reading the fine print. But taking the time to understand what you’re signing can avoid a lot of problems later on.
4. Know your tolerance for risk
If you’re buying a home, you may be tempted to submit an offer without any conditions attached so that you can get a leg up on the competition. But are you comfortable taking on that level of risk? Can you afford to fix an issue with the home that an inspection otherwise may have detected? Will you be OK should you lose your deposit if a lender denies you financing? Consider all outcomes before committing to a decision.
5. Remember, you own the process
Your representative is a great source of information to offer guidance. But you’re in the driver seat. Don’t make a decision unless you are well informed and comfortable with it.

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How has real estate changed?
If you’ve owned your current home for many years, you may find that a lot has changed in the real estate world. Here are a few of the key ways the real estate marketplace has changed, and how these changes may impact you as you buy or sell a home.
Buyers and sellers have more access to info Real estate advice and trends are easily available online at any time. Today, many buyers turn to the online Multiple Listing Service® at REALTOR.ca to see what homes are available for sale. The accessible, up-to-date system is a big upgrade from paper-based listings. Besides learning about the sales and listings in your area, you’ll also want to take the time to learn about your rights and the protections available to you during the real estate process. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is a good place to start.
Real estate professionals are more accessible Cell phones and mobile technologies have made brokers and salespersons easier to reach, so when you need guidance or advice, you’re more likely to get a quick response.
Commerce is conducted electronically Transactions often take place electronically as well. Contracts can be signed with electronic signatures, offers can be submitted via email, and money can be transferred electronically too. This can make the buying and selling process more efficient, if you choose to take this approach.
Real estate professionals can offer specialized service Different age groups may look at real estate differently and have unique needs when it comes to buying or selling. The real estate profession has responded to this reality, and there are now brokers and salespersons who specialize in serving the boomer market. You can find one near you by visiting www.seniorsrealestate.com or www.thesenioragent.com.
RECO is looking out for consumers The Ontario government created RECO in 1997 to protect home buyers and sellers. That means enforcing rules and a Code of Ethics for real estate professionals, and providing helpful advice to home buyers and sellers. RECO also provides insurance that protects your deposit payment when it is held by a registered brokerage.
One thing hasn’t changed: the knowledge and experience of a real estate professional can be very valuable when you’re buying or selling your home.
A broker or salesperson can help you navigate the process and provide key advice. Before you choose a representative, ask friends or family if they’ve worked with anyone they would recommend.
Be sure to interview a few candidates to ask them about their approach to the buying and selling process, their experience, the services they will offer, and the fees and commission they will charge. It’s also a good idea to ask for references and actually contact them.
A lot has changed in the real estate world, but the changes have provided a lot of benefits for home buyers and sellers. As always, taking the time to make an informed decision will go a long way in having a positive downsizing experience.
 
There’s no shortage of information available about buying and selling real estate, though much of it focuses on market trends and how to get the best price. But you also need information about your rights and responsibilities as a buyer or seller. How do you ensure you are protected?
Fortunately, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is here to help. We work to protect people just like you and enforce the rules that real estate professionals in Ontario must follow. That means we can offer buyers and sellers impartial advice on how to protect themselves and ask the right questions before making one of the most important financial commitments of your life.
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Three pillars of protection.
All brokers and salespersons in Ontario are registered with, and regulated by, RECO. That’s why working with a real estate professional provides buyers and sellers with three pillars of protection: Knowledge, Professional Standards and Insurance.
Knowledge Real estate professionals must complete courses before they can enter the real estate sector. And once they are in the profession, they complete additional courses every two years to keep their knowledge up-to-date and their skills sharp.
Professional Standards Brokers and salespersons are required to uphold professional standards that emphasize treating anyone involved in a transaction with fairness, honesty and integrity, and following rules and regulations that are there to protect consumers. In the rare instance that something goes wrong and you want to complain about your representative or the brokerage, RECO will investigate the complaint and take steps to hold the real estate professional accountable for their actions.
Insurance Deposit insurance provides you with peace of mind knowing that your hard-earned deposit will be held in trust and insured against loss, insolvency or misappropriation by a brokerage.
 
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