I’m moving to Ottawa but I really like my Guelph-based real estate salesperson. Can I use her to help me buy my home in Ottawa?

You can use a Guelph-based real estate salesperson to help you buy a home in Ottawa – registration with RECO allows a salesperson or broker to trade in real estate anywhere in the province – but you should ask yourself if that’s a good idea. Has she helped other clients purchase similar properties in Ottawa, and does she know the city well enough to offer you competent service and protect your interests as a buyer?

If your Guelph-based salesperson does regular business in Ottawa and belongs to the local real estate board, which provides its members with full and early access to local listings through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), she might be an excellent candidate to help you find a new home. If that’s not the case, you may wish to consider working with a salesperson who works for an Ottawa-area brokerage for a couple of reasons:

Convenience: You’ll have a lot more flexibility for scheduling appointments to visit properties when you work with somebody who lives and works in the area where you want to buy. Will you be well-served if your Guelph-based salesperson can’t travel to Ottawa to show you homes?

Contacts and local knowledge: you may wish to make your offer conditional upon the home successfully passing a home inspection, or even have a formal appraisal performed to determine its value. An Ottawa-based salesperson is more likely to know, and be able to recommend Ottawa-area professionals who can help you. They can also answer your questions about schools, shopping, traffic, and the availability of public transit, to name a few common concerns. An experienced salesperson should be able to offer both a knowledgeable analysis of local market conditions and reasonable up-to-the-minute dollar value estimates of different properties.

If you’re not sure how to get started, you could ask your Guelph-based salesperson to make a referral; she’ll put you in touch with a capable Ottawa brokerage and salesperson and she may receive an agreed upon referral fee from the Ottawa brokerage, which you can expect her to tell you about. This can save you the hassle of conducting a long-distance search for the right salesperson.

Referral arrangements can be employed whenever you are looking at properties outside of your current area – including other provinces or countries. To ensure their clients are getting the best representation, salespeople will often refer their clients to other brokerages if the client wishes to purchase a property that’s outside their geographic area or expertise, such as cottages and vacation homes. It’s a big reason why we recommend using a local registered salesperson or broker when you buy or sell property.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.


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Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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