What are the benefits of working with a real estate professional when buying a home?

Buying a property is a big step. It is often the biggest financial commitment people ever make. If you’re looking for a home, a real estate professional can provide valuable expertise and support to help you make informed decisions that will lead you to buying a property that best meets your needs and is within your budget.

Real estate representatives are licensed professionals who are qualified to protect your best interests. They complete a real estate program and exams before applying to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). Once licensed, they complete mandatory continuing education courses to maintain their general knowledge and skills. Many will further develop expertise in specific types of real estate.

All salespeople, brokers and brokerages are insured through the insurance program administered by RECO which includes consumer deposit insurance. The coverage is intended to protect your deposit when it is held by a brokerage.

Generally, you can expect real estate reps to offer a broad range of service options to buyers. These may include sharing their knowledge about housing in specific neighbourhoods, monitoring market trends, offering strategic advice, arranging showings, negotiating and managing paperwork on your behalf.

To choose the most appropriate real estate professional, I suggest you get referrals from family and friends if they had a positive experience and similar needs to yours, interview a few representatives and choose someone who understands your needs and who you’re comfortable with. Consider picking someone knowledgeable in the specific type of property you’re looking for, whether it’s a condominium, semi-detached or detached house, or recreational property (such as a cottage), and who is familiar with the areas you’re interested in.

Once you have chosen someone to work with, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your home-buying experience:

    • Be open and honest with your representative. Communicate what you’re looking for: must-haves, nice-to-haves, neighbourhood preferences, budget, etc. Don’t be shy and tell them what you want.
    • Set expectations early. Be clear about your preferred communication frequency and method.
    • Make sure you and your representative are on the same page. Be certain about the services they will provide and the approach to the buying process, including your ability to manage a fast-paced offer process.
    • Understand your rights and obligations. Confirm all the services that you will be receiving. You can expect your real estate representative to explain and document all steps clearly. Be aware of the terms, including fees (when you might owe money, including holdover periods) of any agreements you sign.
    • Take advantage of their expertise. While most people buy and sell properties infrequently, real estate representatives are engaged in these activities on a regular basis. Tap into their knowledge and consider it before making your decisions. Remember, they share their advice, but you own the decisions.

To find a real estate professional who will meet your needs, also consider visiting reco.on.ca to check if the individual is registered using the real estate professional search tool.


This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.

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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