I’ve noticed your column gives good advice but never gets into the nitty-gritty details of how to get the best deal on a home. What sort of questions should your readers ask you?

Thank you for the kind words. Your observation is correct: Ask Joe is a different type of real estate advice column in the sense that it’s designed to support an informed real estate market in Ontario by reminding buyers and sellers of their rights and responsibilities in a transaction.

I always enjoy hearing from my readers. Last month, I wrote a column about purchasing an investment condominium that was based on a question asked in casual conversation by some fellow hockey parents. Others in the discussion were quite interested, so I thought their inquiry deserved a wider audience.

The purpose of the Ask Joe column is not to tell you how to market your home, or how to negotiate the best deal on a property. I can’t provide legal, marketing or financial advice to readers.

My colleagues and I at RECO always recommend working with a registered real estate salesperson or broker who can counsel you on negotiating with another party, or setting a listing price that meets your needs but is still attractive to buyers, to give a couple of examples. We also advise consumers to follow four key tips:

    • Interview at least three real estate salespeople when you’re in the market to buy or sell your home, and ask them about their experience, references, and general approach to buying and selling, among other considerations;
    • Use the Look up a Real Estate Salesperson, Broker or Brokerage feature on the RECO website to check that they’re registered with us, and in good standing;
    • Read and completely understand any documents you’re asked to sign, because RECO can’t get you out of a signed contract with a brokerage or another consumer; and
    • Be an active participant in the buying or selling process – that means performing personal due diligence and being open and honest with your salesperson about your needs and service expectations.

In practical terms, I won’t analyze the pros and cons of lighting scented candles or baking an apple pie before visitors arrive for a staging or an open house, but I will advise you to read and understand your agreements and talk to your salesperson about any concerns you may have about the event. Similarly, I may suggest additional questions or issues you should discuss with your salesperson, lawyer or lender.

Want to know more about your rights and responsibilities? Please send me your questions.

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

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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