You see a house that has been on the market for a few days—or weeks—and decide that you wish to view the inside as a possible option for your next home. You call the salesperson on the sign (or website) and make an appointment. Or perhaps you just ask for information over the phone. Will the agent be able to provide you with the information?
Changes to real estate guidelines offer buyers options. Whereas before a realtor could provide information about the house and then proceeded to give advice of all sorts, now they must establish where you, the buyer, sit, as far a representation.
Without complicating things, before December 2023 there were two roads you could travel: by signing a buyer’s representation or as a customer. The customer received (or should have received) only information as pertained to the property in question, while the represented buyer received info, advice, and help in any manner. Due to consumer need, the term customer has been dropped and “self-represented party” is now in play.
But be aware the new term doesn’t replace the term customer. In fact, new rules came with the new term.
“If you are involved in a real estate transaction and are not a client of a real estate brokerage, you are considered a self-represented party. This means you have chosen not to work with a real estate agent…”
There are rights, obligations—and risks—of representing yourself in a real estate transaction. First, if you do not have the knowledge and expertise required to navigate the transaction on your own you may be in deep water. You will be dealing with a seller (or another buyer) who is benefitting from the services, opinions, and advice of a real estate agent.
What about disclosure? Are you receiving vital information about the property that, if not known and acted upon, could provide you with future nightmares should you purchase the house?
Things such as your motivation for buying or selling a property, the minimum or maximum price you are willing to offer or accept, and your preferred terms or conditions for an agreement of purchase and sale can be of help to a seller—or competing buyer in the case of a bidding war. Are you aware the seller’s agent is obligated to share anything you say with their client—the seller?
If you go it alone, a real estate agent might provide you with assistance, but it is limited.
“Any assistance that might be provided by the agent must be a service to their client, or incidental to a service to their client, must promote and protect the best interests of their client, and must not include opinions or advice to you related to the transaction.”
If you opt for the self-represented party scenario, you should seek professional help. I mean a lawyer, accountant, etc. Working with a realtor, on the other hand, offers peace of mind (provided you find an agent who is willing to work for you, providing full service and who is proactive in finding all they can about the property.
Calling on me when purchasing a property, you can be sure I will investigate all aspects of the property you are considering and give you my honest opinion on value, the state of the property and any possible pitfalls. Let my 37 years of experience work for you.
The above information was taken from the real Estate Council of Ontario. I would be happy to provide you with a brochure or bulletins that will explain the above information. Text, call or email me anytime…no purchase required.