A few weeks ago I was invited by MoneySense magazine to do an interview regarding the purchase of a for sale by owner property and the role of a buyer's Realtor. The resulting Money Sense Magazine article comments on some of the topics we covered. 

 

I have assisted folks view and purchase for sale by owner properties in the past, but honestly it can get a bit tricky sometimes so I thought I should elaborate on the article. The first part is about representation.

 

As a buyer you have a choice in how you purchase property. You can go on your own from listing agent to listing agent or for sale by owner listing and work it out yourself. Or you can choose one Realtor to represent you and they assist you in reviewing homes, showing homes, negotiations, research and finalizing your sale.

 

The benefits of working with a Realtor include:


1. It is most often free to the buyer. Sale commissions are paid by the seller with a portion of the commission going to the buyer's agent on sale. Most for sale by owner listings will also pay a buyer commission. In the odd case where they don't then you need to work out buyer commissions directly with your Realtor.

 

2. A buyer's agent or Realtor represents you. Your Realtor holds your personal information in confidence and works with you to find the right property. A listing agent's job is to sell a particular home. Your buyer's agent is to make sure you know what you are buying and at what value.

 

3. A Realtor has the training and experience to review property details and provide you with a comparable market evaluation so you have more knowledge on the value of a property. Your Realtor will also review property title and look out for potential issue such as Dower Rights in Alberta, Real Property Report Issues, title registrations and other details which are costly if discovered too late in the purchase process or which can delay your access to your new home.

 

4. Buying a home can be an emotional experience. It is also a very large financial investment. Why wouldn't you seek outside help from an experienced Realtor to assist you through the process? Or are you prepared to manage negotiations, contracts and legal details on your own? Negotiations can be tough. An experienced Realtor knows the tactics and antics and how to best manage them to your best advantage.

 

5. In the case of buying a for sale by owner property there is also the added challenge that some sellers do not know what is required to sell their home. Nor has there been any property verification, measurements verification, title review, property financial review, permit review, identification, or other vetting by a listing agent. I believe it is even more important in such cases to work with qualified professionals such as Realtors and lawyers to ensure your purchase completes smoothly.

 

I have worked with many buyers and look forwarding to hearing from you as you pursue your next home purchase.

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Should you happen to hear a general real estate market number such as sales or price adjustments in the coming days please ignore it or view it as a very generic indicator. The market is currently segmented enough that an overall number tells us little about the value of individual properties.

 

Detached homes are in a more balanced environment due to reduced inventory numbers while attached and apartment listings continue to increase the imbalance between supply and demand leading to a strong buyer's market in some areas. Apartments are seeing a stronger impact on pricing and sales than other attached properties.

 

We live in a large city. At previous times when the market favoured the seller, higher pricing may have moved folks outside of their preferred neighbourhoods. Today, in a more balanced market, a buyer can find what they are looking for in preferred areas, housing types or those properties that have specific details. This is the market where that well kept home with a popular layout on a quiet street with beautiful manicured yard will sell well. However, those in less desirable locations or with less desirable finishes may take more time and see a lower price. As our market shifts any sellers entering the market must be willing to review market shifts regularly. To not adjust and expect results based on a market evaluation completed 2-3 months ago isn't a pathway to a successful sale.

 

So what does this mean to you?

 

As a seller, you must be provided with and understand the specific market information that relates to your home. If you are truly wishing to sell and not just test the market, then presentation and pricing are imperative. You must be flexible with showing times and keep your property clean and in good repair. It also takes patience. Average days on market for a sale of a detached home is currently 42 days. For apartments this number is 56 days. If you expect a sale in 10 days at list price then you need to review expectations of pricing to encourage more buyers. The number of folks looking for a new home at any given time remains the same. You can create incentive for more of those folks to look at your home with pricing or you can wait for more buyers to enter the market.

 

For a buyer, this is actually a good time to buy depending on what you are looking for. With more options you will find the right house that checks all the boxes at a good price. You can make decisions at your pace rather than the immediacy required during a hot sellers market. Where you may have only been able to purchase an apartment or townhouse in the past, a detached home may now be an option.

 

Calgary's real estate market has been and will continue to be a shifting market. Thousands of homes have sold this year in the city and some folks have done a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities.


For example, there are currently 78 detached homes active on market in NW Calgary under $500,000. 68 of such homes have sold in the last 30 days. That's a great opportunity for a seller to sell their home at expected market prices. Should that same family be in need of a large home in the $600,000-$800,000 zone they have 78 homes to choose from. They are however competing with less buyers as 29 of such homes have sold in the last 30 days.

 

For year to date numbers of detached homes, average price has actually increased from last year by 1.23%. Benchmark price has decreased by 3.27% and median price has decreased by 3.32%.

 

As always, contact me anytime for information specific to your needs. I am happy to help.

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