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Anyone sold their own home? Or used a flat-fee MLS service?

Realtors are supposed to do two things:
2) Contract negotiation to cover your ass. IMO, this is the more important item.
If this was true the very first thing your RE agent would recommend is that you NEVER complete and sign the SPIS (SELLER PROPERTY INFORMATION SHEET). This document is NEVER in the best interest of the seller. Agents love them because it reduces their liability and reduces their work to make the sale, and buyers love them because they can hold the seller liable for faults.

Sure, the agent will tell you that you don't need to worry, since by signing the SPIS you're being upfront about any known faults, so you assume you're legally clear. Not so though, since by signing the SPIS you open yourself up to costly litigation from the buyers, where a judge decides if you were honest, and if other undeclared faults should have been obvious to the seller, and therefore intentionally omitted from the SPIS. It doesn't matter if the buyer's claim is unfounded, and that you claim to not know how to identify aluminium wiring or asbestos, etc.....Either way, you've now got the hassle and expense of litigation. Sure you might be able to claim back your legal expenses if you win the case, but you're still burdened with the time, hassle and worry of the litigation process. And all this was caused by you signing the SPIS.

I would never sign a SPIS. The sale is "as is". The buyer can use a home inspector if they wish.

This is where RE agents fail their customers. Instead of steering sellers away from the SPIS, it's usually one of the very first things the realtors pull out for completing and signature.

My advice when shopping for a realtor, especially if you have a house in a high demand area, tell the realtor upfront that you never want to see a SPIS.

Here's an article from the Toronto Star on the risks of SPIS http://www.aaron.ca/columns/2008-07-26.htm
 
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Actually, Admiral, I'm a realtor and I ALWAYS advise my sellers to NEVER sign that document. If they seem in doubt, I ask them to call their solicitor. We've seen countless lawsuits stemming from those SPIS reports. They are not mandatory here in Ontario, and as far as I'm concerned, the buyers get what is mandatory. It cannot help a seller, but it can only harm them. Real estate is still sold in this country and province under the concept of 'caveat emptor', so the buyers can do all the inspections they want. As far as acting for the buyers, I don't put much faith in information that is supplied by the seller. I still check, check and double-check, and inspect.

Very few good agents recommend their sellers signing the SPIS as agents have also been involved in the SPIS lawsuits even though we didn't fill out the form.
 
Having spoken to a number of realtors, it's almost unanimous that the SPIS is no longer a document of value when it comes to real estate transactions. I've been asked once, a long time ago, to fill out one of these forms. Reason-being, it will "give the buyer a sense of confidence" when making the purchase. This sense of confidence, however, is always at the expense of the seller. TOphotog is correct, it doesn't help the seller but it can harm them. In this day and age, home inspections are almost always the norm. I highly doubt a seller having completed an SPIS will result in a potential buyer waiving the home inspection clause on the purchase and sale agreement.
 
The courses are a joke. Cash grab is all it is. The continuing education (and primary education) are rudimentary to say the least. Anyone who takes pride in that education hasn't got a university degree or any advanced designation.
I got an education instead....you should try it ;)
QUOTE]

So there is no education to become a Realtor? have you heard about the requirements, and the courses? that you have to keep continually taking? earning your credits yearly.

What is it you do doug? how would you feel if someone said what you do is not worth the money your paid? cut your earning in half?

We work hard for our money, around the clock night and day, at least other get to enjoy evenings and weekends remember that
 
The courses are a joke. Cash grab is all it is. The continuing education (and primary education) are rudimentary to say the least. Anyone who takes pride in that education hasn't got a university degree or any advanced designation.

One only has to look at the mind-boggling number of real estate salespeople there are out there. Flip open newspapers, look at flyers in the mail, bus stop shelters, billboards, public bench ads, etc. One would think that everybody and their grandmother were real estate agents.

I do believe that professional realtors can add value (I'd have to argue what that actual figure should be but I digress) but there simply are too many lacklustre, flash-in-the-pan agents in the marketplace and that really has to do with the minimum standard of entry. It's like any other sales position I guess. It's easy to call oneself a salesperson but that doesn't necessarily mean one is a good one.
 
I'm currently in the process of selling with property guys. So far I've been very happy with the experience. Haven't finished the transaction yet but it's only been about a week so I'm not sweating it.

If anyone has any specific questions for me, feel free to ask them. PS, here's my listing in case anyone's curious :)
http://propertyguys.com/property/index/id/73439

Note: My building's past sales (DOM) is 3,18,3,5. So generally it's a high-demand building. There's not much competition around my area, and the location is fantastic. These are some of the reasons why I think going the FSBO route makes sense. Feel free to criticize my listing, I'm always open to advice!
 
Hey Realtor here... Wait don't throw stones yet. You make some good points above. There are a lot of silly things still being done today with Real Estate Advertising. Also i'm sure Sellers do know their house more than an agent they just met but The Buying & Selling process is work and in fact it is a full time job. If you have time for that great - DIY. If you want a professional, do your research, find someone you like and save yourself the hassle. Also, smart Realtors learn tips about the housing market that benefit Sellers & Buyers. It really just depends on which Realtor you get. But this is just a Realtors opinion...
 
I've read a fair number of these threads now. I think everything boils down to:

Real estate agents get paid too much on a per deal basis - not necessarily as a salary. That adds incentive for more people to join the industry. The result is there are a lot of bad realtors out there. It's genuinely difficult to screen between good and bad realtors based on the fact that individuals work with very small sample sizes (how many times do you use one in your life) and the fact that it's very subjective to measure their "effectiveness" (after a transaction it's hard to say whether value was maximized or not).

I think what good realtors, and the general public want to see:

Less realtors in the market, that are of a higher quality (this can be achieved either through more schooling/more thorough vetting process/higher annual fees).
A smaller cost to real estate transactions. The good realtors out there would still make more money because there's less competition.
Clearer pricing, terms, and representation agreements.

I think good realtors out there have a tough time because they're competing against masses of awful part time realtors (and "uncle Freddie's" that will list their nephews house for them). As a result they have to spend thousands of (inefficient, but necessary) marketing dollars to try to sort through the noise. The industry seems to be controlled by the big agencies, which have the complete opposite incentive structure, which is to sign up as many realtors as possible and have them pay their %'s, desk fees, licensing fees, and course fees.
 
LOL agreed

I often blog about Realtor Screw-ups since there are many:

- Bad mls listings
- Bad job representing their clients during the offer process
- bad staging
- Just bad!

I agree good Realtors would benefit from increased Regulations of the real estate market. I have been saying this for years! Again agreed, it is difficult for Buyers & Sellers to screen out good realtors given the limited interaction they may have with a Realtor and lack of comparable experiences. I slightly disagree however with your point on the subjective nature of measuring what makes a good realtor. There are things you can look at to get an initial sense of how good your Realtor is:

Experience

Knowledge

Business Model

Marketing/Advertising

Reputation

Trust

Volume

In the attached picture, I expanded on these topics.

But I understand why you or anyone else would be sceptical.

I've read a fair number of these threads now. I think everything boils down to:

Real estate agents get paid too much on a per deal basis - not necessarily as a salary. That adds incentive for more people to join the industry. The result is there are a lot of bad realtors out there. It's genuinely difficult to screen between good and bad realtors based on the fact that individuals work with very small sample sizes (how many times do you use one in your life) and the fact that it's very subjective to measure their "effectiveness" (after a transaction it's hard to say whether value was maximized or not).

I think what good realtors, and the general public want to see:

Less realtors in the market, that are of a higher quality (this can be achieved either through more schooling/more thorough vetting process/higher annual fees).
A smaller cost to real estate transactions. The good realtors out there would still make more money because there's less competition.
Clearer pricing, terms, and representation agreements.

I think good realtors out there have a tough time because they're competing against masses of awful part time realtors (and "uncle Freddie's" that will list their nephews house for them). As a result they have to spend thousands of (inefficient, but necessary) marketing dollars to try to sort through the noise. The industry seems to be controlled by the big agencies, which have the complete opposite incentive structure, which is to sign up as many realtors as possible and have them pay their %'s, desk fees, licensing fees, and course fees.
 

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I agree with many of your points but how does the novice and average buyer and seller measure a Realtor’s knowledge? For example, a deposit is not 'the consideration' nor is one necessary and especially not required to bind the parties to a contract.

Realtor’s make pronouncements all the time entirely believing the information they’re providing is factual when it is not and which in turn can cause harm to anyone who acts according to said information.

I often blog about Realtor Screw-ups since there are many:

- Bad mls listings
- Bad job representing their clients during the offer process
- bad staging
- Just bad!

I agree good Realtors would benefit from increased Regulations of the real estate market. I have been saying this for years! Again agreed, it is difficult for Buyers & Sellers to screen out good realtors given the limited interaction they may have with a Realtor and lack of comparable experiences. I slightly disagree however with your point on the subjective nature of measuring what makes a good realtor. There are things you can look at to get an initial sense of how good your Realtor is:

Experience

Knowledge

Business Model

Marketing/Advertising

Reputation

Trust

Volume

In the attached picture, I expanded on these topics.

But I understand why you or anyone else would be sceptical.
 
Well if you read the attached picture I referred to this in my original post, you will notice that I use "knowledge" in a specific way. Knowledge of the City, the neighbourhoods, the market. The issue you are identifying is the same issue people have in romantic relationships, or friendships, or any other relationship out there. Its one of trust. Obviously credibility will help establish this. Do you want your Realtor to cite every source for every thing they say? Well... that's not realistic. There are always people in every industry that will stand out from the crowd and sometimes it will be reputation alone that forces the Realtor to be honest and knowledgable.

How to measure knowledge: ask your Realtor questions? Call the brokerage and ask the front desk staff about the Realtor? Or go with someone you know? Trust is not easy to establish...
 
A Realtor’s knowledge to me includes all of those things yes, but if that is all knowledge is then Realtors don’t possess any more than the trusted friend, neighbourhood resident or even possibly the client might have. Obviously then, trust is also not knowledge, trust is the client’s belief that the Realtor has all of the skills necessary to properly assist them.

Knowledge is more importantly, a solid comprehension of real estate contracts, terminology, the ability to explain the intricacies of same as applicable to the client and the competence to transcribe that knowledge into a contract which protects the client. It is these extra degrees of knowledge that makes a Realtor’s value proposition greater than that of a trusted friend, neighbourhood resident, or am I being unrealistic?

Realtors are required to review documents with their clients and make sure these are understood, yes? So when a Realtor, on page one of an offer, explains that the deposit is ‘the consideration’ and ‘binds the buyer to the contract,’ then advises that ‘without one the buyer can walk away at anytime,’ the client trusts the Realtor is correct but don’t know they’ve been given incorrect information which, if followed, would cause them to mistakenly violate the contract.

Meanwhile the Realtor hasn’t even gotten around to explaining the more complex pre-printed clauses on the next 4 pages or the clauses they will then draft. Then comes the seal which should produce an interesting explanation.

Well if you read the attached picture I referred to this in my original post, you will notice that I use "knowledge" in a specific way. Knowledge of the City, the neighbourhoods, the market. The issue you are identifying is the same issue people have in romantic relationships, or friendships, or any other relationship out there. Its one of trust. Obviously credibility will help establish this.

Do you want your Realtor to cite every source for every thing they say? Well... that's not realistic....
Don't believe I said anything about a source, but since you mentioned it, I wouldn't mind a legal one of your definition of a deposit as reproduced in my posts.
 
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