My individual blogs (18 Feb to 5 Jun 2011) are presented here for ease of use by the viewer.
Comox Valley Real Estate Foreclosures Posted on June 5, 2011 by Brett CairnsForecloses are, unfortunately, a part of the Comox Valley Real Estate market. A foreclosure is the legal process by which a mortgagee (lender) or other lien holder extinguishes the mortgager’s (borrower’s) right of redemption (the capacity to redeem the property and pay the loan). The borrower’s legal (contractual) right of redemption is already extinguished because the borrower has defaulted. Foreclosure actions are commenced in British Columbia with a document called a petition. This action is normally preceded by a demand letter from the lender that gives the borrower a short period to pay out the mortgage or face foreclosure. The petition is followed by the first order of the court – the Order Nisi, which, among other things, establishes the amount required and time given to the borrower to redeem the mortgage.
While there are a number of remedies available for a foreclosure, one of them involves a foreclosed property listed for sale as a court-ordered sale. This means that the sale of the property is carried out under supervision of the court and that the court must approve the sale. The property is appraised and then listed for sale with a real estate firm. Unlike most other real estate listings, a foreclosed property is advertised “as is, where is”. This means that prospective purchasers are responsible for undertaking the investigations necessary to satisfy themselves concerning the condition of the property. As well, no Property Disclosure Statement will be made available.
Should this cause concern? As with any other real estate listing, buyer’s should ensure that they gather as much information as they can on the property with the assistance of professionals in the respective areas so that they can be confident that they understand what they are considering buying and that their will be no surprises in the future. Even though the lender will not make any representations or give any warranties concerning the condition of the property, the listing real estate agent still has an obligation to disclose known latent defects of the property and that the disclosure be made in writing prior to acceptance of an offer (Section 58 of the BC Real Estate Council rules).
A few other things are different with foreclosures. First, offers must provide for the lender to obtain court approval of the offer. Second, offers will have a Schedule A attached that comprises terms that replace, modify, and where applicable, override the Standard Contract of purchase and sale. Third, the completion date of an offer is based on a period of time after court approval (for example, two weeks). Fourth, when an offer is scheduled to be considered in court, other interested buyers may show up in court and present offers.
This short blog does not cover all aspects of a foreclosure and it is not intended as legal advice – always consult a lawyer for legal advice. The blog is meant as informational so that readers will gain a basic sense that foreclosures are different than other real estate listings and sales. Whether or not they are viewed as a good or bad deal by prospective purchasers will depend on the individual circumstances at the time.
The Real Estate Service Spectrum Posted on May 15, 2011 by Brett Cairns
Hiring a REALTOR® can sometimes be a challenging task. Given that you are hiring someone to represent you in the purchase or sale of your home, this is a task that should not be taken lightly. As a starting point it is worthwhile knowing how a REALTOR® can help you (go to www.brettcairns.ca and scroll down to the section titled Helping Buyers and Sellers buy and sell homes in the Comox Valley to find a link that discuss some considerations) and what role these professionals play in the real estate process (go to www.brettcairns.ca/SELLERS_INFO/Agent_Role to view a video on some additional considerations).
As I discussed in a previous blog, real estate professionals are individuals, and as such it is reasonable to expect that they will provide different types and levels of service. They may also offer services that are constrained by time and they may charge different commissions. They are a number of other issues you may wish to consider as well.
First, what motivates the real estate professional? Do they truly care about you and your needs or are they motivated by something else? All real estate professionals must maintain minimum standards to continue to be licensed but how far above these standards do they strive to achieve? Do they go beyond the minimum continuing education requirements for their profession and are they taking additional courses and learning on their own to improve the service that they provide to their clients? Do they take optional courses? The answer to these questions is often related to their basic character. Ask for character references and talk to others who know them well think of them. Do not merely rely on something that is written on a website or other medium.
Second, do they fully explain their services and approach to you at the front end of the process, do they keep you fully informed throughout the process and do they regularly follow up and do what they say they are going to do in a timely manner? How successful are they? By this I am not merely referring to their overall success, I am referring to success measured by such things as sell-to-list ratios and other metrics relevant to the industry. Do they offer guarantees that would be very difficult, if not impossible, to deliver? For example, can anyone actually guarantee and deliver on a stress-free experience when buying or selling a home given that some elements of stress emanate from things that are beyond their control? The answer to these questions comes down to professional competence. Ask for testimonials from people who recently engaged their services and see what they think. Talk to these people and ask them about their experience.
Your home is, in most instances, your most expensive investment. Is is treated with the care and respect that it deserves by the professional that you hire to buy or sell yours? Clearly, there are a number of things that should be considered when hiring a real estate professional to buy or sell your home. Have you talked to at least three different REALTORS ® before hiring one? Have you talked to people who know them WELL personally and professionally?
Real Estate – Payment for Services Rendered? Posted on May 1, 2011 by Brett Cairns
Every business that provides goods or services to a customer or client expects to be compensated. The fee structures used by those that provide services are as varied as the businesses themselves. Flat fees, service fees, contingent fees, hourly fees, surcharges, deposits, and retainers are among the many models.
Let’s briefly examine the traditional percentage-of-sale residential real estate brokerage commission structure model. While it is not my intention to delve into the history of this topic – those readers wanting a challenge might take that on – I will highlight some considerations that may not be obvious to most readers.
REALTORS ® who are employed in the real estate industry expect to be compensated for services rendered, but does this expectation always materialize in practice? The short answer is no. This traditional brokerage commission structure places REALTORS at risk of providing services and not receiving any compensation in some instances. For example, a REALTOR ® may spend considerable time, effort and money marketing a home. If it does not sell within the listing period and the listing is not extended by the owner, the REALTOR ® not only does not get paid, they will incur a loss. Similarly, a REALTOR ® who spends considerable time, effort and money driving clients around and showing them houses will also suffer a loss if the clients do not purchase a home.
What happens when the home does sell? A commission is paid for the sale of the home related to the two ends – buying and selling – of the transaction. In practice this commission is generally split between the listing and buying brokerages. The agent then receives a portion of the applicable end from their respective brokerage(s). With this they must pay a portion of their overall real estate expenses (of which there are many) and all expenses related to this specific transaction (including any referral fees that may apply to the transaction). Then, of course, like everyone else, they must deduct the requisite income tax and send it in to the government. The individual agent on one end of the transaction is among a number of people who receives a share of the overall commission.
Let’s now turn away from the topic of compensation and focus on the service provided by the licensed real estate professional. The service provided can, and often does, vary considerably among real estate professionals, even when they work for the same brokerage.
First, let’s touch on the type of service provided. Ask for a list of services offered by the real estate professional. How extensive is the list of the types of services? Is the list best described as a full-service list, specified services list, or limited services list? What happens when a service is required to deal with a situation that is not on the list? When the services are being offered through a contract, read and understand the contract before agreeing to it. For example, let’s consider the following hypothetical example. What if a “discount commission” brokerage stipulated in their contract that they would refer you, the owner who is trying to sell their home, to a full service brokerage if they could not sell your home? Would you not want to know why this language was in the contract?
What if it was because they would receive a significant referral fee from the full service brokerage for the referral? The bottom line is to know exactly what services are being offered to you and whether or not additional services will be provided to cover unforeseen or unusual circumstances.
Second, are the types of services being offered on a full-time or part-time basis and what is meant by each of these two descriptions? If you hire someone and then find out that they do not work after 5 pm or on weekends would this be of any concern? Perhaps they only work on selected days of the work. Will they be there when you need them? Equally importantly, how busy are they? Will they have time for you and will they be able to provide you with personalized attention?
Third, even when two real estate professionals offer exactly the same type of services, the level at which they are provided may vary considerably. One may offer first-class service while another may offer economy class service. With economy class, extras cost extra. Which one are you expecting and willing to pay for?
Fourth is the issue of compensation. When you pay discount rates for real estate services you may find out that you are also getting discount service – either because of the type or level or services being provided or because of the time, attention and level of effort directed your way by the person who is providing the service.
While the old adage You Get What You Pay For is often applicable in the service industry, ensure that you know exactly what you are getting to avoid surprises down the road. For example, I recently saw an ad on the internet that said ” We think it’s time for change in real estate – our commission rate is only 2.95% *. The asterisk was connected to a statement that mentioned that several things, including advertising, were additional fees. Those people in business will understand how expensive advertising can be. How much are the additional fees? How do you know what you are getting for what price when not everything is included?
I will always remember a few of the golden nuggets that my parents taught me when I was very young. They included If it sounds too good to be true it probably is, You rarely get anything for nothing, and You get what you pay for. The key in hiring a real estate professional is to know exactly what you are being offered for the commission being expected in terms of the type and level of service being offered and the time that will be devoted to meet your real estate needs.
Comox Valley Real Estate – The Invisible Statistic Posted on April 20, 2011 by Brett Cairns
Avid sports fans will understand the significance of statistics to their favorite sport. The application of statistics to business ventures such as real estate is no less significant to more fully understand the processes and successes of the industry. Consider, for example, the understanding that can be imparted with statistics such as time to sell and sell to list ratios when it comes to the health and type of a specific local real estate market.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, REALTORS ® in British Columbia generally provide services to people within an agent – client relationship referred to as agency. When no agency is provided, people are treated as customers and while they are entitled to the provision of full and accurate information, they are not provided advice. Let’s delve further into the agent – client relationship.
For any real estate transaction to be successful there must be both a willing seller and a willing buyer. Each must often be prepared to compromise. Buyers and sellers can be brought together in many different ways and their different needs represented by REALTORS ® on both sides of the transaction. This two-sided relationship is often forgotten in the statistical real estate world.
When a person or persons decide to sell a home, and they enlist the services of a professional real estate agent to represent them, they sign an agreement with that agent to market their home so that it gets the necessary exposure over a period of time for the home to be competitively sold in the real estate market. On the selling side of the transaction, the listing agent is the one whose sign appears on the lawn of the home being sold. The name of this agent is the one that becomes known relative to the sale of the home.
There are a couple of different approaches that a listing agent can take with respect to the marketing of the home. A passive approach may merely involve getting the listing and then making it known through various media that the home is for sale. In this scenario the listing agent gets their name exposed and they are hoping that another agent will bring a buyer to the table who is willing to make an offer on the home. A more active approach will involve more than merely making it known that the home is for sale. An agent who takes this type of approach will work hard to locate a buyer through a variety of means that includes, among other things, significant networking.
When a home is “sold” by the listing agent who also finds a buyer for the home, the SOLD sign is attached to the listing agent’s sign and they receive recognition for the sale. But what happens when a different agent actually locates the buyer and they help negotiate an offer that is acceptable to the buyer and seller? Exactly the same thing – the listing agent still has the SOLD sign attached to their sign and they receive the recognition for the sale. The buyer’s agent’s name appears on the Contract of Purchase and Sale but really nowhere else that is visible to the general public. The SOLD sign does not make it know that two different agents played a role in the sale. The buyer’s agent becomes the forgotten or invisible statistic in the real estate transaction even through they played a very important role in the overall transaction.
Why is this discussion important to people who are considering selling their homes? Perhaps a prospective seller would want to know more about a listing agent and their role in previous real estate transactions? How successful has this agent been in the past and will this agent have time for them?
Some real estate agents measure success by how busy they are and, in turn, by how much money they make. Is this really success or is client satisfaction a better measure of success? As with most things in life as people become busier they have less time to devote to specific issues. In the case of real estate, agents can become very successful but if they become too busy, there is a level at which personalized attention to any single person can actually diminish and suffer. While there is no exact level at which this happens many top producers believe that when they, as individuals, are working for more than 10 sellers and 10 buyers at a time this potential for diminishing individual attention becomes real. There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week.
In statistical terms, success can be measured, at least in part, by sell to list ratios – those related to a specific agent – not those that appear in real estate board statistics relative to the overall market. For example, if a listing agent has 20 listings and 10 of them sell, how many of those did the agent find a buyer for and how many did a different agent find a buyer for? These statistics are generally not highly published but a good agent should be keeping track of them. Is this something that a person selling a home might wish to know?
If an agent has many listings will they have time for me? If an agent has many listings what percentage actually sell, and of them, of what percentage did they find the buyer? These statistics are generally invisible in the real estate market but they do exist. Would a potential seller want to know them before making a decision on the listing of their home? Being better informed is often conducive to better decision-making. Invisible statistics can become visible by asking informed questions.
How Much is My Home Worth in the Comox Valley Real Estate Market? Posted on April 10, 2011 by Brett Cairns
How much is my home worth is a very common question asked by sellers and potential sellers of real estate. Buyers often ask the question how much is this home worth. To answer these questions let’s take a look at worth, value, and price.
According to the dictionary worth is the quality of something that renders it desirable, useful or valuable. Something may have worth to someone because they have an emotional attachment to it – such as a family heirloom. To someone else the same thing may not have any worth. Something may have worth to someone because it fulfills a need for them – such as an old car used for basic transportation. Something may have worth to someone because it represents monetary value to them – such as an investment that they have acquired.
The value of something is often expressed objectively and subjectively. The objective view is that there is value in the object or commodity merely because it exists. The subjective view is that value is in the eye of the beholder, not merely in the object itself. While something may have emotional or other value to someone, value is often expressed in monetary terms, or price.
Price relates to the actual number of dollars that the sale of an object or commodity is expected to bring (asking price) or actually brings (selling price) when it is sold.
All real estate transactions involve buyers and sellers. Sellers often have emotional attachment to their homes in addition to whatever they have invested in their homes (purchase price plus the cost of renovations). Sellers, as home owners will often have some value (expressed in terms of a price) in mind when they go to sell their home. Unfortunately, unless they are knowledgeable of current real estate market conditions and how the market is currently affecting the type of home that they own in their local neighborhood, they may not have a realistic appreciation of the current market value of their home.
According to the Sauder School of Business, market value is defined as: At any given time, the market value of an interest in land is the price it might reasonably be expected to realize when sold by a willing seller to a willing buyer after adequate time and exposure to the market. The important things to note are that market value is related to a certain point in time, the price which might reasonably be expected, dependent on a willing seller and buyer, and dependent on adequate time and exposure to the market.
There are a number of factors that will have a bearing on the price that the sale of a specific home will bring. Location, features, condition, and cleanliness are but a few. Having an understanding of current buyer profiles (Where are buyers coming from and what are they looking for?) and current market conditions (supply and demand, list to sell ratios, time on market, etc.) for the area within which you live are also important.
When all external factors are properly considered, the asking price set by sellers is important. This price should be based on current market conditions and it may be influenced by other things such as the motivation of the seller. Setting the price either too high or two low will generally not result in the most favorable results for the seller. For example, having a home priced too high for the market may result in no showings but no offers, or worse, no showings.
The bottom line is that before answering either of the two questions posed at the start of this blog, one must understand the conditions in the local real estate market, and then be able to apply what the market is saying in order to determine the market value of any specific home. The level of effort and attention to detail applied to answer these questions may vary according to the real estate professional that you engage to answer them. When you are provided a market value for your home, ask the person to explain the process used to come up with the value so that you are better informed, and more confident with the answer provided.
Where is the Comox Valley Real Estate Market Headed? Posted on March 18, 2011 by Brett Cairns
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) revised its 2011 forecast for home sales activity on the 8th of February 2011. Nationally residential sales were forecast to drop by 1.6% compared to the previous year (439,900 sales in 2011 compared to 447,010 in 2010). For British Columbia sales were forecast to drop by 2.9% (72,500 in 2011 compared to 74,640 in 2010). At the same time average prices were expected to rise nationally by 1.3% while those in British Columbia were expected to rise by 3.0%. The press release added that “The housing market and buyer psychology is different now than it was at the beginning of last year, so buyers and sellers would do well to consult their Realtor to understand local market conditions“.
On the 15th of March, CREA stated that national resale housing activity in February 2011 was close to the five-year average for the month with actual sales activity down 5.9% from the levels reported last February. The press release added that national average prices rose 8.8% but that this figure was skewed by a record number of multi-million dollar sales in Greater Vancouver.
The British Columbia Real Estate Association, on 23 February 2011 forecast an increase in sales by 8% in 2011 (80,900 in 2011 compared to 74,640 in 2010). This forecast was based on projected employment and population growth that would fuel increased consumer demand. It is interesting to note the qualifying statement that followed – “higher mortgage interest rates and tighter credit conditions for low equity home buyers will limit home sales to below the 10-year average of 87,600 units. Nothing was said of the influence of the Vancouver market.
On 14 March 2011 BCREA mentioned the Vancouver market stating that sales were up 8% in February 2011 compared to the previous year and that prices were up 18%. So, CREA forecasts a drop in sales for BC of 2.9% while BCREA forecasts an increase of 8%.
On 2 March 2011 the Vancouver Real Estate Board discussed its statistics and stated “To effectively analyse real estate statistics for the purpose of buying or selling a home, it’s critical to focus on your neighbourhood of choice because, like we see today, conditions and prices can fluctuate significantly within the same city or municipality.”
Closer to home the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), on 1 March 2011, stated that total sales decreased by 3% in February 2011 when compared to the previous year. Clearly, there are some differences in forecasts. What is clear, however, is that real estate, like politics, is local.
Real estate statistics for the nation, province, island, and local community can vary for good and valid reasons. Before using any of these statistics as a benchmark for decision-making it is best to consult with a local real estate professional who knows the local market and how to analyze it. For example, last year in the Comox Valley there were substantially different sales to listing ratios for homes in the below $300,000 price range and those in the greater than $700,000 price range. I did an analysis of 2010 statistics for the Comox Valley that I share with my clients when they are considering buying or selling a home in the Comox Valley.
Ask your REALTOR® to discuss factors such as time on market data, price-level listing to sales ratio differences, and local neighborhood differences with you before making important decisions on buying or selling a home. While many different factors contribute to activity and prices in a given market, it often comes down to what buyers are willing to pay.
There is a great deal of information available to REALTORS® in the Comox Valley. The key is ensuring relevance and applicability to a specific situation. If you would like to know the market price of your home in the Comox Valley contact me. I can be reached through www.brettcairns.ca. I will make effective use of the resources that are available to provide you the information that you need to help you buy or sell your home in the Comox Valley with confidence.
The Comox Valley Real Estate Market – By the Numbers Posted on March 6, 2011 by Brett Cairns
Whether you are buying or selling a home or property in the Comox Valley real estate market, it is important to understand and keep track of the market to make informed decisions on your most important investment. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) provides statistics on our real estate market that can be used as part of your decision-making process.
The Comox Valley real estate market is divided into 12 distinct areas by VIREB. For real estate purposes, the City of Courtenay is divided into Courtenay City, Courtenay East, Courtenay West, Courtenay South (an area that includes Royston), Courtenay North and Crown Isle. Additional real estate areas include the Comox Peninsula, the Town of Comox, the Village of Cumberland, Mount Washington, the area comprising Merville and Black Creek (including the Saratoga Beach area), and the area comprising Union Bay and Fanny Bay (an area that extends south to Mud Bay). Why is it important to know this? For statistics to be meaningful and relevant to you, you need to know which area is similar to the one that you are currently living in, or to where you are planning to move.
For example, last year the average selling price in Crown Isle was the highest of these areas followed closely by Mount Washington. However, in neither of these two ares were homes located that sold for the highest prices. Homes that sold for the highest prices in the Comox Valley last year were located in Courtenay South followed by Courtenay East, the Black Creek/Merville area, and then Comox. Statistics can be used with great effect to help buyers and sellers but they have to be relevant to your situation. As the old adage says – statistics can be used to show almost anything.
In addition to being broken down by area, residential real estate statistics in the Comox Valley are maintained on single family homes, single family homes on acreages, single family homes on waterfront, single family strata, single family modular/prefab homes, condos (apartments, patio homes and town homes), half-duplexes, full duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, manufactured and mobile homes on a pad, farms and ranches, lots, strata lots and waterfront lots, acreages and waterfront acreages. It is important, therefore to know what is being presented statistically. For example, how relevant is a newspaper article to you that states “average single family home prices down 1% compared to last year”. What types of single family homes are included in the statistics and from what areas, and what types of homes are excluded from the statistics?
Let’s take an extreme hypothetical example to make the last point. Two homes sold last year in a specific area for 700,000 and 100,000 respectively. The average sale price was 400,000. Fifteen homes sold this year in the same area for 400,000. The average selling price was 400,000. The statistical conclusion is that the average price of homes in that area remains unchanged from last year, but is the conclusion meaningful? Moreover, is it relevant to your situation?
While general statistics derived for an entire category of homes throughout the Comox Valley may be interesting, they may not be either meaningful or relevant to your specific situation. What is often more relevant is what homes similar to yours in your neighborhood sold for during the same or similar market conditions. Why is this important? The value of your home at any given time is determined by the market. The market value of a specific home in a “buyer’s market” could be substantially different in a “seller’s market”. Other factors come into play as well. For example, how many days were the homes on the market before they sold? If the average price of homes similar to yours sold in your neighborhood for about the same this year as last, but took five times as long to sell this year, would this not be important to know? If last year nearly 60% of homes listed in your neighborhood and price range sold, but only 30% have sold so far this year, would you want to know this?
It is important to understand and keep track of the real estate market if you are considering buying or selling a home. Don’t just rely on generalized statistics to do this. Statistics need to be meaningful and relevant to your situation if they are going to be considered as part of your decision-making process on your most important investment – your home. The more that you know about the Comox Valley market, the better off you will be when you enter the market whether as a buyer or seller.
When it comes to the future, you can prepare for it while it is still in the world of tomorrow, react to it when it arrives and becomes today, or wonder what happened when it passes into the memory of yesterday. The same is true of the real estate market. Prepare yourself by becoming knowledgeable before you enter the market so that you can make informed decisions on your most important investment.
If you are not currently working with a realtor and are considering becoming a buyer or a seller of residential real estate in the Comox Valley I can help you become better informed on our real estate market. I am a full-time, full-service, professional Realtor located in Courtenay who provides professional real estate services for buyers and sellers of residential real estate in the Comox Valley. For my contact information please visit www.brettcairns.ca
Have a Plan to Find Your New Home in the Comox Valley Posted on February 25, 2011 by Brett Cairns
Searching for a new home can be exciting while at the same time stressful. Having moved my family 18 times to locations across North America, I understand what buyers and sellers go through when they buy and sell their homes. My life experiences as a real estate client taught me many lessons.
After several moves it became apparent to me that it is important to have a plan when buying or selling your home. Each of us move for different reasons, some of which we have control over, and some of which we do not. For example, you may be moving because you are being relocated by your employer, you may be moving to find more space in a larger home, or you may be moving to downsize. Whatever your reason, your motivation to move should be the basis of your plan.
A plan to move should address the following basic questions: Who is moving (i.e. just you or your entire family); What are your real estate needs (and wants); Why are you moving (the motivation mentioned above); When are you planning to move (how much control do you have over the timing of the move); Where are you moving to (how well do you know the area); and How are you planning to accomplish the move (what are the costs and how will you pay for the expenses).
For many of us moving can be emotional as well as stressful. By moving we may be leaving good friends or family, and familiar communities. We are certainly leaving the place that we currently call our home. For most of us, our homes are not just our most important investment, they are an extension of ourselves. They are the places where we can be ourselves, and where we can decorate in the way that reflects our personal tastes. Plans provide us with a rationally derived, logical basis with which to deal with emotional situations such as these. When producing a plan, it is important to realize that not ever plan will play out exactly as intended. Accordingly, it is beneficial to have developed options when things that are important to us do not go exactly as we expect. For example, what happens when our current home does not sell at a specific price by a specific time. What is the fallback option?
According to the US National Association of REALTORS®, nearly one-half of all home-buyers begin their search for a new home on the internet, and nearly 90% employ the internet and a REALTOR® during the home-buying process. When searching for a new home it is important to have established our needs (and wants) before starting our search, and to be able to clearly articulate them to other people. By doing so, searches will generally be more efficient, and help will generally be more effective. Concerning needs and wants, there are at least four main categories that should be addressed. These are: location; price; features; and condition.
Choosing a location may be driven by many different factors such as the schooling needs of our children, the medical needs of people within our care, the proximity to public transportation, or even our desire to live in a peaceful, quiet neighbourhood with a scenic view from our property. Price is always an important consideration. How much can we afford to pay for our home, the expenses associated with its purchase, and the subsequent upkeep. What types of features do we need to accommodate ourselves or our families (3 bedrooms, 2 baths, etc.) and what types of features would we like to have to suit our personal tastes. Finally, condition is also important. Was the home well built? Has it been well maintained? Has it been kept clean? Each of these factors could have a bearing on future expenses related to the upkeep of our new home.
This blog just scratches the surface on tips to consider when finding a new home. Contact me and I would be pleased to share more of my life experiences with you as we work together to search for, and find your new home in the Comox Valley. To contact me go to www.brettcairns.ca
Working with a REALTOR® in BC Posted on February 18, 2011 by Brett Cairns
During my first 35-year professional career I moved my family 18 times all across North America. During these moves I gained significant experience as a real estate client. Life experience is a great teacher. As a committed lifelong learner, I believe that it is extremely important to identify lessons from the past so that they can be effectively applied to the future. As Confucius once said “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” As a REALTOR®, I am putting my life experiences as a real estate client to work so that I can better serve the real estate needs of my own clients.
Many years ago when I was a first time home buyer I naively thought that our real estate agent was working for us, and that they were looking after our needs. I was wrong. Back then (in Ontario) she was actually working for the Seller. We ended up paying more for the house than we should have, and we discovered a number of things wrong with the house months after the purchase that cost us a significant amount of money to have fixed. Looking back at my real estate experiences as a client, it is now clear to me that not all REALTORS® placed our real estate needs as their top priority. Perhaps this was, at least in part, because of the type of relationships into which they were allowed to enter. Over the years we found that these relationships varied between provinces.
REALTOR®s in British Columbia (and the brokerages that they are licensed to work through) currently work within a legal relationship called “agency”. You can be represented within a “single agency” relationship as a Seller or a Buyer, or you can be represented within a “dual agency” relationship. You can also work with a Realtor when there is “no agency” relationship. In simple terms, you are considered to be a client in an agency relationship and more of a customer when there is no agency relationship. Realtors have specific duties to you when you are a client.
All of these terms and the relationships with which they are affiliated are explained in the brochure called “Working with a REALTOR®” published by the British Columbia Real Estate Association. If you do not fully understand them, ask your REALTOR® to explain them so that you do not have any surprises later in the relationship when a particular circumstance necessitates a change in the relationship. As the old adage states “forewarned is forearmed”.
We, as REALTORS® in British Columbia, have an obligation to explain these relationships to you at the earliest opportunity. This is interpreted to mean prior to us providing professional services to you such as showing you a home if you are a buyer. REALTORS® can provide you with an array of professional services but some limitations are placed on us according to the type of legal relationship within which we are working. Ask us questions to make sure you are getting the information that you need to buy or sell your home or property with confidence, and with no surprises.
Real Estate Market Early 2011 Posted on February 18, 2011 by Brett Cairns
As we close out January 2011, there are some positive signs for the real estate market. The BC Real Estate Association is forecasting an increase in sales this year and some analysts are forecasting movement towards a more neutral market. Canadian and America economic indicators are both important given how intertwined our two economies are (nearly 85% of what Canada exports goes to the US and nearly 25% of what the US exports goes to Canada). We are each other’s most important single trading partners. Interest rates, mortgage rates, and consumer confidence are all important elements of a healthy market. Sign up for the free Private Client Services Pro service of my website to keep your finger on the pulse of our Comox Valley real estate market.
About the Author
Blogs Feb to Jun 2011
My individual blogs (18 Feb to 5 Jun 2011) are presented here for ease of use by the viewer.