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Would you go with such a realtor

Posted by musicgold (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 17:28

Hi,

I am a long time lurker here.

We have been planning to buy our first home, have done a lot of research and are close to pulling a trigger. We however still don't have a real estate agent to represent us.

In Canada, buyers can get rebates / cash backs from their agents (i.e. part of the commission they split with the seller's agent)

I have found a fsbo firm (I think it has 3 people) online, which promises to pay 50% of the commission in rebates. We are supposed to the leg work of finding the house and the agent comes in at the end and provides comp info to us and present the offer (electronically) for us. We sign the necessary contract (between the agent and us) just before they provide us the comp info and make the offer. The contact is valid for that particular house.

Now I have spoken with the guy on the phone but never met him. I asked him if he had any other clients that he had worked with on a 50% rebate basis and he told me that I was his first client under this plan. He claims that has been in the business for ~15 years, has a valid license.

The reason I would like to go with this agent is that it would get us a big rebate (for example $5K on a $400K house assuming a 5% commission), but I am not sure the risks involved in this kind of situation.

Would you go with such an agent? What is my downside?

Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

My first question is how do you get to go see houses without an agent? Listing agents won't want to work with you directly - since they won't get the buyers commission. You only get a pass ode for the lockbox by being a valid agent, and I doubt this inline guy will give you his lockbox code.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Can't you just find a real estate attorney to handle the paperwork?

I don't think this will really work out for you. As said above, you have to be with an agent of some kind to get into the houses (or at least, most houses).

I could see this working more for FSBO sellers, but not really buyers.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Do you know the best pest inspectors? General home inspectors? Roof inspectors? Mortgage companies?

Realtors do most of their work with buyers after the house is found. Make that x3 for first-time buyers.

Get a real full-service realtor. If $5000 is a lot of money to you in a $400,000 purchase, then maybe you are looking at pretty thin finances for the purchase, and should be looking in another price-range.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

When I sold a house without using a realtor I sold to a person not using a realtor, but responding to my ad for an open house. This was near the top of the market, sold in one day. The buyer used a real estate attorney for closing. The last house I sold 2 years ago was not on the market. A couple was looking at homes in the neighborhood with their realtor and asked if they could see ours. The owner of the house for sale by owner does not need a realtor either, unless they pay an agent for the multiple listing service. If you have to find the house you wish to buy on your own the realtor is not helping you. I would contact a regular realtor and ask what the commission is and if it is negotiable if it is that realtor's listing. Look at listings online for a neighborhood you are interested in and see which realtors have those listings. I do believe first time home buyers should have a realtor. I would not use the realtor you have spoken to on the phone. The first thing your realtor should do is show you houses, not tell you to find your own. The gentleman who bought my last house was a former realtor and banker. He paid his realtor a very reduced commission in a very bad market. The realtor must have thought some commission was better than none. The BIG question is how is your market?

This post was edited by voila on Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 21:56


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

It has been my experience that agents who offer to give some of their paycheck to the buyer do so because they are hurting for business.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

music

I wonder what part of Canada are you in?

In Canada, buyers can get rebates / cash backs from their agents (i.e. part of the commission they split with the seller's agent)
I would like to know if you were told this? or read somewhere?

It is true that houses listed on MLS system can't be visited without agent - should any agent give you a lock box combination, they would be in trouble. And most houses for sale are listed with a brokerage. So how are you going to find a house?
You could obviously go thru any FISBO's without a realtor, but I don't see that many & that wouldn't give you really a choice.
RE attorney is to handle the closing & occasionally buyers feel more comfortable if they have their solicitor to review the offer before submitting, but they will not show you houses or negotiate the price...


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

You are correct ncrealestateguy. Unfortunately, that is true for many realtors these days. Hence, my question of what the real estate market is like in OP's area.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Thanks folks. Please see my answers below.

"My first question is how do you get to go see houses without an agent?"
We attend only open houses. These days almost all homes host open houses.

“Do you know the best pest inspectors? General home inspectors? Roof inspectors? Mortgage companies?”
Yes, we have done our research on these things. We don't want to use the agent's advice for conflict of interest reasons.

“It has been my experience that agents who offer to give some of their paycheck to the buyer do so because they are hurting for business.”
In Canada, the housing market did not see the crash that was experienced in the US, so home prices have gone up over last 10-15 years, with the median home price in the $600K range. The commissions of the RE agents have also gone up at the same rate as they continue to charge approx. 5% (split by the seller’s and buyer’s agents).

“RE attorney is to handle the closing & occasionally buyers feel more comfortable if they have their solicitor to review the offer before submitting”
The problem with this situation is that the seller’s agent pockets the entire 5% commission, and we want a piece of that commission.

“I would like to know if you were told this? or read somewhere?”
It is quite common in Canada to get cashback/rebate from realtors. The % vary from company to company. Here is a company that has designed its business around this concept. http://www.zoocasa.com/en/rebate-program

This post was edited by musicgold on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 9:48


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Music

Good you have the answers, I can see you put lots of thinking into this.
May I ask few more questions - and to clarify some?

Yes, public OH are almost a 'must' & you are doing right thing to see as many as possible. Occasionally, there is a seller(s) that don't want OH, so there is a chance (small, mind you) that you may miss on a good house.

In my experience, good RE agent will offer few names (not just 1) of inspectors/contractors/mtg specialists/solicitors etc. so you could call them all, compare their answers to your questions & the $$$ they charge. Then you choose which one to work with, or you could find your own. It's their (Agent's) reputation on line too if there was 'conflict of interests', and could cost them. The agent wants you to be happy with the house you get & hopefully get referrals from you, and if you decide to move in the future, obviously he/she would love to have you back as a client. Agents have experience with many of these, and would not recommend someone with bad reputation.

What I was trying to say is that solicitor has a role, but not actually selling house (showing, negotiating).
What I think you are suggesting is, that you'll buy thru listing agent (by visiting OH and if you like it, you'll submit offer thru that agent), and therefore they are "making too much $$$".
If I could ask, do you understand difference between "client" & "customer"?

Yes, Canada's market is (or has been) different & commissions are much higher. I just wanted to know if you were told that by agent/friends etc, or made that assumption. Yes, there are few companies that are getting in the market offering discounts - but you'll get less service from them too.

I am not criticizing, I think competition is good for the consumer. Just be sure you are aware - there is a saying: you get what you pay for.

I know there are all kinds of incentives offered out there. I know Toronto market extremely well - lived there for 45 yrs & bought and sold number of properties. I just wouldn't call it common (the discounts/rebates).

I wish you good luck in looking & finding a right property.
Do not know which part of country you are living in, but in TO/GTA there is much more available than even 3-4 mo ago.

Rina


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Make sure of Canada's Agency Laws. If you visit Open Houses of the listing agent, and then want to write up an offer, the listing agent may be the procuring cause and be entitled to the commission. You may be out of your "piece".
Like with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Also, the best homes and the best deals do not have to rely on Open Houses to attract an offer. But, if picking through the leftovers with a sub par agent is ok with you, then go for it.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

If you only go to open houses, how do you make additional visits to the property? Just wait for more open houses? Would this discount agent assist you with all this?

I looked at my house 3 times before I made an offer on it. Came 3 times with inspectors before P&S. And then visited twice with contractors before closing. But then again, I'm thorough.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Here's my $.02:

I'm in the Boston metro region and recently bought/sold a house. We have a large, well-known real estate "presence" here (with a great website) that refunds a portion of their commission to the buyer (and seller if you use them). We weren't in any hurry to buy, so looked at open houses and thought we would use this agency, because it would have put 5 or 6K in our pocket. Here was our experience using the agency:

1 - The first house we found had multiple bidders, we put in an over full price offer with this discount agency, and someone else got their offer accepted, ours was not. We asked the agent to let us know why ours wasn't accepted, and he never got back to us. A month or so later we were browsing homes on the internet and that house was re-listed, the sale had flipped and he didn't even notify us.

2 - The second house that we really liked (a month later) was in a different area, but still covered by their agency, so another realtor affiliated with them showed it to us. We really wanted to put in an offer on that one, but had some basic questions about the current owner's flood insurance. We never got a response from the realtor (sent a second follow up e-mail, too -- no response). So we never put in an offer on that one (which is still available 5 months later).

3 - A month later along comes the third house we loved and really wanted to put in an offer (saw it at an open house) - we were going to use this refund-to-you agency again, because that 6K was very tempting, but when we realized that there were multiple offers on the property we knew that if we went with that agency, we would not get the house. Instead, we put our bid in through the listing agent and got it. I firmly believe if we had gone through that other refund-to-you agency, we would not have gotten it - our prior experience had shown us that they barely show up in the process.

So… this is all to say that if you're putting in a bid on a house that has been sitting on the market quite a while and has nobody else interested in it, go ahead and use the agent. I would absolutely not use them in a competitive bidding type of situation, as I just don't feel they really care if you get the house or not, and I would want a realtor that cared as much as I did. I would argue that if the only house you can successfully buy with these realtors is one that's been sitting with little/no interest, then you're really not saving anything at all that 5K you're pocketing is really rolled into the mortgage of an overpriced home -- and you may be overpaying by a lot more than 5K…

Edited to add: NC put what I'm trying to say very concisely, "... if picking through the leftovers with a sub par agent is ok with you, then go for it." Exactly!!!!!

This post was edited by kris_ma on Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 6:36


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Kris,
Sorry to hear of you missing out on the homes. The $5000 refund probably looks like peanuts to you by now. Those discount agents can only discount if they offer a lot less service and expertise.
Ever been to Walmart and ask for some personalized, expert help?


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

When I was shopping for houses without an agent, I would just set up an appointment with the listing agent for a showing. No one ever refused me or asked me to sign an agreement for representation with them. This is in the US, not Canada though.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Thanks folks. Appreciate your thoughts.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

In Canada these Companys that offer money back on
listings and sales don't do any local advertising in local
bi-weekly realtor newspaper booklets. Only computer advetising and not everyone uses the internet.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Buyers don't pay commissions - only sellers do.

Why would you NOT want to take a rebate? (a Shared part of the buyer's agent's commission) Back home in CA and here in FL it's possible to find agents/brokers that give the buyer up to 1% back.


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RE: Would you go with such a realtor

Personally, I would be very tempted to at least try it. As far as finding the best pest control, etc., I would look that up on yelp or the Canadian equivalent to yelp.

I do want my realtor to have as much skin in game as I do, though.


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