Occasionally, one can see “For Sale By Owner” signs, and some owners think that selling their own home will not only save them money, but believe they have an advantage over the sellers that have their home listed by a reputable Realtor©.  Before you decide to take on this very important and legally complicated process, remember not even most Real Estate Lawyers recommend selling your own home yourself in today’s market. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. You are limiting your exposure to potential buyers (less than 10% of what a good real estate broker will generate) which theoretically means your home will take ten to fifteen times longer to sell on the market.

2. The longer a home is on the market the lower the selling price is. Why? Because most buyers think that if the home has not sold after this long…there must be something wrong with the home.

3. The selling/buying process begins AFTER the buyer leaves your home. Most sellers think that all it takes is for someone to see their home, fall in love with the great decor… and the offer automatically will follow.  Remember that the buying process begins after they leave your home. If a real estate agent does not represent the buyer, and they are looking on their own: they usually leave the home and start to talk themselves out of the buying process. If the buyer is represented by a real estate professional Realtors© are trained on how to overcome buyers remorse–a very common occurrence.

4. Because of the limited exposure you will very likely end up with a lower selling price. Remember, in order to generate the highest price possible for your home selling means exposure. You need the maximum exposure possible, to generate the highest price possible.

5. Most buyers find it extremely awkward to negotiate or even to talk directly with sellers and therefore avoid FSBO properties.

6. Lack of negotiating experience and lack of pertinent information often will result in a lower selling price, or worse yet, a bungled contract and possible lawsuits.

7. The majority of qualified buyers are working with experienced real estate professionals.

8. Many serious buyers will pass by a FSBO home merely because they recognize that it is not in the real estate mainstream, this can some times make them wary.

9. As most local buyers now retain an experienced real estate sales person to represent them as their buyer-agency, you will probably be negotiating against an experienced professional.

10. Expected savings in broker’s fees will also be greatly reduced if you offer a selling commission to entice real estate agents to bring potential buyers.

11. If you are planning to use a Lawyer to help you negotiate the offer, then your lawyer’s fees will be considerably higher.

12. Only real estate agents have access to the up-to-date market information. News reports cannot approach the timeliness or specificity available to agents. Further, real estate agents are involved in home sales much more frequently than the average homeowner is. This familiarity leads to a degree of expertise that provides an edge on negotiating and successful selling.

13. You only pay the commission to the real estate broker, if they successfully sell your home at the price you are happy with.

14. Accepting an offer is one thing, ensuring a safe and successful closing is quite another. Real estate transactions usually always have problems on closing. At times, expecting the Buyers and Sellers Lawyer’s to fight it out or resolve the problems, can sometimes mean the deal is lost. This is the time that your experienced real estate professional, can be the most important. Your Realtor© can act as a great mediator. Lawyers MUST act only on their client’s instructions and are not paid to negotiate.

Alan Read-Chua is a Toronto real estate agent with Sutton Group Associates Realty Inc in Toronto. Alan is by nature, both a workaholic and a people person and has many years experience in Toronto Lofts and Toronto Condos. Thank you Alan for these useful tips for all of our real estate visitors, both in Toronto and around the world.

The Pointy Headed Liar – Dalton McGuinty

The Pointy Headed Promises and Mistakes

We thought long and hard before deciding that we would publish this article that had been passed to us on our real estate blog, but then we thought well all of these things do influence real estate in Ontario, by changing the amount of money we have in our pockets. Also it shows the power of links in how the search engines rank sites. Also if you feel strongly about what Ontario’s Premier Pinocchio, also known as the Pointy Headed Liar has done since being elected please feel free to report this article but please keep the whole article intact with the links.

Ontarians cannot trust a single thing the Pointy Headed Liar says

Ontario's Pointy Header Liar

  1. I won’t raise your taxes.!!
  2. Balance the Budget every year of their mandate
  3. Balance the Budget by 2007
  4. Roll back tolls on the 407
  5. Fund Medically-Necessary Health Care Services (de-listed eye exams, chiropractic care and physiotherapy)
  6. Not Add to the Province’s Debt
  7. Stop 6,600 Houses on the Oak Ridges Moraine
  8. Abide by the Balanced Budget law
  9. Cap Hydro Rates at 4.3¢ per Kilowatt Hour Until 2006
  10. Respect MPPs and Democracy
  11. Allow all non-cabinet MPPs to criticize and vote against government legislation
  12. Provide autism treatment beyond age six
  13. Reduce Auto Insurance Rates by 10% Within 90 Days
  14. Reduce Private Consultants
  15. Cancel P3 Hospitals in Brampton and Ottawa
  16. Public Inquiry into Meat Inspection
  17. Withdraw Government Appeal on the Richmond Landfill
  18. Make Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer an independent officer of the Legislature
  19. Govern with honesty and integrity
  20. Better mental health care
  21. Value and Support the Public Service
  22. Divert 60% of municipal garbage to recycling by 2005
  23. Close private MRI and CT clinics
  24. Stop School Closings
  25. Provide Adequate, Multi-Year Funding for Hospitals
  26. Hire Over 1,000 Teachers a Year
  27. Hire 1,000 New Police Officers
  28. Close Coal-Fired Electricity Plants by 2007
  29. Double the Number of Apprentices
  30. End the Clawback of the Federal Child Tax Credit
  31. Build 20,000 New Affordable Housing Units
  32. Spend Every Penny of the New Health Tax on Health Care
  33. Eliminate Barriers to Foreign-Trained Professionals within One Year
  34. Require Trades and Professions to Accept Qualified Immigrants within One Year
  35. Repeal the Tenant Protection Act within One Year
  36. Establish a Standing Committee on Education to Hold Yearly Hearings
  37. Liberal Promises Would Cost $5.9 Billion
  38. Make the Ministry of Agriculture a lead ministry
  39. Invest in rural roads and bridges
  40. Make sure health dollars are being spent wisely
  41. Stop the waste of taxpayers’ dollars
  42. Support the province’s cities
  43. Guarantee stable, long-term funding for our rural communities
  44. Operate an open and transparent government
  45. Provide a new funding formula for rural and northern schools
  46. Hard cap of 20 students for early grades
  47. Ensure 75% of students meet or exceed the provincial standard on province-wide tests within first mandate
  48. Tackle gridlock
  49. Give taxpayers better value for money while keeping taxes down
  50. Provide financial assistance to farmers to offset the cost of new nutrient management rules

50 good reasons why you should not support the pointy headed liar when it comes to his next campaign to gain re-election to the Ontario parliament. Don’t vote Dalton McGuinty the premier pinocchio when you next visit the ballot box. Keep your hard earnt dollars in your pocket while keeping Ontario’s services alive and well.

Real Estate Agents Like to Party Too

Not that I’m complaining, but I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who stop me in the street at any time in the day or night and assume that “How’s the real estate market?” is another way of saying, “How are you?” or “Wassup?”

I’m a Realtor, yet for many friends, clients and ad readers, I am the keeper of information that has become too much of a bell weather for their financial health. When I give my answers, I can hear their minds tally the spreadsheets and refresh the new totals.

As an immigrant from another part of Canada, I think that Torontonians are too obsessed with “market” and have forgotten the “estate” part of “real estate market”. No matter what the size, your home is where you entertain friends, express your private relationships, and raise your children. It should be your haven and not be judged by its fluctuating financial worth.

When I open my townhouse door, I feel happy to be HOME. That fuzzy warm feeling is the thermometer that you should use when you buy. No matter how good a price you bought for or could sell for, if that warm fuzziness is not there, you are missing the whole point of home ownership.

We’ve just gone through the holiday party season. Every year, as we get closer to party time, I start to cocoon. I intend to make it to all those invitations but often find excuses. I’d like to go talk about movies, food and the other interests that encompass my life. I’d love to talk about cars, furniture and all of those wonderful things that we buy every day, enjoy and gladly depreciate monetarily. However, I know that by the time I have my coat off and hit the bar, someone I don’t even know is asking me, “How’s the real estate market?” I also realize that Realtors have the power to cause a suicidal depression or a Holt Renfrew shopping spree.

And how do I respond? If I say that the market is good, in light of what is going on in the world, then I’m either lying or feel I should be filled with some sort of survivor guilt because I have had sales. If I say it’s bad, then I’m completing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Seeing that I don’t like being around negative people, even I want to walk away from me. I usually try to dodge the questions, but as the evening lengthens, my answers get crisper, my temper shorter, and I start yearning for the magic time when I won’t be the first to leave the party.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario is getting stricter about “agency” or fiduciary duty. It tells you that under their rules, any comment that Realtors make and act upon brings both parties into an agency relationship. Nothing deadens a party like a lengthy explanation of agency relationship, when it’s the response to “How’s the market?”

As the years go by, fewer invitations come my way and I’m drawn down south over the holidays to a place where no one knows that I sell real estate in Toronto. I can breathe easy, pretend to have a million other careers, and never face the scrutiny that exists as a Realtor in Toronto.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my city and especially my business. But, what I love about it is being able to put someone in a home, watch his or her families grow, and be part of that process. There are few highs that can compare. Speculating on fluctuating value is not one of them.

In light of the many issues in the world, let’s hope we move to focus on the quality of life in our homes and less on their value. I hope that next holiday season, more of my clients will remember that real estate agents like to party too!

This article was written by Richard Silver, who is a real estate agent in the Cabbagetown area of Toronto, has a great sense of humour and is one of the friendliest professional real estate agents that I know.

Condo Living in Downtown Toronto

Downtown Toronto offers some of the best city living you will find.

The Toronto core boasts a growing abundance of gorgeous city condominiums that offer such features as fourteen foot ceilings and sunny south east exposures, some so open and spacious you feel like you are living in a house. Well-designed condos with contemporary comfort are providing ready access to a fantastic downtown lifestyle in the residential quadrants of the Toronto core.

Owning a condominium provides all of the benefits of owning a home without the responsibility of maintenance and repair such as snow shoveling, grass cutting and gardening.  In many condominium complexes you will enjoy the added benefits of 24-hour security, fitness facilities, and recreation & entertainment centres.

Downtown Toronto homes feature a large selection of residential options that offer accessibility to the many cultural, historic, educational, leisure, retail and employment opportunities that Toronto holds.  The Bloor Yorkville area alone offers 700 designer boutiques, restaurants, hotels, and world-class galleries.  Other well known districts offering compatible fare are The Annex, Cabbagetown, and Chinatown, to name a few.

Residing in the Kensington Market area and the closely located Little Italy District brings you within easy reach of some of the freshest produce and best selection of cheese vendors in the City of Toronto.

Forest Hill offers homes of distinction that reflect individuality in architecture, landscaping and personalized residential uniqueness.  Within the vastly growing city of Toronto and the greater Toronto area, Forest Hill maintains its unique existence as a quiet, charming, cozy village with a flair for offering an extensive and interesting assortment of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries.

Toronto’s historic west neighbourhood of High Park proudly presents homes located on tree lined residential streets.  Like Forest Hill, quiet, intimate areas can be found with some homes being located on streets that reflect a mews style appearance.  High Park is known for its 399 acres of green space and sport facilities for swimming, tennis, soccer, cycling and trails. 

Families are moving back from suburbia and relocating in downtown Toronto.  Spending years commuting on the freeway and stuck in traffic rather than time at home, parents are looking for opportunities to spend more time at home with family in their own community, downtown Toronto.

Cecile Bassels is a Downtown Toronto Real Estate agent with Exit Realty Prestige

Choosing a Domain Name for your Real Estate Web site.

This is the first in a line of articles about marketing your real estate internet web site. Some of the things that I will say during this series will most definitely be regarded as controversial by many SEO pundits, but I am talking about marketing your web site, not just optimizing it for the search engines. The key difference here is that the aim is to bring you good qualified traffic from many interested parties not just from the search engines.

So here we go, as I have said above the whole aim of any web site is to get good quality traffic from as many sources as possible, now this of course depends  how you market the rest of your business, our you a real estate agent looking fro both traffic from the search engines and also from local people remembering your web site because they saw it on your vehicle, at your agency or in the newspaper, or are you a purely online business that is trying to generate leads purely from the search engines.

If you are purely on line I agree with many of the pundits who would say that it is good to have some of your keyword(s) in your domain, however if you are, as probably 95% of real estate agencies are, working from an office with local people go for a domain that is easy to remember because it has your business name in it, or go for something that people won’t forget and make it a household name in your area. Does Google or Yahoo have anything to do with search engine, you bet they do, but does their domain name, well yes because they made it a household name.

So to sum up go for a domain name that people will remember, repeat qualified traffic is way better than people that may visit your site once and never return. Make it something that people will tell their friends, and if you don‘t believe me, I can give you 100’s of first page listings in the 3 major search engines, where the domain name has nothing to do with the keywords that they are found for that still brings them good quality traffic, but still is memorable by each and every visitor they receive.

Rob Parker is a real estate internet marketing specialist with Leaf Tech Web Inc. and has helped 100’s of real estate web site owners successfully market their web sites, both on and off line.