Why Was This List Prepared?
Surveys show that many property owners and property buyers are not aware of the true value a REALTOR® provides during the course of a real estate transaction.
At the same time, REALTORS® have generally assumed that the expertise, professional knowledge and just plain hard work that go into bringing about a successful transaction were understood and appreciated.
Many of the important services and steps are performed behind the scenes by either the REALTOR® or the brokerage staff and traditionally have been viewed simply as part of their professional responsibilities to the client. Without them, the transaction could be in jeopardy.
This list is by no means complete. I routinely provide a wide variety of additional services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction.
Not all transactions require all of these steps. However, given the unexpected complications that can arise, it’s far better to know about a step and make an intelligent, informed decision to skip it, than to not know the possibility even existed.
Why use a REALTOR®?
The typical actions, research steps, procedures, processes and review stages taken by a REALTOR® to complete a successful real estate transaction depend on the transaction. Some tasks may take minutes, hours, or even days to complete, while some may not be needed.
These tasks reflect the level of skill, knowledge and attention to detail required in today’s real estate transaction, understanding the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process – a REALTOR®.
REALTORS® are pledged to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics in their professional dealing with the public. Remember, not every real estate registrant holds REALTOR® membership or MLS® access; I do, make sure yours does!
For peace of mind, ensure the individual seeking to represent you is both a registrant of the Real Estate Council of Ontario and a member of Ontario Real Estate Association – permitted to be called a REALTOR®. Check the RECO website for a searchable list of registrants.
Not all brokerages and REALTORS® offer these services. As a REALTOR® dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service and expert guidance; I do.
- Contact buyer to make appointment for the buyer presentation
- Send buyer a written or email confirmation of appointment, place a follow-up call with buyer to confirm and provide reminder
- Review pre-appointment questions to prepare to respond and move forward
- Determine the type of investment being considered (residential, multi-residential, industrial)
- Find out how along in the process they are.
- Determine if the client has a mortgage pre-approval, cash or property to sell.
- If there is property to sell:
- Examine all comparable sales activity in the area from MLS® and public databases
- Research average days-on-the-market for similar properties, list to sale price ratio, location, type and other related statistics
- Check municipal tax records or other documents for varied pieces of property information such as lot size or boundaries
- Enquire with the Planning Department of municipal offices for current zoning and/or potential uses
- Verify legal description of the property
- Check for land use restrictions, restrictive covenants, easements and/or zoning
- Verify ownership names via the Registry Office, deed, mortgage charge, tax bill or a number of other documentation with indicators
- Prepare buying presentation from materials gathered
- Drive by the property and geographic area to assess the curb appeal, neighbourhood benefits or accents such as shopping and schools; compare with other property for impact on value
- Determine whether property is subject to special title interests, such as shoreline road allowance and obtain clarification or expanded information related to special interests
- Confirm local services (schools, gym, worship, groceries) and explain their impact on market value
- Compile and assemble formal file on property
- Review all pertinent information to ensure that it’s complete in preparation for distributing to interested parties, if requested
- Review buying appointment checklist to ensure completion of all tasks
- Prepare Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to establish market value
- Obtain copy of subdivision plan/complex layout
Buyer Appointment Presentation
- Explain the various service relationships by providing the “Working With a REALTOR®” pamphlet and request acknowledgement that this has been reviewed, understood and copy retained by the buyer
- Provide the buyer with an overview of current market conditions and projections pertaining to expected purchase time or adjustments that may be necessary
- Review personal and brokerage’s credentials and accomplishments
- Confirm financing strategy, mortgage pre-approval, cash or property to sell. If there is a property to sell:
- Review any appraisals that have been done in recent past
- Present CMA to the buyer including brief details and value adjustments with comments relating to comparable sold properties, current listings and expired listings
- Discuss with the buyer the possibility of a seller take-back (STB) mortgage situation (STB) and other options to enhance purchase negotiations while recommending that the consumer speak with industry related experts
- Determine what the clients needs are (number of offices/bedrooms, baths, warehouse/yard space, transportation considerations…etc)
- Which areas need to be considered
- What price range is preferred
- Discuss pricing strategy based on experience and current market conditions
- Explain timelines (It usually takes about 30 to 90 days from purchase to closing)
- Determine availability to view properties.
- Discuss a suggested search plan to achieve success in finding most suitable properties, location, amenity requirements
- Explain the advantages, power and limitations of Multiple Listing Service®
- Explain the use and power of web searches, IDX and realtor.ca
- Explain work that both the salesperson and brokerage do behind the scenes and service availability, elaborate and clarify to establish mutual expectations and obligations
- Explain the brokers role in taking calls, providing viewing feedback and screening potential properties
- Discuss use of a rating system for narrowing down selection and submitting offers
- Confirm the final strategic master/overall search and offer plan
- Review and explain the Buying Process and typical paperwork involved
- Review and explain the Buyers Agreement, broker signs committing the brokerage and request the signature of the buyer(s); provide each of the signing buyer(s) with individual copies
- Provide copies of the typical forms and all signed forms.
- Explain cooperation with building inspectors, lenders and lawyers
- Confirm signing authorities and board of directors for corporations
- Obtain copies of personal identification documents for clients
- Obtain Corporate Profile Report
- Obtain Certificate of Status Report for corporations
- Complete government required FINTRAC documents.
After the Buyers Agreement is Signed
- Prepare client specific file for both searches and offers
- Provide all copies of signed documents to client and brokerage
- Obtain contact details for property inspectors, lawyer, lender and property management staff
- Develop a rating system for narrowing down selection and submitting offers
- Review instructions (COVID-19) from listing brokerage for brokers viewing properties and confirm with the buyer the best times to arrange visitations
- Explain the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to the buyer and discuss content
- Explain the offer presentation process and the possibility and procedures if multiple offers are submitted, as well as the varying party rights and obligations
- Discuss the type of conditions and terms that will likely be included in an offer to purchase from other prospective buyers
- Load Buyer and property type into personal database and transaction management software
- Obtain signed Mortgage Verification Form, submitted to the buyer’s mortgagee/lender to be returned with pre-approved mortgage detail to the buyer
- Verify with lender any penalties, terms and current rates and if the mortgage can be discharged of the current property if being sold at the same time
- Check whether the existing mortgage can be assumed and under what terms
- Check that the existing mortgage can be “ported” to a new property
Searching for Properties
- Prepare an automated search in MLS® System based on client requirements
- Search all upcoming condo developments that might meet the clients requirements
- Search all “coming soon” listings that meet clients requirements
- Search all “For Sale by Owner” properties meeting requirements
- Search all “exclusive” listings through Royal LePage
- Search all “exclusive” listings with cooperating brokerages
- Prepare personal mailing and seller contact list
- Generate mail merge letters to seller contact list
- Advise company Network Referral Program of the Buyers requirements
- Provide Buyers requirements to sellers coming from referral network
- Create and submit buyers requirements to internal salesperson’s / brokerage’s internet sites
- Submit buyers requirements to external cooperating brokerage’s
- Respond to all calls – after hours and weekends included
- Update mortgage information as available
- Advise client of available properties that meet their requirements
- Implement rating system for narrowing down selection and submitting offers
- Review potential properties (listings, videos, documents) in preparation of viewings
- Co-ordinate viewings with the owner, tenants and other REALTORS®
- When Follow-up on emails and provide feedback to representatives for properties that have been viewed
- Discuss feedback from viewings with the Buyer to determine if changes are required to accelerate the selection
- Give regular updates to the buyer to discuss pricing, listing activity, market trends and results of searches
Preparation for Offer
- Discuss possible seller financing alternatives and options with buyers.
- Research all comparable currently listed and recently sold properties
- Obtain / copy building plans for reference, if available
- Obtain / copy survey for reference, if available
- Confirm lot size from owner’s survey or other resource such as land deed/transfer — if a survey is not available, make a note in the property file and ensure that the buyer is aware
- Note any lot line fencing, easements and variances as per obtained documentation showing such
- Confirm if there any Condominium Fees or Homeowner Association fees
- Get a copy of the Condominium Bylaws & Rules, if applicable
- Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable
- Order copy of Home Owner Association bylaws if applicable
- Review current appraisal if available
- Confirm hydro source or any other provider of utility
- Calculate the utility usage for the past 12 months from seller’s records
- Research and verify city sewer/any septic bed layout or permits at time of installation
- Research and verify city building permits on file for property
- Research and verify any reassessments or pending reassessments by the municipal tax office
- Confirm the water supply is municipal, check on rates for the past 12 months
- Validate if the water supply comes from a well, depth, confirm well type, condition and water quantity and or quality. Identify and advise of any abandoned wells on the property.
- Determine natural gas, heating oil or propane supplier’s name and telephone number and obtain copy of any records for reference
- Note if there are any rented appliances i.e. hot water tank, furnace, etc. and request documentation for review and reference
- Verify security system — owned or rented, terms and service terms
- Ascertain if any lead-based paint, asbestos insulation, UFFI or other latent defect may be present
- Prepare a list of property features such as pool, sauna, whirlpool, landscape water features and assess market impact
- Obtain a list of chattels and fixtures included or excluded from the purchase of the property with specific details to ensure they are accurately documented for the buyer
- Compile a list of recent improvements, repairs or maintenance and obtain copy of any documentation for reference
- Verify if property has rental units within the building. If so:
- Inquire as to compliance with the zoning by-laws, fire code and electrical safety code
- Make copies of all rental agreements and tenant correspondence
- Determine ownership of any appliances or other fixtures and chattels
- Verify and list all rental amounts, deposits held and other details
- Make copies of any rental premises inspection reports
- Make copies of any forms filed with Landlord and Tenant Board
- Assemble an online property specific secure folder for all related documents
- Determine if there is a completed Seller Property Information Statement and/or respective Schedule
- Complete “new purchase checklist”
The Offer and the Contract
- Receive and review all documents submitted by sellers and sellers’ representatives
- Counsel buyers on each property– explaining merits and weaknesses of each
- Contact seller’s representative to discuss interests and motivations of their client
- Obtain relevant documents for disclosure(s), from seller’s representative or seller prior to offer if possible
- Confirm with seller’s representative that buyer is financially qualified, with mortgage commitment from their lender
- Prepare and negotiate all offers on buyer’s behalf, suggesting terminology within clauses, establishing condition time limits and buyer’s desired closing date
- Register all property offers with the listing brokerages
- Prepare and convey all counter offers, acceptance and/or amendments to seller’s representative
- Deliver copies or originals of all documents to the buyers’ lawyer
- When an Agreement of Purchase and Sale is agreed upon and finalized by the seller and buyer, ensure all parties have copies
- Record and obtain deposit receipt from the listing brokerage Trust Account
- Provide copy of the accepted Agreement of Purchase and Sale to the brokerage office for creating a transaction file
- Advise and counsel buyer on the procedures while the original agreement is conditional
- Advise buyer about making additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing
- Update personal transaction program indicating purchase pending
- Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer
- Assist in arranging for appraiser to inspect the property and if requested, provide any information such as survey copy, new roof receipt, etc.
- Make contacts for assisting with septic tank inspection, if applicable
- Deliver copy of septic system inspection report to lender and buyer
- Arrange for water tests to send to relevant testing facility
- Arrange other inspections (termite, mold, environmental), as required by financial or insurance company or the seller or buyer’s lawyer (as examples)
- Explain the option of a lock box for transfer of keys
- Confirm return of verifications of deposit and buyer’s employment
- Follow loan processing through to underwriter
- Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program
- Contact seller representative or as requested the lender regarding mortgage application progress
- Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller
- Prepare/obtain waiver or condition removal document(s), deliver copies to parties and brokerages and then ensure they are sent to the lawyer for the buyer
- Explain benefits of a Home Owner Warranty to buyer.
- Assist buyers with completion and submission of the Home Owner Warranty application.
- When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for distribution on closing
- Provide buyers with recommendations for professional home inspection
- Assist in arranging home inspection appointment
- Review home inspectors report
- Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program
- Explain seller’s / buyer’s responsibilities and interpret any clauses in the contract
- Ensure seller’s compliance with inspection clause requirements
- Assist the buyers if they have enquiries regarding the inspection report
- If repairs are required, assist seller in obtaining trustworthy contractor to perform required repairs
- Follow up on all required repairs by seller, if needed
- Schedule appraisal appointment and arrange with the buyer
- Provide appraiser with any additional helpful information that can be used to establish market Value
- Follow up on appraisal
- Assist buyer or seller in regards to mortgage or appraisal enquiries
- Enter completion into transaction management program
- Assist buyer in reviewing appraisal report if required
- Suggest possible solutions for any glitches within the appraisal
Closing Preparations and Duties
- Work with seller’s representative to arrange any visits prior to set closing date, as agreed in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale
- Coordinate closing process with seller’s representative, lawyer and lender
- Update closing forms and files
- Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale
- Obtain closing location, confirm closing date and time and notify all parties
- Assist to solve title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining death certificates
- Explain benefits of Title Insurance to the Buyer.
- Assist Buyers with completion and submission of Title Insurance application
- Confirm the buyer received title insurance commitment
- Confirm Home Owners Warranty for availability at closing
- Review all closing documents carefully for errors
- Forward closing documents to absentee buyer as requested
- Coordinate closing with buyer’s property sale, resolving timing issues
- Be available for any concerns/questions from the seller, buyer or buyer’s representative
- Advise real estate board/association that property is purchased and supply details as to price, date of sale, purchasing brokerage representative(s)__
- Close out listing in transaction management program
- Coordinate transfer of entry door keys, garage door remotes, security code access and postal box keys
- Provide list of utilities service providers, recycling bin provider, waste pick up schedule, postal box location and listing of local schools, hospitals, fire stations and amenities to buyers
Follow Up After Closing
- Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company, if requested
- Attempt to clarify and resolve any repair conflicts if buyer is dissatisfied
- Respond to any follow up calls and provide additional information required from transaction files
Your Personal Consultation
Once again, not all brokerages and REALTORS® provide these personalized services. As a full service REALTOR® working for a full service brokerage… I do.
To get started, I recommend we schedule a Personal Consultation. I’ll visit your home or business, answer your questions, and give you my professional opinion as to market conditions and trends, available inventory and how long your search may take.
If you plan to sell another in the area, we can talk about that too. In fact, there are significant advantages to having me help you with both transactions.
This consultation gives us both the opportunity to get to know one another and to see if there’s a good fit. You’ll learn how I work, how I facilitate property searches and purchases, and how I attend to my clients’ needs.
After this consultation, although most people are eager to get started with me as their broker, there’s no obligation. This is a get acquainted meeting only.
So let’s meet. Contact me