Buying a Property on DuProprio
Did you know that a realtor can assist you with the purchase of a property listed on DuProprio, a for sale by owner website?
Online marketing has provided an accessible means by which homeowners can now advertise their properties for sale on their own. Although this may seem appealing, some measure of caution must be taken as a buyer. Purchasing a home is a major investment that comes with many risks, particularly for first-time buyers taking on this challenge without the support of a professional. There are many advantages to working with a realtor when a buyer has found their dream home on DuProprio.
Firstly, when working with a realtor, the buyer is protected because a real estate broker is responsible for verifying information and demonstrating the accuracy of facts or data to the buyer. For instance, a realtor could be held accountable if they state the wrong square footage of the home. Real estate brokers must maintain liability insurance in the event that information provided to a buyer is incorrect. The DuProprio vendor is protected by having access to legal advice from the fees he or she has already paid for the services provided by the company. On the other hand, a buyer working without a realtor has no protection and is at the mercy of the vendor by trusting that the information provided is correct.
Last year, when I was helping a newlywed couple buy their first house, they inquired about a home that they had found on DuProprio. When I did the background research, I discovered that the vendor had advertised the wrong lot square footage, the wrong year of construction and he was asking 30% more than he had paid for the home two years ago, without doing any renovations. He had also covered the concrete block wall of the basement with gyprock, thereby making it difficult to determine if there was any water infiltration, which these types of foundations are prone to. The buyers decided not to proceed with making an offer on the home.
Secondly, a realtor ensures full disclosure about any possible known defects, which protects both the buyer and the vendor. Any information that a vendor may be aware of, which could affect a buyers decision, increase the expense or decrease the value of a home must divulged. When listing a property with a real estate broker, the vendor is obligated to fill out a seller’s declaration form, which is a checklist regarding any possible problems with electricity, plumbing, the year of the roof, renovations done, etc.
Recently, a vendor in Quebec city paid a high price for failing to disclose a double suicide in a home that he had bought from an estate sale. He initially requested the services of a realtor. When the real estate broker learned about the deaths, she informed him that this detail must be disclosed because it could affect a buyer’s decision. The vendor refused to fill out the seller’s declaration and instead, listed the property on DuProprio and sold it to a young couple who intended to start a family in it. When the couple learned about the suicides from a neighbour, they were devastated and did not want to raise their children in a home that represented negativity and despair. They took legal action against the seller and were reimbursed for their cost of $275,000 along with $15,000 for moral damages and $23,000 for expenses (source: La Presse)
Thirdly, when working with a realtor for the purchase of a DuProprio property, a better price can often be negotiated. Buying a home can be an emotional process. The real estate broker acts as an intermediary, thereby assisting a buyer in making a more business-oriented decision, rather than an emotional one. An experienced realtor will be knowledgable regarding what kind of documentation to ask for, what details about the home that could influence a decision, as well as any factors about the neighbourhood that could affect the resale value. A realtor also has access to see how much the homeowner paid for the property, when it was purchased and if there are any outstanding loans or liens. All of these factors can be used in negotiations to help a buyer achieve fair market value for the property.
In sum, the benefits of working with a realtor are better protection, full disclosure and increased negotiation power. A real estate broker is mandated by the OACIQ (Organisme d’Autoréglementation du Courtage Immobilier du Québec) to protect the best interests of their client.