info@oneflatfee.ca 604-725-1000 Value of properties sold as of Feb 8, 2023: $1 Billion +

Author: Meghna Negi

full service realtor

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FULL-SERVICE REALTOR AND A DISCOUNT REALTOR?

This poses an interesting question so let’s take a look at how a discount realtor is actually very similar to a full-service realtor.

full service realtor

Full-Service Realtor

A full-service realtor will usually provide a free market evaluation to determine the appropriate selling price. Once that is established, they’ll:

  • list your home on the MLS ® system;
  • arrange for showing your home to potential buyers and their agents;
  • prepare (or receive) any offers to present to you;
  • promote your home on their own website as well as the MLS ® system;
  • provide guidance throughout the selling process; and
  • provide conveyancing services to bring the sale to completion.

While this list is not exhaustive, it generally describes the selling process. Depending on your agent, they may also offer referrals to other industry experts such as mortgage professionals, home inspectors, and lawyers.

Discount Realtor

A discount realtor provides most, if not all, of the same services but at a lower commission rate. Rather than using the industry standard of 7% of the first $100,000 and 2.5 or 3% of the balance, a discount realtor uses a lower fee structure which allows the seller to save potentially thousands of dollars of commission payouts to use for any other purpose they want.

Some discount brokerages offer a straight 1 or 2% commission. The downside to this is the buyer’s agent doesn’t get their “usual” fee and may not be overly enthusiastic about showing a home listed this way.

Flat Fee Commission

A flat fee discount realtor does things a bit differently. While the buyers’ agent will receive their normal, full commission for bringing a buyer, the seller’s realtor takes a discounted commission by reducing their fee to a fixed dollar amount. This means you won’t lose any buyers because those agents don’t want to take a lower commission and the seller still receives all of the same services as if they had used a full-service realtor.

Some discount brokerages also offer packages that allow you to sell your home on your own, with only certain services being provided by the brokerage. These services may include:

  • Listing your home on the MLS ® system;
  • Forwarding potential buyers to you;
  • Promoting the home on their website and other internet websites; and
  • Forwarding title of your property.

The fee for this type of service is usually a flat fee for the service of the discount brokerage, plus the normal commission due to the buyer’s agent. This type of sale can be time-consuming for the seller and if the seller is not experienced in buying or selling homes, there can be pitfalls to trying to sell the home privately.

Either way, the seller ends up saving a significant amount of money by using a discount brokerage.

Education and Training

Discount realtor brokerages have highly trained, educated, and experienced agents in the exact same way and to the same high standard as agents at traditional brokerages. The governing body for the real estate industry requires all agents to undergo the same training and education to ensure the best professionals are representing the public, regardless of the type of brokerage they represent.

Using a discount brokerage doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice experience, training, or knowledge. Many discount realtors are in the top percent of the real estate industry and are high achievers with excellent skills and awareness of the market conditions. With any transaction of this size, always ask your potential realtor for references, and don’t be afraid to check them out before making a commitment.

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WHY PAY MORE? HIRE A TOP-PERFORMING DISCOUNT REALTOR TO SELL YOUR HOME INSTEAD!

Just as not all traditional, full-service, real estate brokerages are the same, neither are discount brokerages. And while discount brokerages may have some negative misconceptions surrounding them, here’s why hiring a real estate agent from a discount brokerage can be a great idea:

Top Performing Realtors

Most realtors, whether they work at a traditional, full-service brokerage or at a discount brokerage, work hard to become the top of their field. The services they can provide are exactly the same and include some of the following:

  • They’ll do a free market evaluation to assess the value of your home and determine what they believe the home will sell for.
  • They’ll list your home on the MLS ® system to maximize exposure to thousands of potential buyers.
  • They’ll prepare the paperwork, receive offers from other Buyer agents and present them to you for consideration.
  • They’ll walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
  • Many can refer you to ancillary professionals such as lawyers, home inspectors or mortgage professionals.
  • They’ll work with you throughout the closing and conveyancing of the property to ensure a smooth transition.

They Have The Same Mandates

Your real estate agent has to follow the same set of rules and ethics regardless of what type of brokerage they work with. All real estate professionals are governed by the same body – the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) and the high standards of conduct are consistent across the board.

Loyalty to their clients is of the utmost importance and they are required to maintain your confidentiality at all times – even after the sale or purchase of your home is complete.

Your real estate agent will, and must, follow all of your lawful instructions regardless of whether or not they agree with them.

Your real estate agent has your best interest in mind at all times. They will provide input, guidance, and recommendations to assist you in making the best, biggest decision you’ll likely ever make.

The education and training real estate professionals receive are exactly the same across the province. Where they work doesn’t change the requirements of the real estate Rules and Regulations so you can be assured that a realtor working with a discount brokerage is trained to the same high level as at a traditional brokerage.

Where They Differ

The difference between the two types of brokerages comes down to a financial one. At a discount brokerage, you can receive the same high level of service as at another brokerage, but at a much lower rate of commission.

Discount brokerages can save the seller thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of commission they take. This could be based on a percentage, or as a flat fee but either way, the seller will have some extra money in their pocket at the end of the transaction to use for any other purpose they choose.

Some discount brokerages also offer incentives to buyers. Since the buyer’s agent will receive their “normal” commission, they may offer a cashback percentage to the buyer as an incentive to hire the brokerage. This could be as much as 25 or 50% of the buyer agents’ commission depending on the level of service required from them.

Whichever way you decide to go, always do your homework, research the agent and company you are considering, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or read the fine print. You may just decide a discount brokerage is right for you.

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sell home

SELL YOUR HOME FOR TOP DOLLAR! STEPS TO FOLLOW….

We all like to think our home is the best one in the neighborhood and we can get the highest price out there. To improve your chances of succeeding in this, here are some steps to follow:

sell home

1. Clean up.

Although it can be time-consuming, make sure your home is clean and tidy at all times. Potential buyers can pop up at a moment’s notice so you want to make sure your home is presentable. Get rid of the dust bunnies, wipe the dirty fingerprints off the walls and vacuum the floors. Make sure the bathrooms are spotless as this can turn off a buyer in an instant. If you have pets, deodorize the house and consider having the carpets professionally cleaned. This small expense goes a long way to show you care for the home and reduces the pet odors that may linger in the home.

2. De-clutter and de-personalize.

Organize the kid’s toys into a confined space instead of all over the house. Put away most of the family pictures. You want buyers to visualize themselves in the home so putting away personal items allows them to see the home as a place they can put down roots. You’re going to be moving anyway, so pack away some of the family heirlooms and mementos ahead of time. Your home will look less cluttered and more spacious.

3. Make repairs.

We all bang up a wall on occasion. Patch the drywall, if necessary, and touch up any paint spots that are obvious. If something is broken, fix it. You don’t want a faulty closet door falling off when someone opens it and you don’t want someone tripping over a loose threshold. If you are in the middle of a repair or are updating something, let your real estate professional know so they can pass the information on to potential buyers.

4. Curb appeal.

The first thing people see when they come to view the property is the front yard and the front of the house. Make sure the grass is cut, the flower beds are weeded and tidy and the sidewalk is clean and free of clutter. Clean the exterior of the home and make sure the windows sparkle. If it’s winter, make sure you have cleared any snow and ice from the walkways around the house and put down salt or ice-melter if needed.

5.Tidy the garage.

If, like a lot of people, your garage is more for storage than for parking your vehicles, make sure you keep it clean and organized. Put away as much as you can so people can at least walk through it to get an idea of the size. It’s hard to determine if a vehicle can fit into a garage that is overflowing with tools, equipment, boxes, and storage containers, so at a minimum, make sure there is a clear pathway through it all.

Your chances of finding a great buyer will improve if you follow these tips. Your home doesn’t have to be the most modern one on the block, but if you keep it clean and organized, the pride you have in the home will shine through and buyers will be more likely to make an offer for top dollar!

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WHAT IS A DISCOUNT REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE AND WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A DISCOUNT REALTOR?

Real estate prices continue to soar and with that, traditional commissions being paid to the real estate professionals involved with the purchase or sale of a home continue to rise. If you are the seller, this means your costs increase exponentially depending on the price your home sells for.

Hiring a discount real estate brokerage to sell your home might just be the answer you are looking for. But how does it work? And why should you consider it?

Discount Brokerages Can Save You Thousands Of Dollars

The most obvious reason to use a discount brokerage is to save money when you sell your home. Some brokerages offer a one or two-percent commission structure, while others offer different packages which allow you to select how many services you want the real estate professional to provide. This type of brokerage can still provide all of the services you need, but at a discounted price.

Discount Brokerages Provide All The Same Services As Higher Priced Brokerages

Don’t be fooled into thinking a discount brokerage provides less service or lower quality services than a traditional brokerage. Real Estate professionals at discount brokerages still undergo the same level of education and training as those at higher-priced brokerages. And, they still provide the valuable experience and knowledge needed when selling the biggest asset many people will ever own. Education is ongoing as required by the governing BC Financial Services Authority so each agent is fully up to date on changes to the rules and requirements of providing real estate services to you.

Discount Brokerages Use the MLS/Realtor System

Although the listing fees are lower with a discount realtor, homes still receive the same level of exposure on the MLS ® listing system used across Canada. This means your home can be viewed by countless potential buyers at a reduced rate.

Some Discount Brokerages Still Pay The Traditional Commission To the Buyers Agent

Depending on the brokerage, the buyer’s Agent may still receive their “full” commission. Reducing the Buyers Agent commission discourages agents from bringing their buyer clients to view your home because the financial incentive is no longer there. By keeping the Buyers Agent portion of the commission the same as at a traditional brokerage, the potential buyer’s pool remains large and widespread.

Buyers Can Get Cash Back From A Discount Real Estate Brokerage

Again, depending on the brokerage, a buyer may be able to receive a portion of the agent’s commission back as an incentive. This can help with closing costs, moving expenses, or even new furniture. The level of cash you receive will depend on the services provided and can be 25% or 50% of the commission paid to the buyer’s agent. If for example, your buyer’s Agent received $10,000 on the purchase of your new home, you could receive either $2,500 or $5,000 as a tax-free incentive to be used for whatever you want.

Discount Realtors and Brokerages offer all of the same services as a traditional brokerage while saving sellers thousands of dollars which can be used to offset other costs associated with moving.  As with any Real Estate Agent, ask for references and do your homework to ensure you are getting the services you want, at a price you are satisfied with.

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home valuation

EVALUATING YOUR HOME

home valuation

How do you estimate the value of your home and why does it matter?

Estimating the value of your home is not a one size fits all formula. There are a lot of different factors that go into determining the value of a home such as:

  • Size – is your home typical of others in the area or is your home smaller or larger?
  • Location – are you near schools, shopping, or other amenities?
  • Neighborhood – is your neighborhood an up-and-coming area, is it well established, or is it in a more or less preferred area of your city?
  • Updates – if the home isn’t new, have any updates been done such as new furnace, roof, painting, or other interior renovations?
  • Age – how old is the house and are there any issues as a result of its age?
  • Features – does it have anything other homes in your area don’t, or are you missing some features others in the area commonly have?
  • Current market conditions – what is happening in your region? Is it a buyer’s market with too many homes for sale, or is it a seller’s market with low inventory and a lot of potential buyers?

Do It Yourself Estimate

If you’re prepared to tackle the evaluation and determine on your own what the home is worth, there are a few things to look at.

  • What are comparable homes in your area selling for?
  • Are they bigger or smaller than your home?
  • Are they in better or worse condition than yours?
  • Do they have something you don’t that will attract buyers?
  • Do you have features that set you apart from the competition?

This is the least certain method of evaluating the value of your home as you don’t always have all the information real estate agents or appraisers will look at when comparing your home to others. Use some online value estimator tools to get a ballpark estimate and see how it compares to what you thought.

Free Market Evaluation

Nowadays, most real estate agents offer a free market evaluation as a way of getting your business. Most will do a full Comparative Market Analysis to look at what similar homes are selling for, how long sales are taking, and how the sale price compares to the listing price. And since they have access to all of the neighborhood listings and sales information, they can prepare a (usually) fairly accurate valuation of what you may be able to sell your home for. 

If you are thinking of going this route, talk to more than one realtor to make sure you are getting consistent information. 

Real Estate Appraisal

For a few hundred dollars, you can have a full real estate appraisal completed by a certified appraiser. And although you’ll be out of pocket on the front end, you may be able to get more than your money back when you sell. 

Real Estate Appraisers are highly specialized professionals who take a much deeper dive than either yourself or a real estate agent will. They look at, among other things:

  • Where the home is located;
  • Condition of the utility services and fixtures;
  • The foundation of the home;
  • What condition the heating and air systems are in, as well as walls, windows, doors and appliances;
  • Special features such as fireplaces, pools and hot tubs; and
  • Signs of damage to the home or structural foundations or if there are any issues in the attic or basement.
  • All other features, fixtures and equipment in the home and on the property.

Why it Matters

Whichever route you choose to evaluate your home, make sure you are comfortable with the methods used to arrive at the listing price. If the evaluation is too high, you’ll lose potential buyers who don’t see the value. If the evaluation is too low and you list the home too low, you may lose out on thousands of dollars on the sale. On the flip side, and in a seller’s market, if you list a little bit lower than the actual value, you could end up with multiple offers and still come out ahead of where you wanted to be.

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sell home

FOR SALE BY OWNER – HOW TO SELL A HOME VIA FSBO

If you’re planning on selling your home but don’t want to pay real estate commissions, which can often be $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, or even more, you may want to consider For Sale By Owner (FSBO).

If you’ve never sold a home this way, it can be a complex process and you may have a lot to learn. Following are some tips to get started:

sell home

1-Do Your Homework.

Before you put a sign on the front lawn, you need to know what the value of your home is so you can price it appropriately. You can obtain an appraisal from a certified home appraiser, or you can watch what’s happening in your neighborhood with homes similar to yours. You can also get a free, no-obligation, home evaluation from most area real estate professionals. Whichever method works best for you, make sure you are comfortable with the price you set and don’t overshoot by setting an unrealistic price.

2-Presentation Is Key.

Curb appeal and the overall presentation of your home are vitally important. Clean it, tidy it, paint it or repair it. Think about what work needs to be done to improve how your home will be perceived by potential buyers. If the front yard is overgrown and messy, some buyers will just walk away, so clean it up and mow the lawn. If the inside of the home is in disrepair or needs a good cleaning, you’ll lose some potential buyers the minute they walk inside. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to update your home, but it should be clean and tidy and free of any mess or clutter.

3-List The Property On Websites.

Once the home is ready for sale and you’re happy with the price you’ve determined to list it at, get the property listed on as many websites as possible. FSBO, Zillow, and even the MLS system in some regions will allow you to list your property for a small fee. Using the MLS system will expose the home to unlimited potential buyers. Research the sites most appropriate for your area and get your home in front of as many buyers as possible.

4-Understand The Rules In Your Area.

Different regions have different rules for disclosing information about the property. Check with your local real estate authorities to find out exactly how much of the home’s history, issues, or defects you need to disclose to potential buyers. This can save you a lot of time and money down the road if you’re upfront and honest with potential buyers right from the start.

5-Financing.

Don’t be afraid to ask potential buyers how they plan to finance the home. Will they be paying cash? Will they be obtaining a mortgage? Have they been pre-approved for a mortgage? How much of a deposit can they make? Hopefully, potential buyers will have already secured a mortgage pre-approval before viewing your home so there are no delays or potential lost sales because they can’t qualify for financing after making an offer. Consider making the deposit non-refundable so the buyer is more likely to complete the sale rather than losing a large deposit.

6-Hire A Lawyer

Saving money on commissions is great, but make sure you hire a lawyer or notary who can assist you with all of the paperwork and conveyancing for the property. You need someone experienced in real estate transactions so they can dot the I’s and cross the T’s, ensuring a smooth transfer of ownership.

If you’re comfortable handling the sale of your home on your own, then For Sale By Owner may be right for you. It will take some time, energy, and effort but if you are successful in selling the home and moving on to the next chapter, you can feel good about the process and your achievement!

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