A Little History About
In the spring of 1991, when Carolyne opened her own real estate brokerage firm, she created quite a stir in town. Carolyne was the first Realtor to opt for using a personal touch in her signature-style name on signs and other promo materials, and Carolyne was the first agent/company to use the then unique colour combination - by choosing the yet un-unused Florida-like "colours rose and teal" to set herself apart from the traditional reds, white and blues and black and whites of existing companies.
Only months passed before her hand-picked choice of colours, and unique signature branding style, having appeared to be so very popular as a novel "new idea" and a first for any Realtor, were dramatically taken over by other agents at other companies, in an effort to brand themselves to her popularity. Shortly agents started using her broadcasting style in their own marketing materials, and today you can see her style and colours in many places- but she remains the original user of the "rose and teal". Some agents even outrightly copied her graphics materials using the vertical stripe off to the side (instead of their own corporate horizontal stripes used by their parent company), materials that she had paid a lot of money for to have developed professionally. Their own careers hugely escalated once they used her styling efforts to market themselves, and continue to do so.
Carolyne was told in March 1991 that she would not last six months in the then recession of the late 80s-early 90s. Here she is, thirteen years later. Carolyne suffered through a huge personal family crisis in the late 90s and early 00s, followed by a very serious personal injury accident a couple of years ago that left her nearly unable to work - but she somehow kept on going. When several real estate offices with large numbers of agents closed during the mid-nineties due to a recession that just didn't want to leave Brampton, Carolyne down-sized but kept on representing her client-base, developed over 30 years of helping folks like you buy and sell houses in Brampton, Bramalea, Heart Lake and now Springdale.
You only have to visit her welcoming web site at http://www.IwantToBeYourAgent.com to view some of the letters Carolyne has received from satisfied customers/clients. Carolyne wants to be your agent, too. Her clients stuck with her, and for this she is so very grateful. You can call her 24/7. Leave her a message and she'll get right back to you. 905-458-6711.
Please use this information as guidelines only, and seek a current market analysis (CMA) of your own specific property or one you would like to buy, by contacting Carolyne Realty Corp. or any Realtor. The term Realtor may only be used by those who actually are Realtors and not just real estate agents, and are subject to all the industry rules and regulations and operate using the Realtor's Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are Realtors.
About MLS - Do You Know What it Means? How it Works?
MLS means that we sell the listings of other brokers/companies, and they sell ours. MLS is a co-op of information provided to Realtors by their Board(s), in an effort to give up-to-date market findings that can be used to evaluate your home, and MLS is a mass-market tool that can get your listing information out to more than 20,000 local Realtors in the GTA and surroundings areas, when you list with a Realtor. Always do real estate business with a Realtor.
MLS and the Web
With the advent of the use of the web by millions of people, your listing goes out through various portals to would-be buyers around the world. The current MLS system, itself, is web-based and is available to provide information 24/7. When you go to our web site(s) - www.Carolyne.com or www.IwantToBeYourAgent.com , you can search for any listing any place in Canada (or even the world). Click the link "Homes Across Canada" (including Brampton). Brampton is divided into two "territories" - one, W24, provides information on homes east of Hwy. 410 in the Bramalea and Springdale areas, and the other,W23, provides the same information for homes located west of Hwy. 410 including Heart Lake, West Brampton, and South Brampton areas. The demarcation lines of each territory run from the City boundaries at the north to the City boundaries at the south. From there you can enter your own search perameters, and you will be able to see a thumbnail (small) photo of any subject property, along with a few lines of information. For further information, jot down the MLS number and let us know what it is. We can then send you the full information sheet so you can decide if you really are interested in viewing any specific home(s).
Seller Contract - Buyer Contract
A seller contract is referred to as a listing. Most buyers, as well as sellers understand what a "listing" is, but many don't understand the obligations contracted for and/or implied. Mostly all they know is that the listing agent has been "hired to represent the seller", but not to what degree. A buyer contract is referred to as a Buyer Broker, or Buyer Agency, contract. Most agents would not, could not, work with you, as a seller, without a contract. The listing contract explains your obligation to the agent, and the agent's obligation back to you: representation - is the key word; the agent and broker company work "for" you as the seller, except in special permission circumstances where you give your agent permission "in writing" to also work for/with the buyer - called dual agency - where the listing agent acquires a buyer specifically for your property. A buyer can elect to be a customer rather than a client, and then a whole different set of rules applies. Perhaps you will want to ask your agent to explain "agency" to you again. When the agent works just and only for you, the agent is obligated not to release any personal information that you have shared, such as how much you will really take for your house when an offer comes in, or answer questions such as why you are moving; it is not their business to broadcast if you are in financial difficulty and must sell your home.
The value of your home is determined by current market conditions, not by the personal feelings or thoughts of your Realtor, or even by your own thoughts and feelings as an owner. In real terms, the "agent" is the corporation. What has become the generic use of the term "agent", is really the salesperson. The agent/salesperson can change hats, as it were. For example a seller may later become a buyer; in that case the seller needs to have two independent contracts. One is a "representation" listing contract for the sale of his/her house; the other, a Buyer Agency contract, so he/she is "represented" with all its implications, for a purchase agreement. In this case, the public can use the same agent with no conflict, because of the signing of two separate contracts, for two separate purposes. When you meet with an agent, the agent is "required"to have you sign a paper saying that "agency" has been explained to you. This not a Buyer contract you are signing, but rather just a clarification statement saying that agency has been explained and that you understand it.
Likewise, in current market conditions, a buyer needs to know for sure that the agent they are "buying with", is working "for" them. The only way to be sure that you, as a buyer, have representation and that the agent is "obligated" to working "for" you and you alone, is to have a Buyer Agency contract, an agreement with one agent only, just like when you list with one agent only; the public has no difficulty understanding the listing concept. The "buyer" agent is then committed to work "for" you, and only you, and not for the seller of any property. Your buyer agent is there to protect your interests and yours alone. This is called Buyer Agency Representation. Make sure you have it, if you are a buyer. Otherwise, the agent who is selling you a house is really working for the seller, and is obligated to tell the seller whatever information he/she has "about you". Unless you have a Buyer Agency contract, do not tell your would-be agent anything that you do not want the seller to know, because he/she is obligated to pass along your information to the seller's agent and the seller during an offer presentation, and this is call sub-agency. Example: you want to make an offer but you tell the agent that you will pay higher. Without your having signed up that agent to represent "you", with a Buyer Agency contract, the agent "must" pass this info to the other side. Now: "where" does this leave you in the negotiating process? You are going to pay the higher price you indicated that you would, because you have removed that agent's ability to negotiate on your behalf to get you the best price. No contract, no representation, no agency commitment. Simple.
Although agents are instructed to get a Buyer Agency contract signed with a would-be buyer immediately upon meeting with the buyer and prior to showing any homes to the buyer, and is obligated to get the public to sign a document explaining agency: saying that they have read it and understand it, logic usually prevails, when it is a first meeting for both sides. The ideal arrangement is for the agent to "interview" with you before you look at homes, in an effort to establish several things, not the least of which is if you like each other and feel comfortable working together. Just as you can choose not to work with a specific agent, an agent can decide not to work with you, if the agent feels it just won't work out for all concerned, the agent should just say thank you and walk away. Perhaps you can be referred to another Realtor. Life happens. People are people and don't always "like" each other, much less feel comfortable working together.
SO! You Want to Buy a House. Do you QUALIFY? Are You Prepared?
Equally important is for the agent to understand that you do in fact "qualify" to buy what you would like to look at. No sense viewing homes, getting all excited, put in an offer, and then discover that there is no way you can complete your purchase. You will soon get discouraged if you try to buy without first knowing all the facts. The agent needs to ascertain from some financial institution proof that you do in fact qualify. Since this ultimately needs to be done, it is better for all concerned if the buyer has a written commitment that can be given to the agent before searching for homes. Otherwise the agent is wasting valuable time and the would-be buyers are working under a false pretense that they can buy a house when maybe they cannot. Also: the house has to qualify. The financial institution will ultimately have the final say by having an official appraiser overview your personal and purchase materials, including your offer to purchase. If you are buying with a very small down payment, the financial institution will want to be absolutely certain that you have not paid too much because if you default in a situation outside your control, such as you have lost your job or for many other reasons, and they find themselves actually selling your house, they want to be able to sell it for at least as much as you paid for it. With little money of your own into the transaction, and market volatility, they want to be sure "they are protected" if you just up and walk away.
The Realtor and You - Your Costs; Their Costs
Realtors sell houses for a living. For starters, no one pays to put gas in their cars, the cost of the vehicle and its insurance. Real estate agents are not taxi-drivers (well, there are some part-time agents who drive cab for a living but that is another subject), or City tour guides, although most agents are pleased to offer such service when required by someone new to the area. Much of a real estate agent's job description is administrative work, no matter how many assistants an agent has. A certain amount of communication can "only" be done by a licensed agent. A license is very expensive to acquire, along with the continuing education courses that an agent must take in order to keep a license active.
Agents must have all the accoutrements that run an office, just like where you work, privately: a computer, a fax machine, a photocopier, a printer (often more than one); some carry pagers, PDA's and laptops, instant messaging machines; digital cameras, virtual tours, air miles, marketing materials, advertising, web sites, and email ISP contracts; supplies of Board forms that each agent pays for, cartons of paper, printer ink and toner cartridges, often by the case. Secretaries, personal assistants, answering services, and other in-house salaried staff must be paid for, along with a sharing of commissions between each co-operating agent and their appropriate brokerage houses. Revenue Canada takes a share of every commission earned, and Canada Pension fees must be paid as well. Although gst must be paid and is collected on every commission earned, staff must be paid to fill out all the required reports. Hours, every day, must be spent searching the MLS systems for related information on your area. No one person pays an hourly rate to the agent for this type of work. It's just part of the whole package that the commission pays for.
Each agent must pay for mandatory insurance programs. Real Estate Boards and Provincial and National Associations charge massive fees for Realtors to belong to each one (mandatory participation), because they in turn have a business to run that requires that bills be paid along with the salaries of their related staff. Agents pay to run those associated businesses. Office rent has to be paid, and all the operating costs like hydro, heating, taxes and other related expenses just like you pay where you live and/or work. All these costs are supported and paid for out of the commission that an agent earns. It seems like a lot of money that the public pays, and it is. Usually you pay no money to a Realtor up front, so the agent fields all the expenses from his/her own pocket, often over a period of months, until such time as a pay cheque arrives, often many months after the consummation of a purchase or sale. Example: you buy or sell a house in February and you are scheduled to move in June. The agent can look forward to getting paid sometime in July, and must budget accordingly. When all is said and done after the sale or buying of a house, there is often very little left for the agent to spend on his/her own personal family needs. Although all sales commissions are deemed to be negotiable, due to the Competition Act and we are not permitted to discuss commissions among ourselves due to the fear of being accused of price-fixing, as with any sort of buying power, you always get what you pay for. Out of desperation the agent will sometimes agree to work for less, just to provide for his family a little bit for that one more month, hoping that soon he will make a "big" deal and make up any difference. Seldom happens. Some agents do work part-time, often when someone else in their family has a "real" job, and their commissions pay for personal pleasures such as family vacations. Many licenced agents are choosing to work as paid assistants to top performers, having their commissions totalled into the top producers' earnings, electing to be paid on a more regular basis, themselves.
Many would-be very good agents leave the business regularly as they figure out their "real costs" of being in the real estate business, when they discover that it is nothing like they imagined, and no one told them how expenses could ruin their lives before they even get started; kind of like student loans and start-up costs that other professionals have, that have to be paid back for years, before they start showing a profit in their own professional practice. It often takes a new agent about three years to start showing a real profit, if they are seriously into the business as producers, ones who are prepared to spend a lot of money initially up front to get their own name out into the marketplace.
Many agents are available 24/7, unlike in other professional practices, and they work very hard, often behind the scenes. The public has no way of knowing what is really going on as the agent tries hard to locate the perfect house for you, or the perfect buyer for your listing. In the up markets agents can earn a higher than average living, but in a down market there often is no income at all. A high percentage of listings never ever do sell, even though the agent has had the expense of carrying the listing and any related marketing costs. Even the costs for installing and removing signs is most often paid by an agent. Many do it themselves to cut costs. Some Realtors are fortunate enough to work in family teams, but when the production is divided among four or five family members, no one individual really has done a massive amount of business or has a lot to show for the hours invested, after all is said and done. The great Realtor works with plenty of kindness, patience and understanding, often needing to wear several hats at once, such as counselor, advisor, confidant, putting his/her own personal feelings aside in order to remain professional at all times, in all circumstances.
Finding the Right Realtor - Do You Know How?
Treat your Realtor right, and you will find that the person you have hired to "represent" you, will go to the ends of the earth for you and won't permit you to put yourself in any jeopardy, by giving you the best possible advice; sometimes the best advice is simply - take it to your lawyer. In a divorce situation for example, the Realtor, regardless of how he/she may feel, cannot "take sides", and must work with the real estate related "facts" only. No matter how many hours he/she has worked in a given day, a Realtor must always "keep his cool" and attend to the matters on the table; must be prompt and efficient and "do the job", because a "job" it is; usually his/her only one. So far as can be researched, a job where all the financial risk is borne up front for what can be several months, by the agent, with no cost to the public, if in the end "nothing happens".
Remember: your best investment in real estate is your choice of the Realtor you hire to "represent you". Many apply for the job you are offering. If you are selling, you will sign a listing contract with a Realtor to be "your" agent. If you are buying, be sure to sign a Buyer Agency Buyer Broker contract committing a Realtor to be "your" agent; know that they are working "for you". Ask "your agent" to spell it all out for you in clear language that you are sure you understand. Don't rush. Don't be afraid to ask questions. There are no dumb questions, except the ones that don't get asked. Allow at least an hour and maybe two to discuss your options. To do business in today's environment and protect your interests, agents cannot do their jobs in fifteen minute meetings. Permit them to do their job. Allow them enough time to work "for you".
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