Why Realtors Are UsefulI’m of the generation that knows next to nothing about buying a home. In high school CAPP (career and personal planning) class we learned not to submit résumés on fluorescent pink paper (something, I’ve learned, they encourage in university co-op programs). In math class, we applied algebraic formulas to arbitrary scenarios about cement trucks or airplanes when we could have been applying them to mortgages, something we would realistically need in the future. I hear they’re changing this now and high school students are actually learning about banking and mortgages, things they’ll need later in life. For everyone in my generation, this series is for you.

I’m going to start with a potentially controversial topic: Why Realtors® are useful. I’ve said it before: using, or not using, a Realtor is your personal choice, and whichever you go with is a fine one. Personally, I use a Realtor. Here’s why.

·         At one point in my life I worked two jobs and went to school full time. I don’t anymore, thank goodness, but I still work full time, have a dog and significant other to look after, have friends and family to keep track of, and play on a hockey team. I also like sleep and occasional down time. I’d rather not spend my spare hours sifting through MLS or attending open houses. This is why Realtors are great – it’s their job to sift through the pages of listings and preview the homes that may be suitable for you. Realtors save me time.

·         Closely related to this is the fact that Realtors have access to other Realtors. Through this widespread Realtor network they find out about listings that haven’t gone on the market yet. This could get you a head start to investigate the details about the property and neighbourhood before writing the offer.

·         When you take a day to tour homes you’re interested in, your Realtor will drive you. This gives you the opportunity to focus on the area in comfort with complete attention rather than trying to find the property on your own.

·         I was recently interested in a house and asked my Realtor to take a look at it. Within the hour he responded with an email with concerns about the property for reasons I hadn’t thought of: possible oil tank in the yard, septic (the house wasn’t on the city’s sewer system), knob and tube wiring. The asking price was also high for a property with so many possible issues. It also had been listed for an extensive period in a market where houses typically sell within a week or so. An experienced Realtor can spot problems in the property you may miss, and can advise you on market value.

Basically, it’s a Realtor’s job to know things you don’t about the market, about the property, the market, and especially explaining in detail the extensive paperwork and strategies involved in purchasing or selling a property. I never learned this stuff in school. This is why I use a Professional Realtor.
 -- Sarah Mah
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When I was younger and the Vancouver housing market not quite so scalding, the truly intelligent among us drained their bank accounts in order to put a down payment on a home, choosing to pay monthly mortgage payments rather than monthly rent payments.  The logic in this choice was infallible .  The payments were very often similar, depending on where or what you decided to buy or rent, and while the initial mortgage pre-approval process was stressful – not to mention the sudden lack of funds after the down payment – it was all well worth the result of eventually owning your very own piece of property.

Now, however, this logic is less certain.  Housing prices are up, making that original down payment substantially larger and increasing monthly mortgage payments as well.  As well many investors who purchase homes don't necessarily live in them, increasing the number of rental units available. 
The ruleVancouver House for Sale of supply and demand dictates that rent prices, therefore, should hold steady, if not decrease.  And of course, looking at the current prices of homes in Vancouver, one can't help thinking that – despite market experts making predictions to the contrary – this is a peak and prices should fall to more reasonable standards.  And even if the experts are right and the market will continue its upward climb, I wonder how much higher it could realistically go. Yet BC's population continues to grow through migration from the rest of Canada and the world.

The market will always have some degree of unpredictability but the way things are looking now it may be worth some second thought when deciding to rent or own in Vancouver’s real estate market. Yet the question remains, what is the likely future scenario? And as a tenant, the landlord could always sell the home, meaning a move that was not part of your plan.
 
- Sarah Mah

 

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