In November of 2016, Jessica and Wayne were thinking about purchasing their first home together. While they were excited at the prospect of moving in and having a place to call their own, they admit they weren't certain about how to get things started.
"I remember it all happened really fast and neither of us really understood the process," Jessica explained. "Now that I work in real estate, looking back, there are so many things I would've done differently."
While the couple ultimately was happy with their home purchase, Jessica admits that there were a lot of ways things could have gone wrong, due to the fact that they didn't have a buyer agent working with them and looking out for their best interests.
"When we started looking for a house, we thought that we would save ourselves money by not using a real estate agent. We didn't realize at the time, which I think a lot of first time buyers still don't realize, that the seller pays both agents and there's no cost to us as the buyers."
The couple started their hunt by looking on Google, Realtor.ca, and Zolo, unassisted by a real estate professional, and when they found properties that were for sale and seemed to fit their wish list, they simply messaged through the websites to set up showings with the listing agents.
"I think a lot of people still do this today and it makes me sad because people don't understand that the listing agent is working for the sellers. They are trying to ensure their clients get the top dollar for their home. So by calling that same agent to show you the property as the buyer, even though they can legally facilitate both ends of the deal, unless you get the most honest REALTOR® in the world, it's going to be really hard for them to fairly represent both sides."
And having a buyer agent on your side is not only handy when it comes to negotiations, it's also helpful because they have knowledge that can assist you during the buying process.
"We were young and admittedly a bit naïve. We were only looking at what we wanted in a house, not necessarily what we needed. We didn't have the expertise to recognize all the potential red flags in a home. If we had worked with a buyer agent, who was dedicated to specifically helping us find the best property, we would have felt a lot more confident with our purchase."