The idea of "going local" has gone from being a trend to an essential value in many people's lives. From shopping for local produce to supporting local artisan shops, the benefits may seem obvious, but they also tend to have a deeper effect for the purchaser (not just the seller). The local movement isn't just for shopping for farm-fresh veggies and that handmade cutting board, it's also an important factor when it comes to buying and selling real estate and whether to use a local agent or non-local agent.
While it may be appealing to use a real estate agent from outside of the city you are looking to buy or sell in, there are some key things you'll want to consider before making a decision.
Selling With a Non-Local Agent:
To the general public, Realtor.ca is considered the go-to resource for finding properties for sale. However, did you know that outside of the public eye there are many real estate boards throughout Canada that are visible only to agents?
Another fact that many sellers don't know is that most listings are sold or purchased by other local agents, within their own board. What that means is that when agents from a different real estate board (for instance, Toronto) list a property from, say London, on their own board, it's now out of sight of the local agents in London and all the multiple clients (buyers) they represent. So, if you are listing your property with a non-local agent, it will be invisible to your largest audience (the local community of real estate agents and their clients of the city you are selling in).
Working with a non-local agent also affects communication when it comes to viewing a property.
Let's say you are selling your home in London but the listing is represented by an agent in Toronto. H
First off, I (the local real estate agent) don't have access to the listing on the local real estate board (remember, listings are only visible to the city where the real estate agent is registered - so in this case, although it's a London listing, it's not visible to any London agents). Because of this, the only way the listing is found for people in London is if they are searching on Realtor.ca. So, let's say I have a client looking on Realtor.ca and they see your London listing and want to see it. The only way to contact the agent listing the property is for me to email them a request to give me permission to show their property. They then get back to me and say to contact their office to arrange the official request for showing the home, which I do.
Once a viewing is arranged, we are told that when we arrive at the property we are to text the listing agent and they'll give us the lock box code. But, guess what? We get there and text but don't hear back and are left stranded outside of the property, waiting to get in (not a great first impression!). While we are waiting, we decide to at least scope out the outside of the property and realize that the back door is unlocked. So, not only is the listing agent not there in person for the showing, the house is unsecured and anyone (including thieves) can enter without anyone knowing. By the time they text back with the lock box code and a million apologies for being late, we've already had a negative experience.
So, the major downside aside from your listing not getting the level of visibility it would get with a local agent is that the non-local agent isn't there to show the property, talk people through the features and really "sell" the place in person...or make sure that everything is in place for the next showing (including making sure that the house is locked properly).
In the next blog post, we'll take a look at why buying with a local real estate agent is equally as important.