You’ve probably seen the latest television commercial from the Canadian Real Estate Association – the one where a couple pulls into a sleazy motel late at night looking for a room. The motel clerk doesn’t believe that the couple are married, and then doesn’t believe that the reason they are getting a room is because they missed the closing date on the sale of their home. The skeptical clerk says sarcastically “Sure, your real estate agent missed the closing date. Right.” The couple then says, “We didn’t use an agent”, and everyone in the motel winces and says “Ooooh”
It’s a funny commercial, and is good for a giggle, but like most of the ads put out by the Canadian Real Estate Association, it is misleading, and aimed at scaring consumers into using real estate agents rather than selling their homes on their own.
In reality, a real estate agent has nothing to do with the closing date on the sale or purchase of a home. The closing date is agreed upon by the buyer and seller. On closing day, the only thing the real estate agent does is collect his or her commission for their role in the sale.
This information is from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation – as you can see, your lawyer, not your real estate agent, looks after all of the closing details on closing day.
- Once your offer has been accepted, there are just a few final details that have to be taken care of before the home is truly yours. On closing day (the day you take possession of the home), your lender gives your lawyer or notary all the money from your mortgage, and you give them all the money for your down payment, usually with a certified cheque. The lawyer or notary will pay all the fees and other costs for you, and send the money to the seller’s lawyer. Lastly, your lawyer or notary will register the house in your name, and give you the deed and keys to your new home.
The Canadian Real Estate Association wants consumers to think that selling a home is an incredibly difficult and dangerous process. Their previous advertising campaign pictures a couple’s home being swarmed by a SWAT Team because they had unwittingly purchased a home privately from someone who was involved in the drug cartel. If only they had used a real estate agent….wait a sec…nothing would have been different. Real Estate Agents don’t do criminal checks on prospective clients, or on buyers, and even if they did, the selling agent certainly wouldn’t disclose to buyers that the home they were buying was currently owned by a drug dealer.
What the Canadian Real Estate Association doesn’t want you to know is that selling your home, is just like selling anything else. You need to find a buyer, and agree on a selling price and conditions. That is all you need to do. The rest is up to lawyers. The lawyers makes sure the seller gets their money, and the buyer gets their home.
Now, Real Estate Agents do provide great services to lots of people who are not in a position to buy or sell a home on their own. I wish the Canadian Real Estate Association would promote the services they do offer in their advertising, rather than in fear-mongering, and trying to scare Canadians into using their services. And remember, if you buy privately, you could end up living next door to nudists!