For Sale by Owner Poses the Same Security Risks as Those Facing Realtors

Rachel in Real Estate Trends

The recent, tragic death of B.C. realtor Lindsay Buziak highlights the security risks that face those in the real estate industry.  My heart goes out to her family. As I was reading the ongoing coverage in the Globe and Mail, and other news sites, I noticed that other realtors had posted their own suggestions for methods of protecting themselves, but as I looked at RECO, TREB and VREB, I could not find anything relating to agent safety tips.  I certainly hope that this is part of their internal site offering, but it does make me wonder, what kind of access to resources do homeowners who are selling without an agent have?

This is top of mind for me as I recently heard through the grapevine that my neighbor is selling his home without benefit of a real estate agent.  He doesn’t think he needs one, he knows the approximate value of his house and he would rather advertise ‘word of mouth’ and see what he can get.  Both parties involved know that the price of the house can be approximately 5% lower to account for the lack of commissions and there is something liberating (for him) about not having to use an agent.

I decided to visit the property, just to get a sense of the deal, and I realized how vulnerable you are when you are letting people in to your home.  It occurred to me that one of the less touted, but highly valuable services that an agent will provide is dealing with the potential buyers so that you don’t have to.  When selling your house without an agent, you will have to arrange the showings and managing the parade of people through your door – it will be challenging not to leave clues about when you are alone, or when the house will be empty for long periods.   

For home buyers not using an agent, certainly take all the advice you can gather from realtors, and certainly do not show the house alone.  I certainly do not want to perpetuate negative female stereotypes, but I did notice that every single realtor who the media listed as being a victim of an assault or killed was female.  Ladies, please be careful out there.   

Rachel Loizos is an associate lawyer at Sotos LLP in Toronto. She practices in the area of real estate law.
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