Why using a Realtor to sell your home, is the only way to go ...

Let's assume you're one of the thousands of Ontario homeowners each year who've decided to sell their home. The decision is never arrived at lightly, and all the considerations as to finances, what is needed in a new home and where to relocate have been pondered.

The next big question is: how do you put your selling plan into action?

For best results, there is no doubt that the participation of a Realtor is an absolute must. The vast majority of residential homes are sold with the help of a Realtor and using a real estate professional has numerous advantages over going it alone.

First and foremost, Realtors are highly skilled individuals who must complete an extensive training regimen to receive a license. This program is designed by the Ontario Real Estate Association and includes not only an intensive in-class phase, but a two-year 'articling' process that further refines the Realtor's knowledge of the housing transaction.

Even more important than simply having the proper credentials, a Realtor's most valuable asset is the ability to meet your demands and look out for your best interests. In short, Realtors know how to sell your property at the best possible price.

To do this, they use a number of specialized skills and techniques.

A comprehensive knowledge of the housing market is perhaps the most powerful weapon in a Realtor's arsenal. A Realtor will assess your property and use a sophisticated comparative analysis to determine a fair and workable selling price.

This is only the first step. Once an initial estimate has been put forth, a Realtor will offer a number of valuable tips on how to increase your asking price and speed the sale of your home.

Often, minor repairs and fix-ups are all that are needed to make your home a top draw, but small renovations might also give you the competitive advantage. Your Realtor knows exactly what qualities buyers in your area are looking for and will advise you accordingly. A Realtor can also recommend and arrange a structural evaluation or home inspection to better position your home for greater selling power.

Your Realtor will help develop an overall 'marketing plan' for your property. This is the broad strategy that will be employed to expose your home not only to a maximum number of buyers, but to reach the specific kind of buyer that will be motivated to purchase your home.

Advertising in newspapers and real estate periodicals, television coverage, open houses for the public and other Realtors, and listing with the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) are among the options. Most Realtors will incur any costs associated with marketing your home as part of their service to you.

Once potential buyers have been located, a Realtor can make life a whole lot easier by pre-screening applicants before the time and effort is spent showing your home. This also entails separating the 'lookers' from the 'buyers' and finding out is an interested party is qualified to purchase at your asking price.

Once a suitable and motivated buyer is found, the often tedious and complicated negotiation process begins. Here, Realtors can be an immense help. They have been through this procedure many times and know the finer points of offers and counter offers. Indeed, many homeowners who do not use a Realtor get stung at this stage. It is certain a buyer will be armed with professional advice when money is being seriously discussed--a seller without a professional on his or her side will be at a distinct disadvantage.

Even more significant is the fact that having a Realtor as your negotiator keeps you at arm's length, greatly reducing the anxiety involved in selling and allows clear, objective decisions to be made.

Now that the price is set and the buyer is ready to close the deal, numerous legal contracts and financial arrangements must attended to. These can quickly overwhelm the average homeowner, but Realtors are adept at cutting through red tape and finalizing the sale with a minimum of fuss.

The bottom line is that a Realtor will be with you every step of the way. From making your home as attractive as possible and exposing it to the right buyers, to negotiating on your behalf and closing the sale, a real estate professional is the one person you shouldn't be without when selling your home.