Monday, May 25, 2009

Privately selling your house
By Jeffrey D. Cowan
Printed May 21, 2009

Q. I have sold my house privately without the assistance of a real estate agent and we had the lawyer for the purchasers draft an agreement of purchase and sale. It all seems fairly complex. How should I proceed?

A. The answer to this one is fairly straightforward. You need to consult a lawyer to review the document.

When you do so, you should point out any areas of concern that you either don’t understand or are out of the ordinary.

Now is probably a good time for me to chime in that you can save yourself money by not availing yourself of the services of a real estate agent but more often than not, they are worth every penny they are paid. They have experience marketing properties, making suggestions that will make your property more desirable and they generally have extensive relationships and referral options that you do not have at your disposal.

There is a movement away from the use of real estate agents with the M.L.S. online (one of my readers stated: “There are too many real estate agents driving around in luxury cars for the little amount of work that they do”). I couldn’t disagree more. Most realtors are extremely hard-working business people who are focused on getting the best price for their listing clients.

As I am sure you are aware, the real estate market is a volatile place. Your real estate agent is the best person to realistically value your property and hopefully enable you to sell and move onto that new house you have your heart set on.That being said, if you go the route of a private sale, have your lawyer examine the contract because real estate contracts are possibly the most binding of all legal agreements.

– Jeffrey D. Cowan is with Cowan & Taylor, Barristers & Solicitors. The info in this article should not be relied upon as legal advice.