1. How much does it cost to have a REALTOR help my buy my house?

Nothing! There is no fee associated with having a REALTOR help you purchase your home.

When a person lists their home with a real estate professional, they agree to pay that agent a commission for listing and marketing their home to potential buyers.

Commission rates vary depending on a number of factors, but in Winnipeg this commission rate hovers between 4%-5% of the sale price. The listing agent in turn will offer a portion of that commission (usually half of it) to any agent working with a buyer.

2. Do I save money working with the listing agent instead?

In most cases – no. In this scenario, the listing agent has already agreed on a set commission with the seller and would be entitled to keep both ends of the commission his or herself.

The net price you pay does not change, but you have had to do all of your prospecting yourself and in the end you did not have a professional working for you whose principle concern is your own best interest.

3. How much does it cost to sell my house?

There is no set or standardized commission when listing your house with a REALTOR. Different agents work on different rates, often depending on the breadth of services included in the listing agreement.

However, in the Winnipeg market rates are commonly found between 4%-5% of the total sale price depending on a number of factors – costs associated with marketing the property, services provided, expected time it will spend on the market, etc.

4. How soon do I need a REALTOR?

It’s never too early to start looking for a REALTOR to help you with your home search – if you’re going to be in the market in the near future, meeting with a real estate professional to get the process started and get some guidance is a good place to start.

Your Realtor can direct you to a number of resources to aid in starting your search – starting an MLS search, referring you to a financial institution for a mortgage pre approval, and many other steps are a great place to start the process before you ever set inside of a home that is for sale.

5. How much of a down payment do I need to purchase my first home?

In order to get a mortgage directly from a financial institution with no insurer, you will need 20% of the purchase price down initially.

However, because this is a lofty goal for many first time buyers, institutions such as CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) exist to protect lenders against mortgage default and allow consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% – with the inclusion of an insurance premium to the total debt associated with their home purchase.

6. Should I buy a house or condo?

It depends on what your needs are! Ownership of both carries a series of pros and cons and it is up to your Real Estate Professional to help you understand those needs are and guide you to the decision that makes sense for you.

A young couple, newly married, with dual incomes and two pets has very different housing needs from a single professional with no pets and limited spare time.

In the end, regardless of whether you choose a house or condo your REALTOR should be working to show you properties that will not only meet those needs but also be sound investments for your future.

7. How long will it take to buy a house or condo?

There is no clear answer on this as it depends on a number of factors – market activity, your budget, how open your criteria is in terms of the area you are looking or the size of home you seek, as well as how motivated you are to move.

In the Parkes Real Estate Team we have seen buyers decide on a new home in as little as a weekend to as long as a few years!

8. Why Work With a Team?

We believe in a strong team, and that the collective strengths of many outweigh those of the individual! Our team, especially being family based, is tight knit and each member brings different core strengths to the group whether it be marketing, market knowledge, experience in listing properties in a specific area or price range, condo purchases, etc.

When you work with one of us, you work with all of us, and we are all there to support one another with that collective knowledge.

9. What renos should I do to my house to prepare it for listing?

There is no set in stone rule of thumb for what to invest in prior to listing your house and your Realtor should always walk through your home prior to listing it to discuss its strengths and weaknesses in detail. Some will make sense to address prior to listing, others will not.  

However, the kitchen is often regarded as the best place to invest in for your home, and a fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive way to freshen up the look of your home.

10. Do I need to stage my home?

While staging is never necessary to sell a home, it may be recommended in certain cases where it is believed that the benefits of it will far outweigh the costs. Situations when staging might be appropriate include but are not limited to:

a) The house is vacant – buyers are notoriously bad at picturing what the house may look like as a “home”, complete with furniture, rugs, and all the things that make endearing and livable.

b) The house has a unique layout or quirky characteristics – sometimes a professional staging by an interior designer can make the most out of a unique space and let purchasers viewing the home view it at its greatest potential.