Top 7 Topics!…Sorry Top 6 Topics You Have Always Wanted to Ask your Realtor

Buyers and Sellers have tons of questions and issues about certain topics in the Real Estate Process, but quite often are afraid to ask. I had the top 7 Topics compiled but 1 of them was based too much on the US market and it really doesn’t apply here!

A home sale can feel like a one-sided process. Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, it’s hard to get feedback on what could be going wrong or right from the other side. (Do buyers really care about your bright yellow siding? Exactly how many other offers were on the table before yours was accepted?) Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall during your own Open House or in the Negotiation Process of a multiple offer situation?

These topics, issues questions and comments have been compiled from some research and my own thoughts about the market and what people outside of the real estate industry think. 

1. The agent’s commission is negotiable

Many people believe that the real estate commission is always 6% or maybe 5% (depending on where you are), split 50/50 between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent (with a small % going to the 2 brokerages involved). Although this is the case in many deals, it’s not the hard and fast rule. Many agents and Brokerages establish a benchmark commission rate and a seller may negotiate the percentage prior to signing an agreement based on the services provided. Not all Agents, Realtors or Brokerages are created equally and so many of them offer different or value added services in order provide the best or most needed value for their clients or customers, Some will clean and stage your home and others provide fantastic and well produced walk through virtual tours and stunning photography to compliment their marketing efforts. make sure you understand the complete set of services you are receiving. On the surface you may be saving $1,500 in commissions but losing far more on the overall price / value because buyers are not seeing the additional value in your home or not getting your home exposed to as many qualified buyers as possible.

Meanwhile, buyers don’t need to concern themselves with this figure, since buyers don’t pay real estate agents. Sellers pay agent commissions from the proceeds of the sale. So if you’re a buyer, unless you’ve fallen in love with a FSBO (for Sale By Owner) home with owners who don’t want to work with a buyer’s agent, there really is no reason to go it alone — it won’t cost you anything to engage the services of a real estate agent.

2. Your house smells bad

If you have pets, most real estate agents probably have no qualms about letting you know when animal scent is detectable. But if your house has an unmistakable musty odour, smells like the fish you cooked last night, reeks of stinky garbage, or houses a fridge that would make you want to back away quickly, it’s an awkward topic to bring up. Although an open box of baking soda can freshen up a smelly fridge, it’s never a bad idea to throw out moldy food and wipe away those meat juice spills (ew). When you toss rotten food into your garbage can, besides changing the bag before buyers come over, put a sachet or tea bag in the bottom (you can make an easy sachet from baking soda placed in a coffee filter and then tied up).

Home owners rarely notice their home’s distinct aroma, but guests do!!

Febreeze has a great ad that clearly states “the things you have gone nose blind to!!” Airing out your home is good for the sale and it might also be good to see what else needs a little bit of attention throughout the home.

3. Your house is messy

There’s nothing wrong with loving that your houses feels “lived in.” But potential buyers probably won’t think it’s charming that you drape your gym socks on the bed. Once they spot a messy room, they might head for the door before looking around. Instead of suggesting that their clients pick up, many real estate agents will clean a home that is going to be listed for sale themselves. Back to Point # 1 Agents or Realtors will often establish a service level which may include a house cleaning or steam cleaning of carpets, tiles and hardwood floors. This is a very sensitive issue and needs to handled carefully and with the utmost tact

4. The agent has little control

To get your listing, a real estate agent might tell you they can sell your house fast, and they might. But they can’t really predict or control how fast your house will sell. Having an agent that has a clear understanding of current and more immediate market conditions will go along way to help addressing this issue. What you can do before hiring an agent is ask how long it takes their listings on average to sell. Compare that with other area agents, and you’ll eventually find a winner. If the market is active then it may be a short period of time but make sure you know that before moving forward. Price can strongly affect how quickly a home sells in any market

5. People are petty over Refrigerators (and Stoves and sometimes dishwashers)

A good negotiation leaves both sides feeling as if they’ve won and lost something. But when it comes down to the wire, one side might wish to one-up the other … if they can. And this often happens with refrigerators (and Stoves and sometimes Dishashers). Why? Because this appliance often falls into a grey area regarding whether it stays in the home as part of the sale process or goes with the seller. The best course of action is to specify in your purchase contract whether the refrigerator stays or goes. If you verbally change this, make sure the change is noted in the contract.

Take what happened with  real estate agent: “One time, I was the listing agent of an amazing architectural home that had a really old side-by-side refrigerator that looked out of place.” The buyers said they would replace it, so the seller took it. The catch? The contract stated the fridge would go to the buyer, and the agent did not make the change in writing. “The buyer’s agent started screaming when they found the fridge was gone. So the buyer’s side demanded a $2,500 holdback (for a $250 fridge). The seller returned the refrigerator instead.” Moral of the story: “Small issues can become big issues without compromise and clarity in the contracts.”

7. You can’t afford this house

A real estate agent can help you buy a house, but they can’t make a deal happen if you aren’t prepared from a financial perspective. Remember, real estate agents aren’t miracle workers. And it’s not a real estate agent’s responsibility to set your budgetary limitations.

  • Keep a good credit score
  • save for the cost of closing the deal
  • and search for homes that you can truly afford


At the end of the day, anyone looking to buy or sell a home should research who is the best candidate to work with. This is a major process and should not just be given to your Aunt, Nephew or Drinking Buddy because they have a license. I am certain most people wouldn’t do this in other aspects of their life so why do it with your largest Purchase or Sale. There truly are a myriad of details that need to be addressed at every stage of the process that if go unchecked or unaddressed can potentially cost every one a great deal of unexpected money.  That is a sure fire way to ruin that next family get together.

As in any other undertaking to accomplish a goal, you are hiring a professional to assist you through every stage the process and mitigate your risk, make sure you select the person that can explain to you how best to do that. Remember they are working for you! 



RE/MAX JAZZ Inc. Brokerage

21 Drew Street, Oshawa, Ontario L1H 4Z7

(905) 728-1600 Office  or (905) 435-7355 Direct

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