New study shows majority of Canadians aren't aware of changes that will affect real estate transactions

Considering buying or selling a home without an agent? What you need to know before taking on the real estate market

TORONTO, April 25, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Although most Canadians (97 per cent) who have bought or sold a home are aware of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), only one-in-ten (11 per cent) understand how recent changes to the MLS will affect when they buy or sell a home privately, according to a new poll commissioned by the TitlePLUS program.

MLS provides Canadians with access to listings for thousands of homes from coast-to-coast which, until recently, was only available with the full suite of services traditionally provided by a real estate agent. Recent changes allow people who are selling their homes privately to use a real estate agent only to get their property listed on the MLS system, while they handle all other details of the transactions directly.

The TitlePLUS poll showed that while three quarters (72 per cent) of Canadians were not aware of the changes made to the MLS, almost half (45 per cent) of Canadians say they would now consider using a real estate lawyer and selling privately rather than using a real estate agent.

"What these findings show us is that there is an appetite among Canadians to conduct the sale of their home privately," says Ray Leclair, vice-president, TitlePLUS. "But buyers and sellers alike need to recognize the limitations of going it completely alone because of the intricacies of the often perceived common transaction. Consulting with a real estate lawyer early on in the process can ensure that consumers' interests are protected and that they are armed with the most up-to-date information available."

Overall, Canadians recognize the value of advice and the importance of using a real estate lawyer with seven-in-10 Canadians seeing value in working with a lawyer. The lawyer's role will now become even more critical in consumer protection as Canadians consider going it alone when buying or selling.

Take for example the agreement of purchase and sale. Consumers who choose to go it alone privately need to ensure this document is drafted to protect their interests and reflects their views of what was agreed to between the buyer and seller - i.e., was that antique hutch included in the sale price or not? Lawyers can prepare or vet this agreement to protect their clients - either the buyer or seller -- and offer objective, expert advice and identify potential issues early in the process that may need to be addressed to prevent the sale of the home from falling through. Consulting a lawyer upfront also helps the parties understand the legal implications of the transaction and the role of the various players.

About LawPRO and TitlePLUS title Insurance
TitlePLUS title insurance is provided by Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LawPRO), an insurance company that is licensed to provide professional liability insurance and title insurance in most jurisdictions across Canada.

TitlePLUS title insurance is the only all-Canadian title insurance product on the market today. It protects home buyers and mortgage lenders under the same policy (and for the same premium) from title-related and other problems that could affect ownership or the marketability of the property, and covers the legal services provided by the lawyer closing the purchase.