In Canada, hiring a real estate agent is much more important than in the United States. This is because of a recent trend of recycled listings distorting our market.
Real estate agents have begun to pull their listings offline after they become stale, and then relist them for a reduced price a few weeks later.
That means that if you aren’t familiar with the market over the last year, you could end up paying more for a house than you have to, thinking that it’s a hot listing that will soon go off the market.
The right agent can be the difference between getting your asking price and walking away leaving money on the table or paying full price for a nine-month-old listing instead of cashing in on a seller’s desperation.
But not all real estate agents are created equal. Learn to select the best one, read on.
Do Market Research
Before you begin interviewing real estate agents, you should take the time to get your bearings on the local housing market. Drive around your neighborhood and consider the names on the for sale signs you see. Make note of the ones that say “Sold”, in particular.
Another way to find a high-quality agent is by popping into an open house especially if you are a seller. This can be a great way to see how other home sellers are pricing and staging their homes.
For buyers, going into an open house is a great way to find out about the personality and professionalism of a real estate agent.
Research Your Real Estate Agent
Before you hire an agent, you need to make sure you search them online. Look for any ratings, reviews, or references you can find about them. This person is a public figure in the community, so if there is little to no information available on their real estate activity, then this should be a red flag.
Read and find out what people in your area are saying about various agents, but more importantly, take a look at how the agents respond to their disgruntled clients.
An agent that is professional and cares about their business will take the time to address any negative reviews in a helpful and patient manner.
Interview Real Estate Agents
Walking into an open house and liking the real estate agent is nice, but if you want to be sure you have the best agent for your situation, you should interview multiple agents and ask them for referrals.
A good number of agents to meet with is three. You don’t want to settle for the first agent, but you also don’t want to waste your time with a bunch of interviews. Compare the responses the agents give to the following questions.
Questions to ask:
- Have you been in real estate long?
- Is most of your experience in buying or selling?
- How many clients do you carry at a time?
- Do you function as part of a real estate team?
- What kind of real estate do you specialize in?
- Are you equipt to handle short sales or the purchase of foreclosures?
- What tactics will you use to market my home?
Set Your Expectations
Real estate agents are very busy people who are constantly on the go. They have to handle appointments for showings, updating listings, stage homes, be present for inspections, handle closings, and more.
But that doesn’t mean that they are off the hook when it comes to handling your sale or purchase. Your real estate agent needs to be available to you and take the time to listen to your insights throughout the process to ensure you find the home of your dreams or sell your home for the best price.
As mentioned, agents are very busy. That means it’s very important for you to agree on when and how you will speak to your agent. Get on the same page from the start so you won’t be frustrated later in the process.
Make sure that your real estate agent understands your motivations to buy or sell. If you are on some sort of timeline or desperately need a specific price for your home, then they need to know that information.
Before you sign a contract with a real estate agent, you should agree on the strategies that will be used to sell your home.
Will there be open houses? How many showings are you willing to have a week? How much time will you need notification in advance of a showing?
All these factors should be considered in detail.
Consider the Other Roles of the Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent is not just the person who lists your home or finds one for you to purchase. They can also help you with staging your home so that potential buyers have an easier time envisioning themselves in it.
That means that your real estate agent should have an eye for interior design, or at least know the right person to hire to get the job done.
Your real estate agent will also play a role in the inspection process of your home. Make sure you choose an agent that is trustworthy. Some agent will act counter to a buyers interest to hide details about a home that are less than stellar so the sale doesn’t fall through.
You want an agent who will be upfront with you about any potential problems you could have in the future. They should be willing to take the time and energy to find you a home that meets all of your needs.
Thinking of Hiring a Real Estate Agent?
Hiring a real estate agent is a great way to speed up your home buying or selling process.
Are you ready to sell your home fast or purchase the home of your dreams for the best price? Contact us today.