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How To Choose A Real Estate Agent

by David Bico on 22 Nov 2022

Buying or selling a house is not a minor undertaking. There are many complex nuances when you choose the right real estate agent as a buyer, and having a good real estate agent can make a huge difference in terms of getting a good deal.

If you’re a first time buyer, or you just don’t know exactly how to choose a real estate agent for your real estate needs as a buyer, then there are a few general guidelines you can follow to make sure you don’t end up with a dud.

Keep reading to find details on how to choose a real estate agent in Canada, as well as information on what sets a good real estate agent apart from bad ones. Generally, it’s a good idea to be as informed as possible and be patient while choosing a candidate.

Finding The Right Realtor: Tips for Buyers

When searching for a realtor to help you buy or sell a house, you should focus on getting to know your potential realtor candidates. If you don’t thoroughly examine your options when looking for a senior real estate specialist, you might end up less than satisfied.

Have Your Affairs In Order

There are many ways that you can prepare to sell or buy a house. Being prepared with all the necessary info and all your bases covered can make choosing an agent much more stress-free. One of the most important things is getting preapproved for a mortgage.

A highly-qualified real estate agent won’t be interested in working with you if you have not yet qualified for a mortgage. After all, they won’t have any real idea of your best price range if you haven’t been pre-approved.

Knowing what you are looking for is another important factor. Investing in a new home is more complex than what you can afford, and understanding these subtleties goes a long way when selecting an agent.

Understand The Real Estate Transaction

Real estate can be very complex depending on the type of property you are buying and selling. The options at your disposal will depend largely on the local real estate market in your area, the local market for houses, and the local real estate agencies.

Understanding the home buying process will give you more insight into the pros and cons of certain agents and the agencies they work for. If you don’t have working market knowledge of how real estate transactions go down, then it’s harder to make good choices.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the local market when interviewing potential realtors. After all, you need to be confident that they know what they’re doing, and they should be prepared to prove to you that they do.

Be Prepared With A Plan

Whether you are buying or selling, knowing the proper approach is key. Do you have an investment property or a startup property? Are you interested in open houses? What are other similar properties going for in your neighborhood?

Even if you only have a vague idea of how to approach your real estate transaction, this will help immensely when you are trying to select a decent agent. Knowing what questions to ask will make a huge difference when you are screening candidates.

Know The Numbers

There are many statistics, metrics, and other numbers that can affect the value of your home. Good agents will have access to this data and should be able to run you through things like trends in local housing demand.

Things like sale volume, closing prices, how long it takes certain houses to sell, and which agencies managed to bring bids to the table are all pertinent information. You can ask for some of this information during the interview process to make sure your candidate is good.

Interview Multiple Candidates

It kind of goes without saying, but you should always speak with a few different agents before deciding which one is right for you. Making sure to get a feel for all the options in your area ensures that you aren’t jumping the gun with a less-than-stellar agent.

Ideally, you should try and interview as many agents as possible. However, this isn’t always realistic due to time and money restraints. However, even if you only get to check out two or three potential candidates, that should give you a general idea.

Get Them Talking About Themselves

The right real estate agent should be able to sell themselves to you. After all, they’re going to be selling your property (or negotiating a purchase with another agent). Getting them to talk about themselves should give you a good idea of what they have to offer in that department.

In particular, it’s important to ask your agent what they have to offer above and beyond what other agents do. A highly qualified and successful agent will be more than happy to answer this question.

On the other hand, if your potential candidate is sketchy or stumbling over themselves trying to describe their offerings, that’s a sign that they probably won’t be a good fit. A pleasant and forthcoming candidate is more likely to be a good agent.

Search Multiple Avenues

There are many different ways to find realtors. Not every right agent or company will list their services on every single service. This means that you should check multiple avenues (including online reviews) to find all of the options at your disposal.

There are internet ads, newspaper ads, or even billboards that will tell you about most agents available in your area. Exhausting all of these possibilities will ensure that you are exposed to everything you have available to you.

Ask for References

This one’s kind of a no-brainer but you would be surprised how often people do not bother checking references from past clients when it comes to other real estate agents. Even though the references they provide will be skewed in their favor, it still is a good way to get a general idea.

If you take the time to thoroughly check on all of the references provided to you by an agent, you should be able to get a good read on what to expect from them if you choose them to represent you.

Check Their Track Record

Aside from any references and pitches, a potential agent gives you during an interview, you should also be able to check their track record of past sales or purchases in order to get an idea of how good they are at their job.

The perfect real estate agent will be able to negotiate deals that benefit their clients, and should also be able to maintain fairness and professionalism during every step of the transaction process.

Be Wary of Friends and Family

If you have somebody in your family or friend group that works as a great real estate agent, you might be tempted to go with them as an agent to mutually support each other. It’s important to choose a knowledgeable agent based on their services, rather than because they are a family member.

Of course, there’s no reason that family members and friends can’t do good real estate agent work. The issue arises when you feel pressured into going with a friend or family member over another agent who may have been a better fit.

Steer Clear of Double-Ended Deals

A double-ended deal is when a real estate agent negotiates both sides of a transaction. This can create problems because it removes the adversarial balance from the deal. This can end up making things more expensive for both parties involved.

Depending on where you are in Canada, there may actually be laws in place to discourage double-ended deals for this exact reason. There was an exposé done by CBC back in 2016 that exposed some of the dangers of double-ended deals.

Good Real Estate Agents

Today’s market for real estate agents can be very saturated depending on where you live. If you’re looking to buy or sell a property in a busy city like Vancouver or Toronto there are likely dozens if not hundreds of agents available to you.

A good real estate agent must have the appropriate skills necessary for negotiating all of the different factors of a real estate purchase. Much of this process can be difficult to coordinate effectively, so it’s important to be able to tell a good agent from a bad one.

In general, traits such as honesty, likeability, straightforwardness, and creative thinking are desirable in a real estate agent. Conversely, awkwardness, ignorance, rigid thinking, and dishonesty are all definite red flags.

One of the best ways to judge these qualities in a potential agent is to grill them on their knowledge of the industry. Good realtors will be more than happy to speak at length about their qualifications, knowledge, and attitude toward buying and selling houses.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be prepared. Interview as many candidates as possible, and make sure to learn as much as possible about each one. Leaving stones unturned can end up hurting your chances in the long run.

 



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