10 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A REAL ESTATE AGENT
2017-06-21 | 10:24:51
So you’re ready to buy a home? Or looking to sell your house?
Though you could buy or sell a property privately, a real estate agent can bring many things to the table – here are some of reasons for considering using their services when either selling or buying a property:
So the first step is to hire a knowledgeable real estate agent that can guide you through the process – one you’ll be comfortable working with and who’ll get the job done. But with thousands of real estate professionals in Ontario, how do you pick the one that’ll meet your needs?
It’s always a good idea to meet with at least two or three different real estate agents before selecting one. It’s surprising how different their approach can be to buying or selling a home. Always ask trusted friends, family and co-workers to recommend a broker or salesperson they have successful worked with in the past.
When you have your shortlist of representatives ready, consider asking the following questions to help determine who will be the best fit:
- What is their experience in the Real Estate industry? Experience is about more than how many years they’ve been in the business:
- What types of properties do they typically work with?
- Which neighbourhoods in your city or town are they focused on?
- How many homes did they help buy or sell during the past year?
- What is their approach to the selling process – if you’re putting a property on the market for sale?
- Ask what you can expect during the selling process. You’ll want to find out how the representative will market your property to help attract prospective buyers.
- You want an agent who will work hard to make the listing stand out to buyers online, in print, and in person.
- How do they reach their recommended list price?
- The best agents will do their homework and come up with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that is based on your needs and local real estate trends.
- Through a CMA, prospective representatives can explain how the property measures up to other homes that are currently for sale or recently sold in your area.
- You'll also get a sense of how long homes typically take to sell and the expected price range.
- How many other clients are they working with at this time?
- While there is no right or wrong answer to this, it’s a good gauge of how much time the representative will be able to dedicate to your property or search.
- What is their commission breakdown?
- In Ontario, commissions can be a flat fee, a percentage of the sale price, or a combination of both. However the norm is a percentage of the sale price, usually in the 5-6 percent range but it can be as low as 4%, with the seller paying both the selling and buying agent’s commission.
- Sometimes a higher amount is committed to the selling agent as an incentive to show and sell that particular property.
- Commissions and fees vary between brokerages and services providers, so you will want to be sure to understand what services they will provide and what they will cost:
- It's important to discuss your particular needs with the prospective representatives to ensure they are able to provide the services needed. Understanding exactly what services will be provided and having them documented in the written contract, will help avoid any misunderstandings later.
- How will they keep you updated?
- Will the representative provide updates regularly or will it be on an as-needed basis?
- Will they be available via phone, email, and/or text messaging?
- What hours do they keep? Will they be available in the evening or on weekends?
- How do they track online activity for the listings?
- A new listing normally will get three times the traffic in its first week than in any week after. You want an agent who will track online activity and keep you updated on how the property is performing.
- Do they have any online reviews you can reference or clients you can speak to?
- Every agent has clients he or she served well in the past, but the best agents consistently deliver excellent service. What references do they have available?
- Do they work with anyone else who handles administrative tasks like paperwork, open houses, appointment setting etc?
- An agent often has a support team to help, but the agent you hire should be hands on and do most of the work themselves. Understand how much interaction you can expect to have with the agent vs. their support staff.
- Do they work on their own or are they part of a sales team? It’s possible that the person you meet with isn’t the person that will serve as your day-to-day contact. Before committing to a representative get it in writing who your primary contact from the brokerage will be.
- How many days do their listings take to sell – specifically in the current housing market at this time of year?
- Homes that are priced right and marketed to the right buyers will sell fast, so days on market is typically a good indicator of an agent who is great at his or her job.