All you have to do is look at the lawn signs in your neighbourhood to know that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Realtors to choose from in your area. In fact, in the GTA alone there are more than 56,000 licensed brokers and Realtors - so how do you find an amazing one? How do you find the one who will give it everything they have to help you buy or sell your home, and not leave any money on the table? Before you make this important decision, you should meet with at least two potential agents - whether you’re buying or selling, it’s essential that you find the right fit for your personality and needs.
Want some advice on how to find the Realtor of your dreams? Here are my best tips:
1) Ask open-ended questions.
Asking open-ended questions is a great way to get to know your agent, how they work, and what their niche is. People love to talk about themselves and their experience, and th
is will open the floor. What you want to find out is:
How long have they been selling?
A long career doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they’re the right person for the job, but knowing that they have a good track record is a great place to start.
How do they talk about past clients?
If they sound more like they’re talking about good friends than about ‘clients’, it’s a great sign - even better if they’re still in touch months or years after the sale! If they’re critical or shifting blame onto past clients, proceed with caution.
Are they both professional and likable?
You want someone who will represent you well, and who is also a ‘people person’. Can you picture them in a high-level professional environment, and also genuinely enjoy talking with and getting to know them? You’re on the right track!
Do you trust them?
Would you be comfortable literally handing this person the keys to your house? Do you feel confident that they’ll do their best for you, work hard and tell you the truth? If the answer to any of these questions isn’t a resounding “Yes!”, you may have some more looking around to do.
2) Get an idea of their selling skills
You’ll also want to get an idea of their selling skills. How many homes have they listed and sold in the last 6 months to a year? Good agents know their numbers. This question will also allow you to see where their strengths lie, whether in buying or listing - there really is no wrong answer, it’s just important to know that they are active and have their finger on the pulse of the local market.
It’s also a good idea to ask to see samples of their marketing pieces as it will give you an idea of what you can expect, and whether or not it seems like a good fit for your needs.
3) Location, Location, Location
Location is key - what areas do they work and live in? Are they familiar with the area where you want to buy and/or sell? If they seem like they’ve never set foot within a 10km radius, they may not be the right fit - but if they can name drop the barista at their favourite local cafe, point to the house they just sold two streets over, or even show that they’ve done their research and are ready to hit the ground running, they may be who you’re looking for.
4) Working hard or hardly working?
Does your agent practice full-time or is it something they do on the side? Are showings based on your schedule or theirs? In a hot market can they drop everything and show you that potential dream home? Everyone’s needs are different, and you should make sure that their schedule, reachability, and availability meet yours.
You don’t want to miss out on an amazing property because it’s your agent’s day off!
5) What’s the plan?
Whether buying or selling, your soon-to-be agent should have a plan. If you’re selling, what does the timeline look like, when can you expect open houses, when will it be live on MLS? What will they do to specifically market and sell your home?
For a buyer’s agent you will need to know when you’ll be looking at homes and how active they are at finding new listings. What connections and creative ideas they have to find you the right home, beyond the obvious sources? You want to make sure you are on the same page from day one!
6) Money Matters
Selling? Ask your agent how much the fees are, and whether they’re negotiable. Who pays for what, and with what conditions (if any)?
If you’re buying - how does your agent respond to your budget requirements? A good agent will understand your needs and provide you with sound advice.
Whether buying or selling, beware of the agents who look like they are in the business to make a quick buck. Great agents want to help and advise you.
7) Teamwork makes the dream work (sometimes)
Some agents have partners and teams with members who specialize in listing or selling. The agent listing your home might only list, and have an associate who will work with you on the buy. Most scenarios work out well, but the key is to know who does what and that you are personally comfortable with it.