Choosing a Realtor

Choosing the right realtor can help you get the right house at the right price. You want a real estate agent whose attitude and availability inspire your trust.

Start by seeing who’s most active in your neighbourhood. An agent who makes regular sales calls and keeps you informed of listings and sales in your area probably pursues business aggressively.

Set up appointments with a few agents from different companies and assess their presentations. Are they prepared? Have they done their homework in advance? Be sure to ask if the realtor is acting for a vendor, or for you. Work with someone you relate to, with whom you have some chemistry, and who offers excellent service and value.

Here’s a checklist of some questions to ask potential realtors before deciding who is right for you:

  • Qualifications
    • Ask to see a personal brochure or resume. Look for experience in your area, in your price range, and letters of reference.
  • Full-time realtor
    • Ask if this is their full-time career and whether they’re committed to it in the long term.
  • Track record
    • How many properties have they sold in the last three months? How many current listings do they have? What has their ranking been over the last five years? Where does their company rank in sales and market share?
  • Strategy
    • Ask how they’ll approach your home search. Will they only rely on MLS listings, or do they have other sources of homes to show you? Are they willing to change their strategy to adapt to market conditions?
  • Length of time for search
    • How long do they think it’ll take? What’s the average length of time in your area and in the current market?
  • Price negotiation
    • What’s the current selling price versus the asking price in your area and in the current market? Is their personal sell versus asking price better than average?
  • Support staff
    • Ask whether they have support people to assist in the process. This also gives you an additional points of contact should you need it.
  • Viewing appointments
    • Do they prefer to pre-book viewing excursions, or are they able to show you listings as they become available?
  • Affiliations
    • Do they have any special affiliations or packaged discount programs with other corporations that can save you money on your mortgage, moving costs, or on purchases for your new home?

Consider transportation, distance to work, and proximity to schools, daycare, recreational facilities, shopping, healthcare, and so on. If the listing realtor claims “10 minutes to downtown”, ask them to quantify with specifics.

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