Selecting Your Real Estate Agent – Things To Look For
Once you’ve decided to sell your home, it’s time to begin the search for your Realtor®. Spend as much time as you need to find the ideal person that is knowledgeable and that you feel comfortable working with. This is an important decision, so don’t be tempted to rush through the process.
A good place to start is by driving around your neighbourhood and finding real estate agent’s names on “For Sale” signs. Take those collected names and go online and do a bit of research. Look at those Realtors® listings to see if there are properties similar to yours in price and locale being marketed. You prospective agent should have an informative, easy to use website. Many prospective buyers head right to the computer to do their house-hunting. Check out local magazines and newspapers to see which agents also use print media to advertize.
Pick several of the agents and sit down with each one, asking questions about how they would approach selling your home. What type of promotions do they use, how much time do they commit to a sale and how many open houses are normally set up are all valid questions. Ask about current listings and how the sales are going. Does the realtor already have so many listings that maybe he is stretched too thin? Does the realtor specialize in a certain type of property, perhaps the high-end market? If your home is not in that niche, will that realtor devote enough time to a less expensive sale?
Ask each agent for an estimate on what they would list your home for based on the average selling prices and sales prices on similar homes in your neighborhood. They should provide this even if you don’t hire them on the spot.
The Realtor® should be asking you a number of questions as well. Some of the more important ones include why you are selling the home, and how soon you want to sell. Questions about your financial situation are also pertinent. The agent should explain the selling process thoroughly, take a first-hand look at your home and give you some hints on improving your home’s appearance and salability.
Sometimes when you meet someone you know right away that you will work well together. This often happens when a Realtor® meets a client for the first time. Take the time to find someone that has all the right answers, is personable, likeable and is easy to work with. It will make selling your home a more pleasant, and perhaps even more profitable, experience.
Full Time REALTOR® Compared To Part Timers
You’ve made your way to Edmonton, have a great job and after a year in the rental market have decided to take the homebuyer plunge. The first bit of sleuthing you have to take care of is finding a great realtor. Finding listings in the phone book or popping into the first available real estate office are not necessarily the wisest choices. Consider some of the following items before deciding which agent is best for you.
A real estate agent doesn’t follow the normal 40 hour work week. Rarely does an agent arrive at 8am and leave by 5pm. Days are filled with meeting clients in and outside the office, checking out listings and taking care of necessary paperwork. It is a competitive business so generally the more you work the more successful you will become. In a field such as this the line between full time and part time is somewhat blurred.
Rather than focusing on hours worked, looked for an agent that is organized, has excellent one-to-one communication skills, is available to clients a good part of the time and specializes in the market you are interested in.
Best Places to Find and/or Meet Prospective Agents
Are there any open houses in your area? This is where you’ll get to see an agent in action. Most agents know that open houses often have benefits beyond a home sale, so don’t worry if you’re not at all interested in the property. Talk to the agent; ask about experience, track record and availability. Do you get along? Personality clashes make for a poor working relationship.
Ask a family member or friend for a referral. If they’ve gone through the process and have had a positive experience, chances are this is an agent that is worth checking into. Still, do your own face-to-face interview. Also check out the online presence of agents you are considering. Do they have a website and are they versed in communicating via modern technology?
Ask about work load. Busy is great, too busy not so much. Real estate agents can only realistically help half a dozen buyers at a time, and about double that for sellers. If your agent is sending you to an assistant, that agent is too busy to take good care of you. And as far as that buyer’s agreement, don’t put pen to paper until you’ve looked at a few properties. If the agent balks, move on to someone who gives you the freedom and space to make up your mind.
Sometimes You Just Have to Change REALTORS®
It happens. Despite doing your homework once in a while you find out after the fact that you and the selected agent are not a good fit. Perhaps your agent is late or even missing appointments. Perhaps they just seem not to care, or an unforeseen personality issue arises. Good agents ask questions about budget, pre-qualification, the type of property you are looking for and what neighbourhood you prefer. Good agents actually listen to the answers and show properties that fit those parameters, and have explanations for going outside those preferences.
Hopefully you will have noticed these inconsistencies early on. Either way, it’s sometimes better to exit the agent-client relationship. Make sure you get everything in writing. Take a breath and then go out and look for someone else to work with. Take heart, your bad experience will give you a heads up on what to look for the next time around.