How to Find the Best Realtor When Selling (or Buying)
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. When you’re ready to buy, finding a real estate agent with experience who can guide you through the process is key.
With so many real estate agents vying for your business online, in print and with yard signs, finding the right person for the job can be overwhelming. Here are tips on how to find a real estate agent and make sure you hire the perfect pro for your purchase.
Ask Friends of Family for Referrals
Ask people in your network for a referral to a real estate agent with whom they’ve had a good experience. Ideally, you want someone who has worked with clients like you in the past. For example, first-time buyers have different needs than repeat buyers or homeowners looking to downsize.
Make sure you understand the difference between buyer agents and seller agents. A buyer agent represents a homebuyer in a real estate transaction, while a seller or listing agent is responsible for the seller’s side, including pricing and marketing the home and negotiating the terms of the sale.
Do a Little “Digging” on the Realtor
Start by checking an agent’s online presence. Look at the agent’s website and social media accounts. Check out their reviews, too. Don’t let one or two negative reviews scare you off, but more than that could be a sign to keep looking for another agent.
When you’re looking to buy or sell a home, it’s smart to know what your rights are and what you can expect from your realtor. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is a good source for information on buying, selling, strata rules — and news about any realtors who’ve had their license suspended.
It’s helpful to check real estate listings on the Internet and see what properties are selling, and which ones have had price reductions. You can sign up with an agent to provide you with weekly listings, and then keep tabs on the market, the pricing, and the number of sales.
A good realtor will add you to the email list so you can check on this and chart the market performance. Be aware that a realtor may not provide you with weekly reports according to your needs: If you want to know exactly what’s going on in an area or neighborhood, stay informed.
Narrow it Down, and Interview Them
When interviewing agents, try to get a sense of their style and experience. Ultimately, you’re looking for someone who is familiar with a particular area and understands your budget and needs. The more effort they put into a presentation for you, the more effort they’ll put into presentations when they’re working for you. You want someone who is really savvy.
When meeting with a real estate agent, ask how long they’ve been in the business and how many clients they work with at any given time. Ask about their typical commission fees and whether there are extra charges for additional services. Also, inquire about the average price range of homes they typically help buyers find, how many days on average it takes to close on a home and what areas of town are best for first-time buyers.
An interview will also help you understand the agent’s preferred method of communication and their availability. For example, if you tend to text a lot and expect to visit homes after work hours during the week, you’ll want an agent who’s happy to do the same.
Always Trust Your Gut
Just as important as an agent’s knowledge and experience is their ability to guide you through the process. Above all, go with an agent you trust will help keep things on track if the road to closing gets a little bumpy.
Like dating, it can just come down to chemistry. If everything checks out but you don’t vibe with that person, don’t go with them. There are plenty of other real estate agents out there who will be happy to help you and might be a better personality fit.
In today’s competitive housing market, it’s important to find a real estate agent you like, trust and feel comfortable with. You want someone who can help guide you through the process and look out for your best interests. The more experience a buyer’s agent or seller’s agent has with a certain area, the better they will be able to map out a course for finding the right home for you at the right price within your timeline and budget.
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