Park benches, mass-mailed note pads, magnets, bus shelters – it seems everywhere you look there are advertisements for not one, but dozens if not hundreds of different real estate agents. In a world where we are truly spoiled for choice, it can be hard to know what to look for in a real estate agent so that you pick the right one for you. This article will provide some green flags and red flags to help make that decision easier with what to look for in a real estate agent.
Recent Clients’ Reviews: Take a look at the agent’s recent clients’ testimonials. There are many ways to find these online, including the agent’s website, or you can ask the agent to send you some client testimonials. This should give you a good sense of the real estate agent’s capabilities as well as rapport with clients.
The Agent’s Experience: When figuring out what to look for in a real estate agent, do not forget to inquire about how long the agent has been in business! An agent that has been in the business for only five years is still relatively new to the game and will be learning and growing with you. For some that is fine, for others, they would prefer someone with experience, especially for complex or high-end transactions.
The Agent’s Current Listings: There are two easy ways to look up an agent’s listings. The first is by using a third-party website like Realtor.ca and the second is the agent’s personal website. The main thing to look out for when looking at the agent’s site is an easy to read and attractive design. This shows a strong sense of professionalism while learning about the agent’s personality.
When looking at the listings on their website, pay attention to the type of properties and their locations. The more they mirror your desires the more likely you will be in the hands of an expert in your area. Also, pay attention to the number of listings they have – too many and it is possible it will take a lengthy amount of time to get back to you, too few and there are indications of an unhealthy business.
The Agent’s Professional Awards: Ask your potential agent if they have been recognized with any awards. Peer-given awards hold a lot of value as it is a huge endorsement for colleagues to nominate someone that stands out in their field. Think of it like client reviews but with a professional view in mind.
The Agent’s Knowledge Of The Area: Ask your potential agent about a recent property that sold in the neighbourhood you are looking for. If the agent knows of the property and can provide some details that is a good indication that they are well versed in the market of the neighbourhood. An agent may tick all the above boxes, but if their specialized neighbourhood is on the other side of the city, chances are they might not have as strong of a grasp of your neighbourhood as you would like.
The Agent Suggests A Price For Your Property Well Above The Others: When receiving a listing presentation for your property, remember that all agents who present to you possess the same information about the property. If an agent provides a substantially higher price it will potentially make your home harder to sell as buyers may think it is too costly for the neighbourhood or market. The longer your property is on the market, the more likely people will think something is wrong with it.
The Agent Charges You A Lower Commission: At first, this seems counter-intuitive, a low commission means more money for you in your pocket. However, if this is the main goal in their pitch, or among the main advertising points by the agent, it can be indicative of a lack of experience or reduced services. Commission rates should not be the first thing you look for.
The Agent’s Work Is Not Usually In Your Price Range: Every agent has their own cache that sets them apart from others. Some focus on first time buyers, others focus on specific neighbourhoods, or on specific types of properties. If your agent focuses on a specific neighbourhood in a higher price bracket and your property does not fit the exact criteria, they might not be able to help you the way an agent who typically deals within your budget could.
This is not an exhaustive list of what to look for in a real estate agent, but it is hoped that this will provide a good guideline of what to look for and what to watch out for when choosing the right real estate agent for you. Happy house hunting!