Are you looking to buy or sell a home? If yes, then you're most likely on the lookout for a realtor who can best represent you. There are many ways to get into contact with a realtor, maybe from a referral of a friend, advertisements, or maybe even a licensed family relative. Still, it is always better to go through a selection process for your realtor instead of just relying on connections. Most especially when you are about to enter into a real estate transaction that would take emotional and financial investment on your part.
The first step you need to take is to confirm an agent's formal credential. After that, schedule an interview and prepare important questions to help you clearly understand what does a real estate agent do. Here are 6 tough questions you should make sure to ask your potential realtor.
1. Do you have experience in the type of property I'm buying or selling?
We all want full-time realtors who have long experience in buying and selling homes in the market. However, it's not just a matter of how long they've been in the game or which city or neighbourhood they focused on. You also need to consider the type of property they specialize in such as condo or detached, fixer-upper or brand new, investment or luxury homes. In most cases, the type of property would demand specific skills from your realtor to help you get a good deal.
2. How much do you charge for your services?
Make sure you don't skip asking this question, since there is no set commission rate for real estate agents in Canada. If you're the buyer, you shouldn't have to pay for the real estate commissions since it is the seller's responsibility to do so. Read the buyer's contract and discuss with your realtor to be certain if there will ever be a situation when you have to pay the commission. If you're the seller, you'd certainly want to discuss with the realtor how much you'll have to pay for their services. In most cases, realtors don't charge a flat fee but instead take a percentage of the home's final sale price which would be enough to cover the commissions of both the listing and the buyer's agent. Remember, cheaper isn't necessarily better. Ask what services are included. Be wary of getting dual agents and discount realtors, since you can't vouch that they have your best interests at heart and have the right skills to help you in the price negotiation and throughout the entire process.
3. How will you market my home?
Another important thing to ask about is the realtor's marketing or purchasing strategy for your home. This skill is very crucial especially in the fast-moving housing market in big cities. As a seller, you would need to know what will be your realtor's selling strategies. Do they use multiple listings system? How about social media marketing? Do they maximize the use of advertising such as flyers and newspaper ads? As a buyer, how would your realtor search for your new home? How would they handle multiple offers? Do they have access to exclusive listings? These questions would help you determine if a realtor would be good in representing you and help you gain an advantage in the competitive market.
4. Do you give buyer or seller guarantee?
Buying or selling a home doesn't always go according to the plan. Many things can go sideways through the process, like not selling a listed home in a reasonable time, market shift or even not liking your newly purchased home after a few months.
Ask the realtor what they do to help in such situation. Do they have written guarantees that if you don't like the house you bought with him or her, they'd help you in selling it without incurring more commission or what plan the agent has if your listing is stuck in the market for a long time. Having guarantees gives you peace of mind that the realtor has your back in less than ideal situations.
5. How and when do you communicate?
Communication is key for a successful real estate transaction. It needs to be two-way, the client should be able to express clearly their goals and needs for their home while the agent should be upfront on setting expectations on how often they'd be giving status reports and market feedback. In addition, a good agent would be flexible on the method of communication you prefer on how to keep in touch with each other. Your realtor should give you a clear picture on how they would represent your interests in the market. You'd probably also want to know how many other clients they are also working for aside from you since it would most likely have an impact on their priorities.
6. Do you have references?
An agent's reputation is everything. An agent with a wealth of experience and good reputation wouldn't hesitate to give you a list of names and numbers for you to call for reference. Advertisements and websites will only highlight five-star reviews, but a personal phone call would give you additional context on what the former clients have to say. When you call, remember that your goal is to determine if the agent is worth the commission they charge, and if they have the experience and expertise in the type of property you're looking for. An agent who is hesitant to give you contact info for refences might indicate past problem transactions.
These are just some of the important questions you shouldn't forget to ask your potential agent. Buying or selling a home will always be a major investment in your life, so you'd definitely want to get someone who will stand by your side and ensure you that you are happy with the transaction.
If you have any questions or need help buying or selling your home, I can help. You contact me at 647-834-9928 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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