When you have decided to start looking for a new home, one of the big first steps you can take is to find a real estate agent to guide you through the process. Everyone seems to know at least one or two realtors that are friends, family, or acquaintances, and a referral is also a great way to find an agent. However, you want to find the agent that is going to be best for you and your needs. It’s always a good idea to shop around when making any big purchase and finding a Realtor is no exception. Don’t be afraid to meet with and “interview” a few agents before making a decision. Here are some qualities and other things to look for in a realtor:
- Someone you like. Whether you are buying or selling, this is likely someone that you are going to be spending some time with. This shouldn’t be your only criteria obviously, but if you are searching for a home (which can take months), you could be spending several hours a week with this person and you don’t want to have to dread that time.
- Someone you can trust. The real estate industry, like most sales professions, leaves room for unethical behavior. While most Realtors act ethically, you want to make sure that you find someone that you feel like you can trust with one of the largest purchases you are likely to ever make.
- Someone that knows homes. Most real estate sales people are generally knowledgeable about the buying and selling process. I am often amazed at how many know very little about homes though. Having an agent that knows a little bit about the mechanics and construction of a home can save you thousands of dollars and provide a lot of insight into the purchase of a home.
- Someone that knows the area. When buying a new home, some people know exactly where they want to purchase. However, for the majority of people in a big city there are a number of viable options. Make sure your Realtor knows the different neighbourhoods in your city and can provide insight and advice on different options. There may be a great neighbourhood for you that you haven’t even visited yet, and a good Realtor should be able to give you some options.
- Someone that understands your needs and listens to you. Sometimes the goal of purchasing real estate is for financial gain. Sometimes you are looking for a home for your family. If you are looking for an investment, you are going to want to buy in an area with future potential. If you are looking for a home, you want to buy a lifestyle. Buying in the right area, can give you the lifestyle you want. Whether it means an easy commute to work, great schools for your kids, access to public transportation, or fantastic bars and restaurants that are convenient to home, everyone has different needs. Sometimes, it’s finding the right combination of all of those factors that gives the lifestyle you want. You will want to work with an agent that listens to you and your wants.
- Someone that can negotiate. When buying a house, you obviously want to get the best price possible. In a negotiation, there is the price of the house and there are the terms (closing date, what extras come with the house, the repairs that might be done, etc.). When negotiating a deal, there is a fine line to walk to get you the best price and most favourable terms, while also making sure that the seller is appeased enough to sell to you as well. In a successful negotiation, both parties should walk away pleased (but we think our clients are just a little bit happier ) You will want someone that is tough and fair and that you believe will truly stand up for your needs. Negotiations can be intimidating if you are new to the game, so make sure your agent will fight for you and always work with your needs in mind. You want to make sure that your agent is on your team!
- Someone with passion. It can be a hard thing to put your finger on, but I think we recognize passion when we look for it. When you are buying real estate, whether it’s an investment property, your first home, or your dream home, you want a Realtor that is passionate about what they do. Many real estate agents want to push the first place they find on you and get the deal done and go home with their commission. What you should really be looking for is someone that has the passion and the desire to take you through the process and make sure that they find the best place possible for you and your needs.