How To Choose A REALTOR®
Don't just pick anyone! Choosing a realtor that will work hard for you can involve some strategic thinking. Find out how a good realtor can make a difference.
Are you searching for your first house? Are you unhappy with the real estate agent that you’ve used in the past? Have you moved to a new city and looking for another home? If you’re like many people, you’ve driven around your city or town and found some homes that interest you. You’ve looked at the newspaper ads, and maybe you’ve checked out the website that shows all the MLS listings – www.realtor.ca
One thing’s for sure…you will definitely need a real estate agent. And it’s as easy as asking friends or family to recommend someone, or picking a face out of the newspaper. Or you are starting to recognize names from the For Sale signs on the streets. Go ahead and call any of the recommended realtors. Or choose someone out of a sea of faces in the newspaper. Or phone someone whose name you recognize. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? Tell them a bit about what you are looking for, or give them an address for a home that you’d like to see. Some realtors will ask if you’d like to see some other homes that may fit your search criteria. Some realtors will just line up a showing for that one particular place and leave it at that. A good realtor will ask you what you are specifically looking for, and then recommend a few other places that you may want to see.
You will know almost right away if you’ve chosen the right agent. You may feel an immediate connection and can see that this person will make your house-hunting a fun and interesting task. Or you could immediately dislike the realtor that you are with. When that happens, there is no reason not to find someone else for the next time. In a way, it’s a bit like a blind date. If you don’t feel a connection to the person you’ve just met, you don’t ever have to ask them out again! Just go on to someone else. If your first realtor gives you a follow-up call (and many don’t), you can always tell them you’ve decided to go with someone else, and leave it at that.
If you’ve just started searching for your first home, don’t be afraid to ask the realtor any questions you have about the house or the location. If they don’t have the answers, and don’t offer to find you the information, you’ll probably want to consider finding another agent. Some realtors may prefer to earn their living mainly by listing homes for sale, whereas others are more passionate about showing houses and getting them sold. (When a realtor is both the listing agent, and the selling agent, this is what’s known as a “dual agency”. By law, the realtor must act on behalf of the seller, since there is a signed contract between them. The realtor is certainly allowed to act in this position, but be aware that it may not be to your benefit.)
Here are some characteristics of a good Agent:
- They will be eager to help you find the right home
- They will do their homework. They will offer to find you the information you need, and get back to you
- They will follow-up to see if you are interested in viewing more houses
- They make it easy for you look at the house…if the homeowners remain on the premises, they will distract them while you have a good look around
- They will keep out of your way, and allow you to set the pace
- They will listen to your comments and concerns, and address them, if possible
Any agent can take you to a house and open the door for you. You will want to find someone who feels like they are on your ‘team’, and it may take a few appointments to find the right one, but you will have a much more positive experience during what can be a very stressful time.