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Choosing Your Realtor | What To Look For

Choosing Your Realtor | What To Look For

Given the Toronto Board is home to tens of thousands of Realtors, it can be hard to know just what to look for when hiring one for the purchase or sale of your home! The first big step you took was deciding to work with a realtor but finding the right fit can be tricky business!

So, why not interview your prospective realtor?! Even if you have one in mind, it’s always good to interview a handful of realtors so you can narrow it down to ‘the one’. We’ve put together a list of questions to help get you started on the right track – but keep in mind, this is by no means all encompassing!

  • Why should we work with you?
    • This gives the realtor a chance to showcase their work ethic, knowledge, experience and likability. By posing this question, they’re able to give you a taste of what they have to offer both personally and professionally.
  • What experience and knowledge do you bring to the table?
    • This question is great in that it allows you to get a feel for what else they have been a part of in years past. I.e. maybe they went to school for marketing or have extensive experience in event planning which lends itself to be quite handy if you’re hoping to have an open house (for example!)
  • What are your statistics on your negotiating powers?
    • Realtors should have a decent idea of what their statistics are. Even if it is a rough estimate, numbers make things a bit easier to understand because they eliminate real estate jargon. If you’re looking for a realtor that will go to bat for you, you’ll want someone with strong negotiating skills and an impressive track record.
  • Will you advise me when I shouldn’t buy?
    • This might seem like an obvious “yes” but by asking this question, you might get a better feel for whether or not the realtor is straightforward or beats around the bush. When you plan on entrusting someone with the task of finding your dream home, it’s important that they are upfront and honest in the way they advise you. Their role is to help separate the emotions from the transaction and guide you toward the best suited decision for your needs.
  • Are you a full-service realtor with an arm’s length of go to industry leaders: mortgage brokers, home inspectors, handymen etc.
    • Most realtors, especially if they’ve been in the business for a while, have a working list of industry leaders to direct you to. This is a value-added service and truly makes the process much smoother! If you need a last-minute paint job done, they should be able to recommend someone trustworthy and efficient at a moment’s notice.
  • How long have you been in the business?
    • Keep in mind that when you are interviewing realtors, some will have been around for 20+ years, and others for under 12 months. This is not a be all end all but it’s good to know how long they’ve been in the business because this can be reflected in a number of different ways! I.e. those new to the business may have a better handle on the technology side of things when it comes to marketing whereas those that have 10+ years experience have dealt with a number of situations and may have a better idea of how to handle them should they come up.
  • Are you full-time or part-time?
    • This question is a good one to ask because it provides a bit of insight into their availability!
  • How available are you to do showings?
    • If you are a shift worker and your availability is mid-day, this is something you should talk about with your realtor. If they are full-time, there’s a good chance they are available most days at whatever time works for you, but definitely a good idea to chat about how your schedules can work (or not work). If you are planning on selling and hope to host an open house, be sure your realtor is around on weekends!
  • Do you have homes that might not be on the market yet?
    • If you are looking to buy something in a specific area, it’s a good idea to check with the realtor and see what they might have that’s soon to hit the market.
  • How will you market my home/ What services do you offer? (i.e. print media, post cards, website, social media, open houses, professional photographer, feature sheets etc.)
    • In today’s digital age, social media, websites and other platforms are increasingly used to market homes. Ask your realtor what their marketing looks like and how they plan on advertising your home to prospective clients. Do they send our postcards? Do they have a professional photographer? Videographer? Are they sending out mass emails with your home as the featured property? Keep in mind that every realtor has their own way of marketing homes, and that’s ok! What matters is that they have a fool proof plan to get your home the exposure it deserves and that it’s showcased in the best light possible.

And at the end of this interview, go with your gut feelings! Above all else you should feel comfortable with the realtor you choose to go with. Don’t feel obligated to work with family or friends! As much as this is a nice gesture, you must trust your instincts and go with the realtor you feel will best represent your interests. It can be overwhelming to entrust someone with the purchase or sale of your home so remember to take the time to ask the important questions and get the right answers. The experience of buying or selling a home, whether it’s your first or 5th, should be stress-free, fun and an overall great experience!

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Louise Sabino

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