House Whisperer spoiler alert!
Attention Toronto Home Buyers and Sellers! Don’t feel like the laughing stock of the buying public who are experiencing disappointment in not getting the house of their dreams or of the Selling public who just want fair market price for their home.
FIRST YOU NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT REALTOR and then, together, proceed with care and precision toward your Real Estate goals.
Match Making is an art and a discipline! Even if you’re trying to find your OWN best match. “Matching” (not dating!) sites for Realtors could be hazardous when only 66% of Realtors even HAVE websites! And of those that do, well, let’s just say there are not a ton of GREAT ones! So asking a lot of questions with the Realtors you have decided to interview is the route to go!
1 Ask them to tell you about themselves. Before you set up your meeting to discuss your needs, go to their website and spend time there. Look at their welcome video if they have one, look at their blogs/stories and listings of course. You should be able to get a “feeling” for whether you will be a good psychological match. You need to separate the RIGHT PRICE from the RIGHT REALTOR. If she is good at job, she will give you enough market facts for you to be able to determine the right price range. But you will spend a lot of “tense times” together, so you also need the right PERSON with top of the line skills. You will need what I call 5 Star Service which leads to 5 Star results!
This open-ended question opens the floor to bragging rights. What you want to hear: how long the agent’s been practicing, her best sale, how she refers to past clients, a sense of professionalism and the ability to be honest with you. Once the agent’s done filling you in, ask her to send you information about her business. You’ll see how quickly she responds to your request and how professional the brochure is (which will give you an idea what your brochure will look like if you’re selling your home).
2 Ask about Selling Skills
What percentage of homes vs condos has the agent typically listed and sold in her years as an agent. This question will tell you where the agent’s strength lies – in helping clients to buy or sell homes – and her rate of success.
3. Ask about which side of the business they prefer or excel at.
Does the agent excel in helping clients buy or sell homes? Do they know the starter-condo market or the 18th century, multi-million-dollar estate market? What type of home did she last buy or sell?
4. Location, location, location
What areas of the city is the agent most familiar with? You want an agent who knows the neighbourhood you’re looking to buy or sell in. They do not have to live in your area, but they should know what homes in your neighbourhood sell for and how these sales compare to your home and how they differ. Proximity to your home is NO MATCH for a brilliant marketing plan and superior negotiation skills!
5. Organizations & Affiliations
There are more than a dozen organizations and qualifications a Canadian real estate agent can hold. Find out how many your agent belongs to (since they can be a great source of networking, they can also be an indicator of the number of people your agent knows. More acquaintances can translate into a bigger turnout at your open house).
6. Ask for References
Ask for three references. This will give you key information: how quickly the agent offers up three sources, how long ago these people were clients, what type of home they were buying/selling and what their experiences were like with the agent.
7. Ask if they are Working Hard or Hardly Working?
Does the agent practice full-time or on the side of another job? Will she be available to show your home to potential buyers or show you homes when it’s convenient for you – or will you have to rearrange your schedule for her? You wouldn’t hire a part-time surgeon would you??
Find out who the agent sees as her brokerage’s main competition. What sets them apart? You’ll learn not only other agents to contact for comparison, but how each agent responds to this question – positively or negatively and whether the other agents are selling/showing homes in the area you’re interested in.
9. What’s the Plan?
Whether you’re buying or selling, your agent-to-be should have a plan (open house, public or private open house, appointments, number of viewings a day). Whether you want to look at a new home every time one is available, or save up six for a Saturday morning, your agent and you should be on the same planning page. If you’re not, tell her what you want, and if is not lining up with the agent’s plans, then look for a different agent. You’re a TEAM and must be on the same page of each step of the process.
10 Money Matters!
How does the agent respond to your budget requirements or desired price for the home you’re selling? A good agent will understand your needs, offer her advice (she should know whether your expectations are realistic) and then support you (not telling you to say yes to the first offer if you’re not happy with it). Be wary of an agent who looks too eager to make a quick sale. A good agent will want to build a solid relationship with you, so that you call her when you want to buy or sell your next home.
And a grateful agent will thank you for trusting them with your real estate business, and for referring them to your friends and family! I know I would.
If you (or someone you know), are looking for a Realtor who cares MORE about focusing on you, your concerns, goals and the successful purchase or sale of YOUR unique home, than they care about their volume of transactions and awards, please let me know the best way for me to connect, as I would love to offer my highly personal service. Contrary to that old expression, not only IS this business, but it IS personal! And, please, I encourage you to ask me any questions you may have about this post. I value your input and appreciate the time you took to read it.