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Finding The Right Realtor For Your Needs

Choosing a real estate agent to represent you during the sale of your home should be considered one of your most important decisions, much the same as choosing your attorney or financial advisor. It is important to choose a professional who will advise you wisely and who will keep your personal goals at the forefront of all decisions. This can make all the difference in the success or failure of the sale of your home. Here are important questions to ask during an agent interview to help with your decision.



How much experience do you have?

This is important in marketing and negotiating on your behalf. Experience is often the difference when making or breaking a sale, as well as keeping a deal together. Signs of this are how many sales this year compared with the industry average and any rewards or recognitions an agent may have. It also helps if that agent deals mostly with buyer or sellers, or both.

Is Real Estate your full-time job?

It’s important that your agent is available to respond quickly to Ad and Sign calls on your property, and can easily accommodate requests for showings. In addition, you should know if you will be working directly with the team leader, or if you will be passed on to their assistants.

How closely do you follow the market?

Your agent should inform you of any competitive Listings and properties sold in your neighbourhood.

Do you have a marketing plan for my property?

A good agent will have a game plan, which includes keeping you informed of his or her progress. As a seller, you will need to know:

  • Specifically, how will you sell my home?
  • Why or why not is a direct mail campaign appropriate?
  • Where and how often do you advertise?
  • Will you show me a sample flyer?
  • How do you market online?

Will you assist me in preparing my home for sale?

If you hope to receive top dollar for your property, you would be wise to follow your agent’s suggestions when preparing your home for “show time”! This might include a fresh paint job, carpet cleaning, de-cluttering, and some serious elbow grease.

Will you pre-qualify buyers before you show them my property?

Good agents work closely with Mortgage Brokers who will ensure their buyers can afford to buy your home. This will result in fewer “nosey lookers”.

How will showings be scheduled for my home?

Your Agent will explain the office procedure for booking appointments, and should ensure that your normal routine will not be unduly disrupted.

What kind of follow-up can I expect?

You can expect your agent to follow up all showings of your property and report feedback to you on a daily or weekly basis.

What is my property worth? And on what do you base that price?

A good agent will come prepared with information downloaded from his/her Real Estate Board. This will include similar properties currently on the market, and others recently sold, which will help you decide the market value of your home.

How close to list price do your listings usually get?

You want an agent with good negotiating skills both to gain your confidence to list at a competitive price, and to obtain as close to that price as possible from a serious buyer. A competent listing agent should hold a track record for negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices. Therefore, listing agents should have higher list-price-to-sales-price ratios closer to 100%

What commission do you charge? And are there any other fees or charges that I need to be aware of?

The agent who offers you the lowest rate of commission may not be the one who will effectively put the most money in your pocket at the end of the day. Good service, strong negotiating skills and a co-operative association will likely bring you the best result.

What is the average time it takes you to sell a property, and what percentage of your listings sell?

How does this compare to the industry average? Statistical data is readily available from the Real Estate Board; have them show you their results. This is a critical question.

What happens if my house doesn't sell, or if I change my mind about selling?

Your agent should explain the options available to you in both circumstances, and the policy of their company with regard to “suspending” or “terminating” your Listing. (There is a difference!) They should also give you any recommendations as well.

Can you provide me with a list of some of your clients, and will you allow me to call them for a reference?

It is well worth your time to follow through on this request.

If there is an offer on my property, how long will you take to notify me?

It is your agent’s responsibility to notify you right away and an experienced agent should even go the extra step and try to call up any additional interested parties to encourage multiple offers. (Critical question)

What if I'm not satisfied with your service? Can I cancel the listing?

If you sign a listing or buying agreement with the agent and later find that you are unhappy with the arrangement, will the agent let you cancel the agreement? Will the agent stand behind their service to you? What is their company's policy about canceled agreements? Has anybody ever cancelled an agreement with him or her before?

Why should I list my home with you? Aren't all Realtors the same?

A good agent won't hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to fire off why he or she is best suited for the job. Everyone has their own standards, but most consumers say they are looking for agents who say they are:

  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Assertive
  • Excellent negotiators
  • Available by phone or e-mail
  • Good communicators
  • Friendly
  • Analytical
  • Able to maintain a good sense of humor under trying circumstances