From the yellow pages to magazine adds, open houses and asking references from a friend, there are many ways to find a realtor in a city like Calgary with more than 5500 realtors. But choosing the right realtor is not an easy task, and it certainly is an important one. After all, your home is most likely your biggest investment. How do you go about when choosing your realtor?
Always interview a few realtors and ask the right questions
What most people don’t know is that about half of all realtors only do 1 or 2 transactions a year, compromising the quality of their work. This might be your first and best question for a realtor. Are you full time or part time. A realtor might be in business 10 years but if that realtor has done very little business, he/she still has little experience, and may not be up to date with the ever changing rules. When choosing your realtor, choose a full time realtor that does business on a continuous basis!
Is the realtor full-time or part-time?
Marketing is a buzz word in real estateIf you need to sell a home, ‘marketing your home‘ seems very important. Today, ‘marketing’ seems to be a buzz word which is highly overrated. If the realtor is telling you about advertising in magazines and flyers, you are really listening to the realtor’s personal promotion. So, printed material to sell your home is foremost to sell the realtor. So don’t blindly follow big advertising agents. The fact is that your home sells for more than 95% via the MLS.
Most marketing dollars go to self promotion of the realtor, not to your listing
On the contraire, it is important to find out how much care your realtor puts into listing facts about your home. For example, we still come across listings that show 3 bedrooms, while there are 4, or homes that are presented in the wrong community. With most people looking on the internet and using parameter searches, your home will never be found. You also should get a sense of how well your realtor picks up the phone or at least returns phone calls to potential buyers. When choosing your realtor, choose a meticulous realtor!
Do you work with sellers and buyers?Another question you need to ask is if the realtor works with both buyers and sellers. Many realtors only work with sellers because they take less time than buyers. The truth is that only realtors who work with both buyers and sellers understand the market and know what buyers are looking for in homes. The realtor can give you valuable feedback on how your home shows if they work with buyers as well. When choosing your realtor, choose a realtor that works with both sellers and buyers!
About half of all realtors only do 1 or 2 transactions a year
For both sellers and buyers it is important to ask about the realtor’s education. The basic education for a realtor is only 3 months. The Calgary Real Estate Board does offer many courses and some give credentials like a CCS or Certified Condominium Specialist. This may be a sign of how serious a realtor takes his profession. When choosing your realtor, choose a realtor that is continuously educated!
The Neighbourhood Specialist? Nonsense!
Some realtors try to promote themselves as the neighbourhood specialist. In our opinion the neighbourhood specialist is long gone. These realtors just try to narrow down their marketing dollars. With today’s technology every realtor can buy or sell in every neighbourhood. For all parties it is important to do their research, which is made easy by the internet for everyone.
Integrity and honestyTry to get a sense of the integrity of the realtor. Try to find out if the realtor is just saying what you would like to hear or if he/she is telling the right things. This is an important point for sellers. Many realtors assign a value to your home that you want to hear to get your listing, thus not stating your true home value. The truth may be onerous, but it is seldom ever wrong.
Is the realtor just saying what you would like to hear?
Presentation of the CMADoes the realtor seriously research the value of your home? How is this presented? A good realtor will come up with a solid report to show how she/he got the appropriate value. This is called a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis. If you are a buyer, you want to know how the realtor works in terms of showing you the right homes. Does the realtor like to work with buyers? Will he be patient enough to show you 100 homes if needed? When choosing your realtor, choose an integer and honest realtor! Please be advised that realtors are highly regulated and that every realtor must abide by the set code of conduct.
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Because real estate involves a lot of money, you want to know the background of the realtor and how good his/her negotiating skills are. A good negotiator can save you many dollars. We will never say that you should choose the realtor who has already been in business 40 years over the brand new agent. Many new realtors are often willing to walk a little harder for you, than those who have already ‘made it’. When choosing your realtor, choose a realtor with a valuable background and experience in and outside of real estate!
If you want to know more on this topic, please feel free to call or email us at anytime. Please also feel free to interview us if you are considering selling or buying real estate in the (near) future. It will be a pleasure to serve you!