Your home is most likely your biggest asset. So buying or selling a home should not be taken lightly. You want to find a realtor who can do the job and with your best interest in mind.
In Calgary there are more than 5000 realtors. That is a lot, but knowing that 50% of those realtors only do 1 to 2 transactions a year should make the search a little easier. But does it? What questions should you ask a realtor?
There are plenty of questions to ask a realtor. Some are more important than others. Here are some of our thoughts.
• Are you a full time or part-time realtor? As mentioned, about 50% of the realtors in Calgary only do 1-2 transactions per year. For friends and family. That is not enough to get experience. Also rules change constantly and you want a realtor who is experienced and updated on rules and regulations as well.
• Perhaps most important are the negotiating skills of a realtor. What is the background of the realtor? What may indicate that he/she is good at negotiating?
• What is your marketing plan to sell the home? A serious realtor will have a marketing plan and a good website. There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to marketing your home and we have a separate read for that. In essence, the public is often confused about marketing your home versus marketing the realtor.
• How do you communicate as a realtor? Do you pick up the phone yourself or does your assistant? A complaint we hear sometimes is that people only get to see their realtor once. After that, the assistants take over.
• What is your track record of transactions? This is difficult for new realtors and easy for the veteran realtors. A track record should not necessarily determine which realtor to choose. But if a realtor can show you some data of sales and percentages to list prices, that may help you in your decision. Many people still believe in the area specialist, but we don’t. With today’s technology, those are out. Area specialists just focus their marketing dollars on one community.
• How long have you been in the business? This question comes up often. The fact is that a realtor who has 30 years in real estate does not necessarily do a better job than the agent who just started.
• What professional designations do you have? Ongoing education is important. Does the realtor take extra courses with the Calgary Real Estate Board?
• References. Always ask for those and call clients that the realtor worked with. Also, many realtor websites have testimonial pages.
• Do you serve both buyers and sellers? This means that a realtor has knowledge of both groups. Working with buyers teaches realtors a lot about the likes and dislikes in homes.
• Do you offer staging? Not many realtors offer a professional staging company to do a consultation. The fact is that home staging consultation can help your home look better, resulting in a faster sale at a higher price.
Besides these questions, there are other things to take into consideration when choosing a realtor. How does the realtor come across? Does s/he have a presentation? How does the market evaluation look like? Do you feel comfortable with the personality of this realtor? You will be in close contact with your agent, so make sure you like the one you choose.
Do not be afraid to `google`the name of the realtors. Their online presence can give you a good indication on the person. Also, the RECA, the Real Estate Council of Alberta, publishes cases against realtors. Some cases are serious and sometimes realtors get a life time suspension in real estate. Read more on this on RECA`s website.
We have more to read on how to choose a realtor in how to choose a realtor.