Finding a Real Estate Agent is almost like finding a partner—you may need to go on a few dates before finding “the one.”
Like in dating, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in a Real Estate Agent. There’s a lot riding on your relationship with this person; you don’t want to invest time and energy in someone you won’t be able to trust.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to buy or sell a property, finding the right Realtor can make a huge difference in your happiness and your finances.
WHAT DOES A GOOD REALTOR DO?
A Real Estate Salesperson, also known as a Real Estate Agent or Realtor is a licensed professional who assists people in real estate transactions.
In British Columbia, these professionals are regulated by the Real Estate Council of B.C., an organization that licenses and trains Realtors.
There are plenty of licensed professionals in the province, but not all of them are good.
Here are traits that you should look for in a Real Estate Agent with real estate expertise:
They are always one step ahead of you. You never have to follow them up for the next steps; they are on top of it.
They listen. They understand what you are looking for and your unique situation, and they look for solutions in the home-buying process.
They focus on communication. You are never left wondering what is going on; they keep you up to date, even if the update is that nothing has happened yet since the last update.
They deliver on their promises. They do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it in real estate transactions.
PICKING THE RIGHT ONE
British Columbia’s real estate market is saturated with Realtors and other real estate agents.
According to the Real Estate Council of B.C., in 2016 there were 23,366 licensed Realtors in the province. This adds up to nearly 1 Real Estate Agent for every 200 people.
Why should you care about this?
Because it means that Realtors are in intense competition with each other, making BC a buyer’s market when it comes to hiring Realtors.
This means that you have the upper hand when it comes to choosing a Real Estate Agent. Much like if you were hiring any other employee, it’s important that you know exactly who you are hiring, especially when considering their real estate broker license.
That’s why, if you want to pick the right Real Estate Agent for you, you should do the following things…
RESEARCH AND ASK FOR REFERRALS AND REFERENCES
Make a list of the Realtors you may know, find, and who are referred to you. If you have colleagues or friends who have bought a home recently, ask how they liked working with their Realtor and who they were.
Ask your BC Notary, lawyer, or mortgage broker for a referral for people they have worked with. They should be able to tell you fairly quickly who they know, like, and trust in real estate transactions.
You can also search online to find Realtors in your area. Be aware, however, that just because someone is good at being found online doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a good Realtor.
We know a number of Realtors and would be happy to provide some names to help you find the right fit. Before you start talking to potential Realtors, it’s important that you do some preliminary research through online reviews.
Search online. A quick Google search will give you the names of Realtors in your neighborhood. More popular Realtors may even have online reviews posted online. Read these reviews and come up with a list of six or seven Realtors in your area that may look promising.
Talk to your neighbors, friends, & colleagues. Once you’ve created a shortlist of potential Realtors, talk to people you know. Ask your neighbors if they have worked with anyone on your list, and see if they have anyone else to recommend. If someone has had anything less than a good experience with a Real Estate Agent, immediately cross them off the list.
Reach out to the Realtors. Once you have a set list of potential Realtors, it’s time to contact them. See what kind of vibe you get, and ask for references from previous clients. If you get a good vibe, keep them on the list if you don’t cross them off in the entire process.
INTERVIEW, INTERVIEW, INTERVIEW
Whether you are selling or buying, it’s important to always interview at least three Realtors, especially when discussing the selling price and listing price.
These interviews may seem intimidating at first, but remember, you are in control. They have to impress you, not the other way around.
These interviews are important to figure out if the Real Estate Agent has the perfect balance between credentials and chemistry. You also need to absolutely trust your Realtor.
During each interview, make sure you ask yourself if this is a person you like and trust–and don’t forget to ask them the following five questions regarding prospective buyers:
FIVE KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL REALTOR
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE REGIONAL MARKET?
Experts recommend that you stick to Realtors who work within a 15-kilometer radius of the listed home. This ensures that they know the area and the market well.
HOW MANY LISTINGS DO YOU HAVE?
Figuring out how many listings a Real Estate Agent has will give you an idea of the kind of attention you’ll get from them.
A Realtor with too many listings will be stretched too thin. This means that they may not be able to help you when you need it. At the same time, too few listings may be a sign that there’s something wrong with that person regarding how many clients they attract.
What’s the magical number then?
It’s hard to say, but experts suggest that anywhere between 10 and 15 listings will allow your Real Estate agent to pay attention to you.
WILL YOU HANDLE MY LISTING PERSONALLY?
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a Real Estate Agent that has a lot of listings. In fact, sometimes it’s good to get high-profile Real Estate Agents who can help sell a property with their own name.
If that’s the case, it’s often likely that the Realtor will not be handling your listing personally.
Some people are often caught off guard when they hire a Real Estate Agent but instead, end up working with a member of their team. Some Realtor teams have designated individuals to work with buyers and some sellers; you get the benefits of the knowledge of the team and the individual attention of the team member specializing in what you need in real estate expertise.
Make sure you know if the Real Estate Agent will be handling your listing personally or relying on team members.
WHAT IS YOUR COMMISSION?
It’s important that you know exactly how much you’ll be paying a Real Estate Agent prior to hiring their services in real estate transactions. Most often in British Columbia, the Seller pays the Realtor’s commission.
Here are a few questions you should definitely ask potential Real Estate Agents before you hire them.
What is their commission structure?
What are marketing costs?
Are there extra costs for things like home staging in the home-buying process?
Figuring these things out will help add to your understanding of the real estate transaction and help you choose the right real estate for you.
WHAT’S THE STRATEGY?
Most Realtors will have a strategy to help you buy or sell a property before meeting with you. Great Real Estate Agents are able to explain this strategy to perfection.
When you’re interviewing potential Real Estate Agents, make sure to ask them about strategy, and see what they bring to the table.
In the end, you’ll want to choose someone who is prepared and knows exactly what they need to do to help you; and who you think you can trust in real estate transactions.
CONSTANTLY REVIEW YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Once you’ve selected a Real Estate Agent, it’s extremely important to maintain an ongoing review of your working relationship with them.
Sometimes Real Estate Agents put in a lot of work initially, but their efforts peter out over time in real estate transactions.
Being open about any problems or issues you are facing is crucial to building a successful working relationship with your Real Estate Agent.
By reviewing the relationship, you stop your time and energy from being wasted with someone who isn’t right for you, allowing you to find the right Real Estate Agent. If find out you are not happy after working with someone, you can find a new Realtor in the entire process.
While relationships with Real Estate Agents can sour, following the steps outlined above and asking the right questions before you settle on a Realtor will give you a better chance to find “the one” on your first attempt!
If you have any questions or would like a referral for a Real Estate Agent in your market, please feel free to reach out.
Summary of Our Key Tips to Finding the Right Realtor
Understanding the Role
A Real Estate Agent is a licensed professional who aids in real estate transactions, regulated by the Real Estate Council of B.C.
Traits of a Good Realtor
Look for qualities like proactiveness, listening skills, effective communication, and reliability in your Real Estate Agent.
British Columbia has a high number of Realtors, making it a buyer’s market. This means you have the upper hand in choosing the right Real Estate Agent, so make informed decisions.
Research and Referrals
Build a list of potential Realtors through recommendations from friends, professionals, and online research. Don’t solely rely on online presence; verify their credentials.
Interview Multiple Realtors
Always interview at least three Realtors. It’s your opportunity to evaluate their credentials, chemistry, and trustworthiness.
Five Key Questions
During interviews, ask essential questions: Know their knowledge of the regional market, how many listings they handle, whether they’ll handle your listing personally, their commission structure, and their strategy.
Be clear on the costs involved, including commissions, marketing expenses, and potential additional costs like home staging.
Constantly Review the Relationship
After selecting a Real Estate Agent, maintain ongoing communication. If issues arise, address them promptly to ensure a successful working relationship.