Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate’

How to Pick the Right Realtor

How to Pick the Right Realtor

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.

Market Competition

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.

Understanding Costs

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.

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How to Choose the Right Mortgage Broker

In 2016, 57 percent of first-time home buyers in Canada got their mortgages from a broker.

The staggering figure, which was published in a recent survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is indicative of a broader trend: more and more Canadians are choosing brokers over banks when it comes to purchasing or refinancing their mortgages.

People are choosing brokers over banks because brokers often can give personalized advice on a mortgage and shop around between lenders to find better deals.

This flexibility can really make life easier and help cut costs, but here’s the catch about brokers: it’s tough to find the right person for the job.

The quality of your broker will help make sure funds are ready when the deal needs to complete and determine your financial situation for the next few years, so if you’re looking to buy a new home it’s important that you find a broker who’s both qualified and trustworthy.

What Does a Good Mortgage Broker Do?

A good broker will help you figure out how much you can truly afford, determine what the best mortgage product is for you, and shop around for options that help you save money.

But their job doesn’t end there.

Your broker should also help you after review your mortgage a few times a year to see how you can pay it off faster, whether it’s still the right product for you, and if it’s still competitive.

Here are a few characteristics of good mortgage brokers:

  • They’re always one step ahead of you
  • They make your interests theirs
  • They have good communication skills
  • They deliver on their promises
  • They have a positive attitude
  • They listen to you and can give good advice based on your desires
  • They stay in touch with you after you sign a contract

How to Pick the Right Mortage Broker

Choosing the right mortgage broker is easier using these steps:

Phase 1: Make a  List

Write a list with the names of brokers you may know, you find and are referred to you.  If you have co-workers or friends who have bought a home recently; or renewed their mortgage; ask how they liked working with their broker and who they were.  

Ask your BC Notary, lawyer or Realtor for a referral for people they have worked with and they should be able to tell you fairly quickly who they know, like and trust.  

You can also search online to find mortgage brokers in your area.  We know a number of brokers and would be happy to provide some names of competent professionals to help you find the right fit.

Phase 2: Research

Before you even start talking to potential mortgage brokers, it’s important that you do some preliminary research.  

Search online. A quick Google search will give you the names of mortgage brokers that operate in your area. 

Many of these brokers will have websites and online profiles. High profile ones may even have peer-reviews posted websites like Yelp.

Visit their websites, check them out on LinkedIn, and read reviews. Doing this will give you insight into the the broker’s past work and reputation. 

While you’re at it, do a quick search on the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals’ website. The organization also has an online directory that can help you make sure that the broker is accredited.

Ask around. Once you’ve created a shortlist of potential mortgage brokers based on your research, start asking around for reviews and recommendations.

Talk to friends, colleagues and neighbours, and see if they have worked with anyone on your list, or if they have anyone else to recommend. If someone has had anything less than a good experience with an broker, immediately cross them off the list.

Reach out. Once you have a list of potential mortgage brokers, it’s time to contact them. See what kind of vibe you get and ask if they have references from previous clients. If you get a good vibe, keep them on the list, and coordinate a time to meet them. If you don’t get a good vibe, cross them off immediately.

Phase 3: Interview, Interview, Interview

By the end of the research phase, your list of potential mortgage brokers should have at least three strong candidates. The next step is to meet up with them.

These interviews may seem intimidating at first, but remember: You’re in control. They have to impress you, not the other way around. 

These interviews are important to figure out if the broker has the perfect balance between credentials and chemistry.

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 four questions…

Four Key Questions to Ask a Potential Mortgage Broker

4 questions to ask a mortgage broker

1. How long have you been in business?

While experience may not necessarily equate good service, it is important to know how long a mortgage broker has been in business. 

Mortgage brokers with experience will generally have cultivated relationships with more lenders. This means that they will be able to shop around for deals from a wider pool of lenders.

2. How many lenders do you deal with?

Regardless of experience, good brokers deal with many lenders.

High-volume brokers can negotiate better deals, helping you find something that best suits your needs. Low-volume brokers may have less options.

3. What’s the application process like?

Many brokers offer online platforms that help you compare costs and easily apply for loans.

Be sure to ask about average closing times, specific requirements (credit score, down payment, debt-to-income ratio, etc.), and all documents you will need throughout the entire process.  

4. What will my mortgage look like?

Not all mortgages are the same so find the one that works for you.  Make sure to consider things like prepayment privileges, porting, and assuming mortgages as well as whether to go with fixed or variable rates.  Is CMHC Insurance a consideration or can I have my property taxes collected with my mortgage payment?  

Discussing these topics and asking broker’s opinion will help you get to know then; educate you and also show them you know what type of questions to ask regarding your mortgage.

What now?

Now that you know how to choose a mortgage broker, it’s time to go out there and start your search. 

Good luck and have fun!  Let me know if you have any questions or would like a referral.

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How and Why We Efile Real Estate Transfers and Mortgages

To Efile means to electronically file real estate documents with the BC Land Title Office using their “Electronic Filing System” or “EFS”. Some Notary and law offices take the original signed documents, drive them down the Land Title Office in New Westminster, have them stamped there and then have them driven back. This form of registration is slow, expensive and involves unnecessary car trips. What our office does is E-File the transaction; which means we take your original signed documents; I sign the documents with an adobe digital signature and then have them uploaded to the BC Land Title Office via the provincial government’s BC Online Electronic Filing System. This service is faster, easier and more cost effective.

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