Your largest asset is undoubtedly your home, but many people spend more time shopping for new boots than they do shopping for a real estate professional to help them buy or sell their home. Shopping around is the key to finding someone who you know will put you first, listen to and respond to all your needs and will ensure you get the most value out of your home purchase or sale. But, how do you know when you’ve found the right real estate pro? There are six questions you should ask when interviewing potential agents.
1. How long have you been a licensed real estate professional?
While someone who is new to the business may be just as good as someone who has been selling and buying homes for decades, this question is still important. Newer real estate pros have the most up-to-date training and are hip to the newest trends in real estate. Older agents have the knowledge and practical experience only the years can bring.
2. What is your target area?
Many real estate pros specialize in one area. This can be extremely helpful for buyers who only want to buy in one area, as that agent will have in-depth knowledge of the homes in the area, the amenities and most importantly, what homes actually sell for. The same goes for when selling.
3. Can you give me some of your statistics?
Ask for the real estate agent’s average list-to-sales price ratio and ensure that it comes close to their list prices. Homes that sell for grossly more or less than originally listed could mean they were priced wrong. Also, find out how many homes were sold, compared to how many were dropped from the market, as well as the average number of days on the market.
4. How much time will you dedicate to us?
This question is important, as an agent who has a very busy schedule may be difficult to get a hold of. You also don’t want someone who will pass you off to someone else in favour of a higher-value customer.
5. How much do you charge?
Any good professional will always be up front about their costs. Commissions can be negotiable, but any good agent should be worth the commissions you are paying them. Basically, in Canada, buyers don’t pay commissions and the sellers pay both the buyer’s agent and their own, with a rate figured out before the home is put for sale.
6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?
Really listen to the answer here, as it may be the difference between hiring this agent or moving on. They’ll let you know if you’ve missed any information and what else they can do for you.