So, you’ve decided you want to be a homeowner! Congratulations on taking that giant step. You’re about to join the 64% of the Canadian population that owns a home. Now comes the fun part: touring houses, the excitement of submitting offers and hopefully getting your dream home. But before you dip your toes into the real estate pool, you’ll need to find a great real estate agent. A good agent is key because the more knowledgeable and connected your agent is, the more likely you are to win in the real estate game. Remember, your home will likely be your largest purchase, so it may not be in your best interest to hire a relative or a friend as your agent. Do your research. Here are 5 important questions to ask your real estate agent before hiring them.
1. How long has your real estate agent been in the field?
While there’s something to be said for a young, go-getter who’s looking to prove himself, a seasoned agent will come with deep knowledge of neighbourhoods, know the intricacies of negotiating and have more industry connections. Your agent’s established relationships may give you the inside track on listings before they hit the market, provide insight on how their competitors negotiate and can lead to invaluable recommendations for financing, inspections and even tradespeople.
2. Which neighbourhood does your real estate agent specialize in?
Drive around any neighbourhood and you’ll see the same agent names repeated on real estate signs. That’s because real estate agents specialize in different areas. An agent who knows the area can advise you on schools, neighbourhood history and future developments, community offerings and more. Not sure where to start? Look for the agent most often featured on those signs.
3. How many buyers or sellers is your real estate agent representing right now?
Once you’ve found a neighbourhood expert, you’ll want to know how busy that agent is. While busy agents are usually the most efficient, there is also the potential to get lost if you’ve got a lower budget than their other clients. Ask about the typical budget your agent handles, how many homes they’ve closed in the neighbourhood and what the list-to-sale prices were to see how sharp a negotiator that agent is.
4. Does your agent work independently or with a team?
There are definite advantages to hiring an agent supported by a team. While home sales in Canada are dropping slightly, we’re still in a climate where multiple offers are submitted, and well-priced properties are selling quickly. Should you need to react quickly when your agent is busy, is there a team member who can step in and help?
5. Ask for references.
This is a job interview, so don’t shy away from asking for names and numbers of a couple of recent buyers. Ask these people about the agent’s knowledge of the area, response times, strategic approach, and whether they would use that agent again.
Why asking these 5 questions is important, also listen to your gut. It takes 30 to 60 days to find a home, so make sure you like the person you’ll be spending that time with. Take note of their style: are they easygoing or aggressive? Chatty or quiet? Boastful or humble? Which are you more comfortable with?
Once you land your dream home, the excitement just ramps up from there. There will be details to finalize, packing to be done, decorating and/or renovating to plan for, and movers to book. Whether you’re moving around the corner, across the province or farther away, the experts at AMJ Campbell can help cross that item off your To-Do list. AMJ experts can even help you pack, store your belongings for the short or long term and provide moving boxes and supplies. Get a quick, no-obligation quote today!
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