No one likes a job interview, but when it comes to hiring the right realtor to buy or sell your home, you should be interviewing potential candidates well in advance of listing day. Chances are if you are considering hiring a realtor, then you have probably been looking at other listings of homes for sale. Have a look at the realtors representing these listings, check out their business pages and assess if they might be a good fit for you. Find about 2-3 people who’s work you’ve been impressed with, call them up and ask to meet for a quick consult. These are at no cost, and are really like a coffee date. Just like a date, you are getting to know each other, assessing if this is the right fit for your needs.
The realtor you hire will have a direct impact on the length of your listing, how much your home sells for, and most importantly, how stressful the entire process will be. Of course you want to have the best experience possible, so here are some questions you should be asking when interviewing potential realtors to sell your house:
1) What’s included in the realtor’s listing package?
When it comes to preparing and marketing a home for sale, there are some items that matter significantly more than others. Certain inclusions will have direct impact on what your home sells for, while others are nice have’s, but ultimately won’t benefit your bottom line.
Advice on home prep and full home staging will ultimately make or break your home sale. So always find out who pays for the staging of your home? Is this included int he realtor’s fees or is this something in addition that you have to pay for. Professional staging for an average house can range from $5000 to $12,000 (depending on how much furniture is required). It’s important to find out about the quality of the staging and see some examples of past work. Professional staging is often exaggerated by realtors, so ask the right questions and make sure you are getting a quality stager to help transform your home.
When it comes to marketing a home for sale, don’t just take their word for it. Ask specific questions on how they plan to promote your listing, what’s their strategy? And do they have a dedicated marketing team? Ask to see some marketing examples from previous listings. Although online marketing is where its at these days, print marketing still has a place in real estate. Look over their brochures, listing packages and even how they promote themselves. And most importantly, does this potential realtor understand the importance of online marketing and what will they do to make your property stand out above all others online.
★ For more seller’s resources check out:
2) Commission, commission, commission!
What is their commission, and how do they justify their price? Are they willing to discount their commission? Sometimes this can be a red flag. A quality, full service realtor will charge a higher commission rate based on the services they offer that will ultimately make you significantly more money in the end, save you time, and lessen the stress. This is why the first question is so important! Ask what is included with this commission price and make sure you see can see the value. Focus on inclusions that will make you more money such as staging and marketing.
★ For more on this, check out our blog: Key Steps To Selling a Home in Toronto
3) Who are their friends? And are they likeable?
Do they have strong connections within their industry? This is a good question to ask as you want to hire a realtor who has solid relationships with other agents. A well-connected agent will be able to introduce your home to many other agents, hence getting the word out that your gorgeous home is on the market. It’s not unheard of for agents to call each other up and see if there are any promising listings on the horizon. This would be a great opportunity to discuss your listing, and drum up some early interest.
Don’t forget to gauge their attitude. Ultimately, you want to hire a realtor who has as little ego as possible and if they are respected in the community, they are most likely a likeable person and easy to deal with. We’ve seen realtor egos ruin deals on multiple occasions. To ensure a smooth ride, it’s critical to hire a professional and easy going realtor. You need an advocate during the sale not an jackass.
★ To learn more about the types of offers you could receive, check out our blog: How To Successfully Price And Sell Your Home
As for sellers, the realtor you hire will have a direct impact on the length of your house hunt and the quality of home you purchase. Therefore, consider these questions when interviewing a buyer agent:
1) Big team vs. small team, size matters!
Who on their team will you you be working with? Many bigger teams have a lot of newbies on their staff. Though everyone has to start somewhere, consider that this is likely the single largest financial transaction you will ever make – unless you buy a yacht! So you might be hiring a reputable brokerage, but are you hiring their best or even one of their top realtors? Experience matters so ensure you understand who will be representing you.
2) Are they streamlining the process to make it as smooth as possible for you?
What sets them apart from other realtors? Will they do some legwork for you, and present you with a list of homes that meets your criteria or will they take you to every single listing within your price point? Seeing too many listings can be overwhelming, off-putting and confusing. Eventually they will all start to blend together and make you want to throw in the towel. You should hire a realtor you trust enough to create your shortlist, saving you time, energy and stress. It’s also worth asking if they specialize in any one type of dwelling. Some realtors are condo pros while others may only work with single family homes. There is a world of difference when buying or selling a home vs. a condo. Finding a realtor with the right experience for what you want is key.
3) Are they a household name?
How local are they? Ideally you’d hire a realtor with neighbourhood expertise in the areas you are interested in. It’s good to ask how familiar they are with the local amenities, schools, entertainment etc. and even the sales history of homes in the area. This data is available to any realtor, however the nuances as to why a home or condo went for a certain price is something they would only know if they are on the pulse of their neighbourhoods.
4) Who do they know?
Just as for sellers, a buyer’s agent with good connections is integral. A well-connected buyer agent will have an ear to what is upcoming, what has been sitting on the market for too long and why, as well as what is a good deal. Unlike most industries, real estate is what you know AND who you know. Ask about their connections and how they use those relationships to help their clients.
★ For more buyer’s resources check out:
- The Real Estate Debate: Should I Sell Or Buy First?
- Climbing The Toronto Property Ladder 101
- First Time Home Buyer’s Guide
So are you ready to take your potential realtor on a coffee date? Be sure to ask all the right questions, ensuring you hire the right person for your needs.