Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions in a lifetime, but before you start home shopping, you should consider finding a skillful and professional agent to have on your side who will be there for you at every step of the way - from the home search to signing a contract. Having a professional agent to assist you with your home or condo purchase will protect you from mistakes and guide you to finding the perfect property for the right price. Finding the right agent requires a substantial background investigation, but online research won’t be enough and you should actually interview a few agents before making a commitment. But, what are you supposed to ask them when you meet them? There are several factors that should help you make a decision.
You Need A Full-time And Licensed Professional
There are lots of part-time agents and that’s fine, but you should opt for someone who will always have the time for you without being distracted by another nine-to-five job. Full-time agents are committed to their profession and take pride in providing the best knowledge and service to their clients in a job they are fully dedicated to. Full-time agents will be at your disposal every day and ready to accompany you to home showings at any times that are convenient to you, as well as to answer all of your questions whenever you call them. Ask them for how long they have had their license and for how long they’ve been in real estate to make sure they’ve got enough experience in the industry.
Performance and Statistics
It’s great if an agent has 10+ years of experience, but what about their business success? How many deals have they closed last year? If you are selling a property, what marketing tools and strategies does the agent employ? If you are a buyer, ask about their negotiation skills. Can they negotiate a lower price; how and under what conditions? Ask them about their favourite neighbourhoods or condo buildings and ask them why to see how knowledgeable they are about real estate in your area. Ask about the current real estate market and obstacles buyers are currently facing under these conditions. Such questions will give you a good insight into their skills and experience representing their clients under various market conditions.
The Area They Work In And Specialty
Some real estate agents are primarily trained for a specific type of property. If you are looking for a condo in Downtown Toronto, look for an agent who, first of all works in the Downtown Toronto area and, second, who specializes in the condo market. Local agents have great connections in the community; they know the neighbourhoods, the properties and probably selling agents who let them know about new listings before they hit the market. If you are new in town, they will also be a great resource to help you find a good lawyer, mortgage lender, plumber, electrician, etc.
Ask For References
There is no better way to find out more about a real estate agent than calling someone whom they worked with. Ask for a contact list of their former clients who will be able to tell you inside information first hand, e.g., if the agent is knowledgeable and responsible, if they prioritized them as a client, if they were patient or pushy, did they give good advice, etc. Call more than one reference as you can get a better opinion from more than one source of information.
The Overall Image
You also have to like an agent on a personal level. Observe how they speak about the market and if they are passionate about what they do. The way an agent represents themselves and their energy is important as they are in fact representing you in the sales transaction. The connection between you and your agent is also significant especially when it comes to communicating. Your agent needs to clearly understand your criteria, objectives and concerns and should effectively be able to answer all of your questions and explain the process of buying or selling a property to make the experience stress-free.