Hiring a real estate agent is one of the best things someone can do when it comes to selling a home or buying a new one, but with how many agents are available to hire, it can seem overwhelming when trying to find a place to start. Here are five different types of real estate agents all buyers and sellers should keep an eye out for when searching for someone to work with to buy a home in North Calgary or elsewhere.
1. The Realistic Visionary
When it comes to selling a home, it's vital to have a good idea of what it's worth, and when talking to potential real estate agents to hire, asking for their opinion on the home's value is essential. One agent may say the home can fetch $200,000, and another may say $205,000. But if a third says they can sell it for $250,000, it's likely that they're inflating the number to get more business. Similarly, ask for an estimate of how quickly they think they can sell the home. If several agents say it may take a couple months because the market is slow and another agent says they'll have it sold within a week, this can be a big red flag.
2. The Veteran
With a real estate agent, the more experience they have, the better. Many people suggest trying to find an agent who has at least five years of working experience, that way they will have had enough time to learn the market and make connections to other people working in real estate. While working with an agent with less experience isn't the worst choice a buyer or seller can make, green agents may not know the best ways to negotiate deals or be slower to work because they're still learning.
3. The Market Researcher
All real estate agents should be familiar with their markets, whether helping buy or sell homes, otherwise they won't know how to best help their clients. When talking with agents, be sure to ask questions about the market such as if there are any homes currently for sale that may be a good match. It's a good sign if the agent is able to easily list off examples. However, if they struggle to answer questions or don't sound confident with themselves, it may be a sign that the agent isn't familiar enough with the market.
4. The Specialist
It's common for real estate agents to have a preference over the type of property they work with. Some may only deal with single family homes, while others will do condos and apartments. Be sure to check out an agent's website to look at the homes they've helped sell in the past to get an idea for their preferences. Otherwise, this can lead to the agent turning down the offer for representation, which will take up time that could be used to find an agent who is well-suited to the appropriate type of property.
5. The Five-Star Review
Real estate agents love to keep reviews from their clients on display because word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. When looking at an agent's website, be sure to keep an eye out for reviews and testimonials. If having difficulty finding them, this can mean the agent either hasn't been working long enough to have client reviews or they have trouble getting their clients to write reviews, which can be a bad sign.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Real Estate Agent
The Canadian Real Estate Association says there are over 125,000 licensed real estate professionals in the country. The challenge then is not so much finding one as it is finding the right one. Many will suggest interviewing agents as if they were applying for a job. That's a good idea, but what are the questions one should be asking of these prospective agents?
The questions will change a bit whether you are seeking a real estate agent to represent you as a buyer (buyer's agent) or a seller. Either way, the following are good questions to ask before making a decision on a real estate agent.
- Do you work in real estate full or part-time? While there are plenty of good real estate agents who only work part-time in the industry, most prefer an agent who is committed to their profession and are available to their clients as needed.
- What balance of your clients are buyers vs. sellers? This will give you an idea on where they see themselves in the real estate industry. It may also provide an indication of what they prefer to do.
- Can you tell me about your education and experience? The answer will likely give you an indication of what they are most proud of. Look for answers that are more precise and substantive. "I got my degree three years ago" is preferable to "I went to college for a while." Likewise, "I've been in real estate sales for 6 years" shows more clarity than "Well, I've only been involved in real estate for a couple of years."
- How many homes have you been a part of closing on the the past year? While this may not be a huge number in real estate, the larger the better. If the number is just a few, the agent may not yet be vested in their career.
- Do you have experience working with people in my situation? You may be a first-time buyer or seller, in search of an investment property or selling a fixer-upper. You will likely want representation from someone who has worked with others like you.
- Can you tell me why I should select you as my real estate agent? This is a good open-ended question that allows an agent to explain their own selling points. It can also give you an indication on how persuasive they can be in a "selling" situation.
- What marketing tools do you use in selling a property? Marketing is one of the best skills a real estate agent can have. You want an agent willing to commit to and demonstrate their capabilities in marketing your property efficiently. This includes superior photography, drones footage, and virtual tours. As for examples.
- What value-added services do you provide? Can they help in staging a home? Will they push it out on their social media? Will they contact you as frequently as you will like?
Beyond asking the above questions, you may want to get some references or testimonials. You may ask to see their social media they use for business purposes. You'll want to be cautious about hiring someone too close to you or as a favor to someone who just started in the business. You want to feel comfortable in working with this agent both as a professional and as a person. A real estate transaction is serious business, and as in any profession you want good, solid representation you can feel comfortable with.
These are five hypothetical agents anyone buying or selling a home should be on the lookout for, and ten questions to ask any real estate agent before hiring them. Of course, these traits aren't mutually exclusive, and there are may real estate agents out there who possess all of them — it's just a matter of keeping an eye out for them.