How to Find a Realtor – Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Why Your Realtor Matters
Choosing the right realtor can help ensure you get the right house at the right price. You want an Ontario real estate agent whose attitude and availability inspire your trust. Start by seeing who’s most active in your neighbourhood. An agent who makes regular sales calls and keeps you informed of listings and sales in your area probably pursues business aggressively.
Find agents online by using search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Some good search terms to give you a start could be:
- Toronto real estate agent
- London realtor
- Ottawa real estate broker
- Windsor property search
- …and so on
Be sure to replace these city names with your city, town, or even neighbourhood.
Set up appointments with a few agents from different companies and assess their presentations. Are they prepared? Have they done their homework in advance? Do they demonstrate a deep understanding of the local real estate market, be it Toronto, London, Ottawa, or other Ontario community? Be sure to ask if the realtor is acting for a vendor or for you. Work with someone you relate to, with whom you have some chemistry, and who offers excellent service and value. Do not settle – for this will be one of your largest purchases you will make.
Here’s a checklist of some questions to ask potential realtors before deciding which is right for you:
Ask to see a personal brochure or resume. Look for experience in your area, in your price range, and letters of reference.
How many properties have they sold in the last 3 months? How do they rank among peers? How many current listings do they have? What has their ranking been over the last 5 years? Where does their company rank in sales and market share?
Ask how they’ll approach your home search. Will they only rely on MLS listings, or do they have other sources of homes to show you? Are they willing to change their strategy to adapt to market conditions?
Length of time for search
How long do they think it’ll take? What’s the average length of time in your area and in the current market?
What’s the current selling price versus asking price in your area and in the current market? Is their personal sell vs. ask price better than average?
Ask whether they have support people to assist in the process. This also gives you an additional contact should you need it.
Do they prefer to pre-book viewing excursions or are they able to show you listings as they become available?
Do they have any special affiliations or packaged discount programs with other corporations that can save you money on your mortgage, moving costs, or on purchases for your new home?
Consider transportation, distance to work, and proximity to schools, daycare, recreational facilities, shopping, healthcare, and so on. If the listing realtor claims “10 minutes to downtown,” ask them to quantify with specifics.
Find a real estate agent whose attitude and availability inspire your trust. Start by seeing who’s most active in your neighbourhood. An agent who makes regular sales calls and keeps you informed of listings and sales in your area probably pursues business aggressively.
Making Home Hunting Fun
There’s no shortage of information available to help you make an informed purchase decision. Lenders, as well as CMHC, the Canadian Bankers’ Association, the Ontario Real Estate Association, and the Home Builders’ Association, among others, have information to make home hunting stress-free and fun. Visit their websites for more information.
Take the guesswork out of shopping for a home by taking advantage of professional resources available to guide you through the many choices available when purchasing your first home.