realtorYou’ve made the decision that you’re ready to look for a place.  Perhaps you’ve been to a couple of open houses or are spending a lot of time on MLS and other real estate sites to see what’s newly available in your most coveted neighbourhoods.  Once you’ve decided to go beyond window shopping it’s time to consider hiring some experts to make sure that you have the professional help you need.  There are several people who can help demystify this process for you including: your real estate agent, mortgage broker, lawyer and home inspector.  Making sure that you have a reliable person advocating for you and your home purchase is critical in making this important financial investment in your future.

Consider the following 6 Things when selecting the right Real Estate Agent to meet your home buying needs:

1.       One size does not fit all
Just like any business practitioner, real estate agents have various areas of expertise and focus.  Ideally you want an agent who has a breadth of experience in the areas and neighbourhoods that are important to you.  You want the agent to be an expert in the locations you are looking with information on historical sales, opportunities and potential risks in particular streets, buildings or areas.

2.       Remember you are not just a number
When looking for an agent, send out a number of email or calls asking the questions you want to know.  How promptly do they reply?  Do they really answer your questions or are you simply redirected to a website FAQ or given a template answer with little to no thought?  If this is how you are being treated when they are trying to earn your business, what will the service be like once you’ve signed on to work with them?

3.       The Importance of Personal Referrals
When you announce that you are looking or a property you will receive many suggestions from friends, family and acquaintances about their “buddy” the real estate agent.  Really dig to get genuine testimony when you are considering hiring the services of the friend of a friend to make sure this is a genuine referral.

4.       Non-Personal Referrals
Check in and see how other people (those you don’t know) feel about their experiences with this agent.  A little online research or a few phone calls can go a long way.

5.       The Personality Test
You will be spending a lot of time viewing properties of interest and waiting on pins and needles when you finally make an offer.  Are they the right fit for you?  Do you value their opinion?  Do they take your needs into consideration, or do they steamroll your suggestions?  Make sure that you think that this person will be someone who you want to spend a lot of time with, at times under very tense circumstances while you wait to sign a deal.

6.       Relying on the Agents Rate over Experience
A few expressions come to mind here…mainly, you get what you pay for and there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Don’t make the mistake of securing an agent purely based on their rate. Fit is far more important than price and could end up saving you more in the long run.