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Finding the Right Realtor

5 Surefire Tips to Find the Best Realtor

If market conditions are right and you decide to sell your home, you’ll need a trusted realtor who will work for you. With these simple and effective steps I’ll show you how to find a trusted and most important person to help you with your real estate transaction. You see, not all real estate agents are created equal and not all of them are realtors. Let me show you how to find the best fit for you. You may ask why give away this information rather than just promote myself? Because each realtor works in a particular geography. These tips work for everyone and, I would only promote myself if you had a house to buy or sell in my real estate geography. The chances are that you don’t.

Qualify Referrals from Friends

With so many real estate agents out there, how do you choose? Ask your friend for referrals, but beware of choosing a realtor based purely on referral. You should select a realtor who is very familiar with your area, not just what they can just look up online. If they have spent time marketing houses in your area previously then you will want to put them on your shortlist. Because they will know what works well in that area.

Ask your friends specifically if they know a real estate agent who has sold any properties in YOUR area in the past couple of years.

Test Their Response Time

Once you have selected a potential realtor you want to work with, email or call their office and await a reply. You are checking to see how responsive they are. Ideally, she should get back to you that same day.

Generally, no response after 4 hours is cause for caution. Too many elements of real estate are time sensitive i.e. competing offers or home inspection issues, so you want a realtor who is in constant contact with you and has your interests as a top priority.

Qualify Their Experience

Since you’re essentially hiring an agent to work in your best interests think of it as an interview. Ask them interview questions. Try to determine how they’re answering the questions. Are they deflecting the question and not answering? Are they unsure of their answers? Are they not comfortable answering the questions?

Ask them:

How long have you been selling and buying houses as a realtor? Aim for Realtors with at least 5 years of experience, enough time to really understand their business and optimize their marketing and selling plans.
How many houses did you sell last year? Try to look for agents who sell 30 or more properties a year
What percentage of your listings do you sell? Ideally you want an agent who has sold an average of 60% to 80%.
What is the average list price to actual sell price ratio for your listings? This can fluctuate by market, but you should still look for roughly a 95% minimum in the worst case scenario.

Ask About Their Marketing Plan

It’s common knowledge that to sell a house quickly and get closest to your asking price, you need to reach as large and audience as you can. The way to determine if your an agent can do that is to ask these questions:

How will you market my home? A Realtor should use at least a good brokerage website to showcase your listing, national listing portals such as realtor.ca, and an email subscription list.
How will you use social media? They should use at least Facebook to market listings.
What offline materials do you use? While most marketing is done online now, your Realtor should still make use of tried-and-true methods such as fliers, yard signs, and brochures, especially at an open house.
How much do you spend on advertising? Their answer should be a dollar figure. Advertising costs will vary widely by area, but Realtors should consistently spend a portion of their business expenses on advertising. If you don’t get a dollar amount, you’ll know if they’re doing that or not.

Don’t Choose the Cheapest Realtor

Like anything, you get what you pay for. The least expensive realtor will not be spending the required amount of money to promote and market your house. Although this is not cut and dry, ask for a discount and see what their answer is. If they reason that it’s not typical to do that as it undermines their quality then they are a safe bet. If they jump at the chance immediately without offering a reason that could be a red flag. A realtor should be confident enough about their services to stand by their fees because if they can’t even negotiate to justify and protect their own money, it’s unlikely they will work to protect yours. It’ll be a test of confidence in their own services at least.

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