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Finding Good Real Estate Agent

Whether you're looking to buy or sell your home, a good real estate agent is essential – and can be hard to find. Here are the top 10 things to look for in a potential agent.

Tell Me About Yourself
This open-ended question opens the floor to bragging rights. What you want to hear: how long the agent's been practicing, his best sale, how he refers to past clients, a sense of professionalism and the ability to be honest with you. Once the agent's done boasting, ask him to send you information about his business. You'll see how quickly he responds to your request and how professional the brochure is (which will give you an idea what your sell sheet will look like if you're selling your home).

Selling Skills
How many homes has the agent listed and sold in the last six months? This question will tell you where the agent's strength lies – in helping clients buy or sell homes – and his rate of success.

Home Sense
Does the agent excel in helping clients buy or sell homes? Do they know the starter-condo market or the 18th century, multi-million-dollar estate market? What type of home did he last buy or sell?

Location, location, location
What area of the city is the agent most familiar with? You want an agent who knows the neighbourhood you're looking to buy or sell in.

Organizations & Affiliations
There are more than a dozen organizations and qualifications a Canadian real estate agent can hold. Find out how many your agent belongs to (since they can be a great source of networking, they can also be an indicator of the number of people your agent knows. More acquaintances can translate into a bigger turnout at your open house).

Tip: Want to check up on an agent? Visit (the Real Estate Institute of Canada) to do a name search of an agent’s qualifications and affiliations.

Ask for three references. This will give you key information: how quickly the agent offers up three sources, how long ago these people were clients, what type of home they were buying/selling and what their experiences were like with the agent.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?
Does the agent practice full-time or on the side of another job? Will he be available to show your home to potential buyers or show you homes when it’s convenient for you – or will you have to rearrange your schedule for him?

Find out who the agent sees as his main competition. What sets him apart? You’ll learn not only other agents to contact for comparison, but how each agent responds to this question – positively or negatively and whether the other agents are selling/showing homes in the area you’re interested in.

What’s the Plan?
Whether you’re buying or selling, your agent-to-be should have a plan (open house, public or private open house, appointments, number of viewings a day). Whether you want to look at a new home every time one is available, or save up six for a Saturday morning, your agent and you should be on the same planning page. If you’re not, tell him what you want or look for a different agent.

Money Matters
How does the agent respond to your budget requirements or desired price for the home you’re selling? A good agent will understand your needs, offer his advice (he should know whether your expectations are realistic) and then support you (not telling you to say yes to the first offer if you’re not happy with it). Be wary of an agent who looks too eager to make a quick sale. A good agent will want to build a solid relationship with you, so that you call him when you want to buy or sell your next home.



I have all heard that the key to selling a home is location  - location - location. This is true to the extent that the better the location the greater the number of potential buyers. The greater the number of potential buyers the faster a home should sell. However, location means very little unless the home is in good condition and it is priced correctly.

Condition has to do with the normal maintenance. Would you buy a new home if you had to paint it when you moved in? Not likely! You only get one first impression and when it comes to selling your home you only get one impression. If the home is not desirable it will not sell unless it is advertised as a handyman’s special. Your home should be clean, bright, and well kept. Do these things and potential buyers will notice.

Price is the most important factor. If the price is not in line with the homes fair market value it will not sell. Every homeowner has a special pride of ownership which can allow them to fall pray to agents who overstate a properties value to obtain a listing. Buyer's survey the market, look at what is available, and buy the best value in their price range. The seller is selling a home while the buyer is buying a house. A good Realtor® will know the value of a home, what is selling, and will offer you advice on how to price your home. When a buyer comes into town they should be pre-qualified to a price point. Buyers normally do not look at a home that is listed for more than 5% above their ability to buy. If your price is not realistic (within 5% of what it should sell for), most potential buyers will not even see your home.

Pick the best broker to sell your house. There is a reason that 7% do 85% of the total business.

As you drive around your area you will see many for sale signs. A good Realtor's® signs will not stay up long. The Realtor's® job is to help you present and market your home. This means advising you on what to do each step of the way. A good Realtor® provides you with feedback from each potential buyer. If the price is out of line they will tell you. If something needs fixing potential buyers will notice and tell your Realtor® who should tell you. That sign in your yard is an advertisement that you want to sell your property. Within a few weeks you should have an offer or the information you need to obtain an offer – providing you act on the feedback you receive. If your home is still on the market after six months, you have to ask yourself if the Realtor® is working for you or is your front yard simply a place the broker has placed a billboard. Your goal is to sell your house, not to advertise the broker – pick one that puts the emphasis on U.


How to Find a Good Realtor

Realtors come in handy when you want to sell off your property or look for new properties to buy. They're the 'middlemen' who promotes your house to a potential buyer with all the impressive professional info, rather than a measly do-it-yourself sign in front of your house saying 'House for Sale'. Yea, it sounds not really very appealing. Hence, you would prefer to find a good realtor if you want your property to get the best deals possible.

First off, you may want to ensure you contract a realtor who's authorized under a recognized board of realtors. Although being a registered realtor does not guarantee perfect ethics, but at least you have a minimum sense of assurance that they are subjected to the realtor's code of ethics and standard. And how does this concern you? Well, you definitely need a realtor who's not prone to swallow some of your rightful profits along the sales process, right?

And when your friends recommend some particular realtors, take heed. Live testimonials speak volumes compared to flashy advertisements. Another way is to look at open-houses and pay attention to the realtor's performance in promoting the houses. If you feel tempted to buy the house the realtor was promoting (even if you did not intend to buy), then obviously the realtor is a really good one. You should also keep track of 'For sale' signs in your neighbourhood. Don't bother looking for the nicest ad, but instead focus on the realtors whose 'for sale' signs are taken down the fastest. Remember you are trying to sell a house, not attractive 'for sale' signs!

Of course, choose realtors who are familiar with your neighbourhood. No point getting a convincing agent who could even sell ice to a polar bear, only to have the polar bear come back for refunds due to false representations. So make sure the realtor you contract is a real estate agent will be able to both sell your property and keep it sold!