Search Engine, Search Engine ... Find me a Realtor!!!
In this day of the information super-highway a.k.a. the Internet, many people start by embarking on an information quest with the almighty Search Engine. They search terms like "Calgary Real Estate" and "Calgary Realtor" only to find there are several thousand Realtors serving Calgary - over 4600 in fact and many have impressive personal websites!
Now instead of asking "Where will I find one?" you are asking yourself: "How am I going to pick one???"
Of course several have positioned themselves in the top 20 of search engine listings, but does this mean they know how to sell your home? Or better still, how to relate to you - their client? So now what?
To put yourself in the position of being able to confidently choose, here is a plan for what you must do!
Begin by asking yourself what you want out of the individual Realtor, besides the obvious desire to find someone to sell your home. Do you need to feel important in the process? Does personal service or a name brand impress you? Are you looking for experience, integrity and accountability? What are the commissions?
Above all, you need to like and feel comfortable with your agent, no matter what. You need to trust this person and not be sold under pressure or emotion. You need to be able to ask questions and get answers. This is your home, you need a Realtor who can and will work with your needs and on your terms. Your Realtor brings the expertise, but he or she must also be flexible enough to tailor the process to suit you and your home.
Start by asking friends and relatives if they can recommend anyone. Satisfied customers are a Realtor's most valuable source of new business and many rely strictly on referrals when building their business. They have worked hard for someone else, it stands to reason you can expect the same treatment!
From there, turn to the Internet or phone book to make a short, random list of potential candidates. When searching online, keep in mind - Real Estate has a specific word in it: "Real", not "Virtual". Despite the advantages technology provides our industry and the prevalent on-line presence, very few homes are actually sold strictly online, so why pick a Realtor this way? You really do need to speak to several and ultimately feel comfortable communicating with the one you choose.
Narrow your list of potential Realtors down to 3 or 4 (max) and book appointments for each to come to your home and present you with a Market Evaluation. This is the interview process and not an opportunity for anyone to pressure you into making a decision before you are ready!
Here are 9 questions to keep in mind when interviewing, add as many to the list as you like.
1) How long have they been licensed in Calgary? There are hundreds of brand new, inexperienced Realtors licensed in Calgary each year. You are not out of line to inquire how much actual experience a Realtor has before you agree to entrust this candidate with the sale of your home.
2) How does this Realtor make YOU feel? Are they playing with your emotions? Are you feeling pressured? Intimidated? Are you being given the opportunity to think and absorb the information?
3) Can you trust the Realtor 100%? If you are unable to trust him or her, this is a serious problem.
4) What kind of service will you get? Hiring an agent who works as a large team usually means you get assistants, not the person you hired. If your Realtor is planning to "hand you off" to one of the "specialists" working for him or her, interview the "specialist" before you commit.
5) What are the commissions? This varies depending on each agent - keep in mind you get what you pay for! Discount means Discount no matter how it is presented.
6) How are you going to be kept informed of your listing and other current activity in your community? Communication is the key to any healthy relationship, this is no different between you and your Realtor.
7) Has the Realtor provided you with proof and documentation to back up their price recommendations? If your listing is over priced - even a little, means your home will be on the market for much longer than the average. Accurate pricing is critical.
8) "Guaranteed Sold In 90 Days or I'll Buy It" - Being fooled by guarantees can cost you thousands of dollars, be absolute sure of your choices and decisions.
9) How do they intend to Market your Home? - A Realtor should have a comprehensive marketing plan they are willing to share with you. Do not be afraid to ask them to put it in writing!
There are many variables to keep in mind when hiring a Real Estate Professional, not just what is stated here. You will have your own requirements too. Your home is one of the biggest investments of your life. As with all investments, research is critical. Take your time and find the right agent for you. The last thing you need during the emotional process of selling your home is an unhappy relationship between you and your Realtor.