How Will I Choose?

When it comes time to sell your home, the choice to work with a REALTOR® should be an easy one. We use professionals from all walks of life to help us with different things we come across, from lawyers to mechanics. The question that is a little bit harder is how should you go about choosing a Realtor to work with?

This week I'm going to throw out some tips and suggestions on how to go about choosing a Realtor to work with.

Mistakes To Avoid

There are two very common mistakes that people make when selecting a Realtor that are really important to avoid:

  1. Choosing A Realtor Because They Have Lowest Commission
    Sure, having to pay less to sell your home is great, but choosing a Realtor solely on the fact that you will pay less then if you list with other Realtors is not a good way to choose. You want to ensure that the Realtor you choose brings a complete set of skills and knowledge to the table, not just a cheap commission rate, otherwise the money you saved in commission could be lost through poor marketing, or negotiation.
  2. Choosing A Realtor Because They Agree With Your Suggested Listing Price
    Again, it is great if you and your Realtor see eye-to-eye on the price in which your home should list for, but if that is the case, your Realtor should have data to back up their opinion. If a Realtor you are speaking to seems a little too eager to know what you want to list for, or came to the appointment with no comparable sales, that may be a good indication to be suspicious of their strategy. While hearing you can list at the price you thought is great, it won't be if that price isn't accurate and results in your home getting stale on the market and having to do several price drops.

Questions To Ask Your Potential Realtor

While there are lots of questions that you can ask a Realtor that you are considering hiring, I'm just going to focus on a few that I think are really good ones. These should be easily answerable if they are prepared and really want to work for you, and not just grab an easy listing.

  1. How Do You Come To A Listing Price?
    I've covered my process for pricing a property in a previous blog post (http://www.century21.ca/mike.lalonde/blog/The_Price_is_Right_338199) and I believe this is a key competent to selecting a Realtor. When you meet with a Realtor at a listing appointment, they should come prepared with their pricing strategy ready to explain. If the circumstances allow it, they could already have a listing price suggestion ready, with the research to back it up. If the answer to this question is long explanation with no substance, then I say that's a good indication to keep talking to other Realtors.
  2. Do You Have Any References or Testimonials?
    There are many different ways that a Realtor should be able to show you the quality of work they have done in the past and one is references/testimonials. We use a service called realsatisfied (you can find my ratings and testimonials here: http://www.realsatisfied.ca/Mike-Lalonde), that sends a survey to my clients after the sale of their home to rate their satisfaction. However the Realtors you are talking with choose to do it, they should all have some references from people they have worked with that they can provide you. If not, ask them why.
  3. What is Your Marketing Strategy?
    This is really important if you ask me. You want to know that the Realtor you decide to list your home with has a strategy for how your home will be marketed. With so many different ways to create visibility in today's marketplace, you want to work with someone that understands the intricacies of social media, online advertising and how to create maximum exposure. A Realtor who is prepared to get your listing will be able to clearly articulate their methods for promoting your home. 
  4. Do You Represent Buyers and Sellers On The Same Transaction?
    The old "double ending" question. For some Realtors that partake in this practice, this question will be a tough answer. It's my opinion that this almost always leads to a situation where there is a conflict of interest for the Realtor (I've voiced my opinion on this one recently: http://www.century21.ca/mike.lalonde/blog/Double_Trouble). If you ask me, if the answer to this question is yes, then it's time to move to the next Realtor. Despite what someone may tell you, if done ethically, there is practically no advantage for either clients in a "double end" transaction, but plenty of benefit for the Realtor.

There's four quick questions that you can ask any Realtor that you are thinking about working with that will give you some idea of what they are all about. Like I said above, there are obviously many other questions to ask, but I think these four cut right to the chase on some issues. 

Another important factor in choosing a Realtor is that you are able to relate to them. Does their personality mesh with yours? The reality is, if you're not able to have an easy, and casual conversation with your Realtor about life in general, then you have to ask yourself how smoothly conversations will go when they involve getting your home sold. In the end, you want to be working with someone that you feel comfortable enough with to be able to tackle any problems that may occur.

Thanks for reading!

Mike

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