What to look for in a real estate agent

April 12, 2018

Spring has sprung, and with it a flock of for sale signs have appeared in every neighbourhood. Whether you are selling in order to upsize or downsize, a critical decision that can ensure your house sells at the right price within a reasonable period of time is a great real estate agent.

Home purchases and sales are for most people among the most significant financial transactions they are ever involved in. Therefore, a difference of even 0.5 per cent in real estate commission can significantly impact the amount you actually realize on the sale of your property.

First and foremost, you must be comfortable with your real estate agent and feel confident he/she is acting in your best interest. It is typically preferable not to have the buyer and the seller represented by the same agent. You may meet an agent you like at an open house or be referred by a friend or family member who has been satisfied with his/her services.

In a recent video interview on the Global News Morning Show Sean Cooper identifies online sources such as realtor.ca and feeduck.com to help you with your search.

Realtor.ca is owned and operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), The site which is accessible online and on mobile devices is popular with sellers, buyers and renters. Features such as the mortgage calculator, social sharing, neighborhood demographics, and ability to connect with local realtors, are all available to assist you.

FeeDuck is a real-time auction that connects you with professional real estate agents who bid down their commissions, or bid up your buyer cash back offer. You are not obligated to sign with the agent – this is simply an introduction based on the criteria you entered. There is also no cost to the home seller or home buyer. You can find a series of frequently asked questions about feeDuck here.

Here are 20 questions to ask a prospective real estate agent before you sign the listing agreement on the dotted line:

  1. Are you a full time real estate agent?
  2. How many clients are you currently working with?
  3. How long have you been working in my neighbourhood?
  4. How many homes have you listed/sold in the last year?
  5. How long do your listings remain on the market?
  6. What professional credentials do you have?
  7. How will you market my home for my best advantage?
  8. Will you hold open houses? Public, broker only or by appointment?
  9. How do you plan to advertise my home?
  10. How will you help me stage my home?
  11. How will you arrive at the listing price?
  12. Can you provide a comparative market assessment?
  13. What’s your sold-to-list-price ratio?
  14. Can you give me some references?
  15. When does the listing agreement begin and end?
  16. What happens if my home does not sell in the specified time?
  17. What happens if I change my mind about selling my home?
  18. What are your commission fees?
  19. Do I need to consider any other fees or charges?
  20. What makes you different than anyone else?

Also see:
26 questions to ask your Real Estate Professional before you sign on the dotted line
How to Interview a Real Estate Agent
10 questions to ask when hiring a real estate professional
7 questions to ask a real estate agent before you commit


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Written by Sheryl Smolkin
Sheryl Smolkin LLB., LLM is a retired pension lawyer and President of Sheryl Smolkin & Associates Ltd. For over a decade, she has enjoyed a successful encore career as a freelance writer specializing in retirement, employee benefits and workplace issues. Sheryl and her husband Joel are empty-nesters, residing in Toronto with their cockapoo Rufus.
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1 thought on “What to look for in a real estate agent

  1. It’s good to learn that you should check to see what credentials a real estate agent has before hiring them. My wife and I are wanting to find a new home to live in and we were wondering who we should hire to help us look for a new home. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should look for a real estate agent that has professional credentials.

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