With more than 13,500 REALTORS® in Greater Vancouver, finding the best real estate agent for you can be a tricky task.
During my 30 years in the real estate industry, I have observed that most people will do their due diligence when searching for an agent but there is one point in the decision making process where it all goes horribly wrong. More on that later. First, here are a few tips for finding a great agent to get your property sold.
Searching for an agent
- Ask friends and family for referrals. From there you will end up with a list of several agents to investigate further.
- Search for those agents online. Look for prizes and awards; things that make an agent stand out from the crowd. This is good evidence of experience, education, superior negotiation skills, quality marketing and a solid network.
- Check that they work in your area and price range to ensure that your listing gets the attention it deserves. Look at sites such as realtor.ca, remax.ca and rew.ca for their current listings. The agent’s own website will almost certainly highlight past sales as well.
- Check reviews on services such as Google Reviews, Facebook, Yelp and RankMyAgent. Do treat online reviews with scepticism as people tend to use these channels as a platform to vent if something went wrong. However, if there are lots of poor reviews that’s a bad sign.
- Check for licensing and any disciplinary action. The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is the regulatory body for all real estate agents in BC. Their website contains a licensee search tool and records of disciplinary decisions.
- Beware of part-time agents. Full-time professionals are more likely to be on top of the market, know their stuff, and offer a conscientious service.
Interviewing and making a selection
Now that you have your shortlist, contact each of those agents for an interview. You will want to find someone who you are comfortable working with.
Expect each agent to offer you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) with details of competing properties for sale, recent sales and homes that did not sell (expired listings).
It is only natural for people to believe that their property is worth more than it is. Herein lies the problem… This idea could be used as a strategy for an agent to gain your business.
The scenario: You sign a listing contract with expectations of a quick deal and big dollars, only to be left high and dry a couple of weeks later when your agent wants you to agree to a price reduction! Now you’ve missed out on all the initial interest that a well-priced new listing usually gets, and it’s an uphill battle from there. Potential buyers will wonder what’s wrong with the property if it’s been on the market for a while. Your home will take longer than usual to sell, and you risk seeing the contract through to expiry with no sale at all.
Don’t reward an agent who facilitates unrealistic expectations. Watch out for that red flag! Pay attention to the CMA’s that you are presented with, be pragmatic about your asking price and choose a REALTOR® who is working in your best interests to get the optimal price in the shortest amount of time.