Most buyers and sellers know that they want to interview real estate agents but often aren’t sure how to do so and feel slightly awkward asking an agent to show their track record. There are close to sixty-thousand real estate agents in Toronto, and we’re not all equally capable or qualified. How do you wade through the decision of choosing the right agent? Here are our top four pieces of advice.
Do you like them?
It sounds silly but being comfortable with your agent is an essential part of working with an agent. Buying and selling homes can get quite emotional, and you can be in a vulnerable state during the process. If you don’t feel comfortable with your agent, you’ll have difficulty relying on their guidance when you’re already in a vulnerable state of mind. If you can imagine grabbing a coffee with your agent and enjoying their company, then you’re off to a good start. There are a lot of good agents in Toronto, but not all of them will be an excellent fit for you.
Do they know the neighbourhood that you want to buy or sell in?
Even the best real estate agent will be like a fish out of water in the wrong part of town. So ask your agent their track record in the specific neighbourhood you’re doing business in. Most successful Toronto real estate agents can seamlessly go between areas because chances are, they’ve done enough business in enough parts of town to be able to guide you properly. For example, we’re great at buying and selling in many parts of the GTA. But, if you want to buy or sell in Hamilton? We likely will feel that we can’t adequately advise you in that market and refer you to a different agent. This goes for out-of-town agents working in Toronto as well. Too often, we see a listing that otherwise would have sold quickly sit on the market because an agent from far outside of Toronto is listing the home and overprices it.
★ For more information on the real benefits of working with a qualified agent read:
- Four Characteristics of a Great Listing Agent
- Selling Privately vs. Listing With An Agent
- Selling Your Home With A Top Bosley Real Estate Agent
- 5 Characteristics of a Great Buyer Agent
Do they listen to you?
This process is about you. An excellent real estate agent listens more than they speak, especially at the beginning of the client-agent relationship. In your first meeting with your agent, do you feel that they listen to what you want? Asking you probing questions? Summarizing what you have said to be sure that they understand? Our job is often to correct our clients when they are wrong about the market or house value. However, we can’t correctly guide you if we don’t listen first to understand where you are coming from. Listening is also an excellent skill in negotiations. Therefore, you know if your agent is taking the time to listen to you, it also likely means that they’ll be intuitive negotiators.
Can they show their work?
It is more than OK to ask an agent to show you recent sales that they have done. They can’t disclose anything personal about their past clients, but they should be able to send you sold listings on deals where they represented the buyers or the sellers.
Can they answer tough questions?
Ask them their opinion on the market. How has COVID affected the market? Are prices going up or down? Should I buy now or wait a year? Anything you can think of. A good agent will have answers to these questions ready to go because it’s stuff that we think about all the time. If they don’t know the answer, they should tell you that honestly rather than try to cover up not knowing.
The most common method for hiring a real estate agent is through a referral from someone you already know. We feel fortunate that about 90% of our business is from past clients or client referrals. If someone you know and trust refers you to a real estate agent, the chances are good that you’ll have a great experience with them.
Please reach out if you have any questions.
As always, stay safe.
The Kim Kehoe Team