There are many real estate agents out there and finding the right one can be a daunting task. Even the titles themselves can be confusing: agents, brokers, salespeople, and REALTORS®. Real estate agents help to guide you through the buying and selling process. In British Columbia, they hold licenses from the Real Estate Council of BC and they are REALTORS®, and they are members of the professional associations of REBGV, BCREA, and the CREB.
Brokers are people who are legally responsible for their agents, are licensed by the province to collect fees and oversee negotiations for a transaction. Brokers or realtors manage a real estate office, work on their own, or operate in an office under another broker.
REALTORS® are brokers and agents who belong to the British Columbia Real Estate Board BCREA.ca, and the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board (REBGV.org) – which are professional associations with a code of ethics and standards.
A license to practice real estate does not guarantee that a real estate professional is the right person to help guide you through the sale or buyer process. You have to find the right fit. Are they experienced? Have they bought and sold multiple homes? Do they know how to write contracts? Are they skilled negotiators? Have they completed commercial and residential real estate transactions?
1. Assessing their Specialty
A lot is at stake in a real estate transaction – money, time, the future of your family’s happiness. So finding a qualified REALTOR® is important. Remember that a REALTOR® must have local knowledge. This is a no-brainer, because buying, selling, or leasing a property is an anxious experience, and you want an agent who responds quickly. You want someone who has your best interests at heart and who specializes in those transactions.
2. Referrals and References
Past clients can tell you a lot about the integrity and skill of a REALTOR®. Remember to ask everyone you know for a referral: friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors. Listen carefully to the assessments, and ask questions – did the closing go smoothly? Did the agent help solve any problems?
3. Meet with Them
Meet with the agent in person and ask these questions:
- How long have you been licensed?
- What percentage of your business is working with buyers, sellers, tenants, or landlords?
- How familiar are you with the area I want to buy or sell a home?
- Do you have references from other buyers who have used your service?
4. Evaluate an Agent’s Listings
This is trickier than it sounds. You want a potential listing agent to be successful and have lots of satisfied customers. On the other end of the spectrum, the more listings an agent has, the more divided his or her attention will be.
Take Ashley Smith, for example, she’s very good at getting results for her clients, and the above listings are just a set of sample sales from the summer. When evaluating a realtor, remember that look over the previous or current listings, because these will reflect the type of experience the REALTOR® has. Are they organized? Do they work in a team?
5. Ask How they Handle High-Stress and Problem Situations
Fact: The way an agent handles themselves during negotiations can make or break a deal. If you feel that your agent is confident enough to turn down a deal they believe is not in your best interest, that’s a great sign. A good agent knows how to understand the parties needs and how to bring a deal together while remaining transparent.
Don’t Skip Any Steps
Remember, your real estate agent will be with you for weeks or even months – take the time to meet them at their office and remember that this relationship could last six months or more. You will be in touch many times each day throughout this process, and this is a big decision. Plus, if you find an agent who is the right fit and produces the right results, you can always call on them to help in your next transaction. The agent you choose will make all the difference.