There are a lot of real estate agents out there, and it can be overwhelming deciding which one is right for you. But the right agent can make a huge difference in your home selling experience. The right agent can not only make the experience more pleasant, they will likely also be able to sell your house for more and in a shorter amount of time. To make the decision-making process easier, consider the following
- Check credentials: In Nova Scotia, in order to obtain a real estate license agents must pass the licensing course and exam with a minimum score of 70%, and provide the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission with a criminal record check. You can search agents' credentials on the Commission's website.
- Look up their other listings: It can be helpful to get an idea of how you listing may look, i.e. photos, video tours etc.
- What does Google say? The internet has a wealth of information about real estate agents and the agencies they work for. Look for websites that offer reviews from former clients.
Fit for the Team:
- Don’t speak to just one agent. Often it's not just about someone's qualification on paper, but also if they are a good "fit" for you; someone you can trust to handle one of the biggest transactions you will complete in your lifetime.
- Do they know the area?: Make sure to ask the agent if they have worked in, or are familiar with the area where you are looking to buy or sell. Even a good agent who is unfamiliar with the area may have a hard time getting you the best deal in a reasonable amount of time.
- Speak to former clients: ask the agent for references. Speaking with a former client can give you some insight into how the agent handles a transaction, and if they met all the needs of that client.
- Talk to other professionals. Has your mortgage broker or the lawyer you plan to use ever worked with the agent before. Both terrible and great agents can build a reputation very quickly. Wouldn’t you prefer to find out before you sign on the dotted line?
- Ask them about their sales strategy: Ask them for specifics about their plan for handling your transaction. In particular, ask what their marketing plan is? Will they be hosting an open house? Will they hire a stager and a professional photographer (and if so, are they paying or are you?)
- How much?: How much do they expect to sell your home for? Agents who give you a figure that is very high, or lowball for the lowest commission should be a red flag. While you want an agent who will get you a good deal, you also need someone who is pragmatic and understands the market in order to get it sold, or find you the right home for the right price.
- Are they full or part time agents? Ask how many homes they've sold in the past year in your price range. Find out what the turnaround time was on those sales and if there were homes the agent listed that never sold. Have the discussion with the agent
- How long have they been in the business?: Experience is an asset. Find out how long your agent has been working in the real estate business.
Buying or selling your home is one of the biggest transactions that the average Nova Scotian is going to complete during their lifetime. It's important to take the time to make sure that the person you hire to assist you is right for you.
If you questions related to this topic we'd be happy to help. You can call us at (902) 826-3070 to set up a meeting or contact us online. You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.
By: Briana C. O’Grady, J.D.– Associate Lawyer
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