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How to Find the Right Agent For You

 Sellers | 9 minute read
If you are in the Cowichan Valley area and are thinking of selling your home in the near future, you are probably faced with the question of whom you should list with. Do you list with the agent who's got all the for-sale signs in the area? Do you choose the agent your colleague at work ‘used’? What about the agent that keeps sending you notepads and generic flyers in the mail, promising that they have a buyer for homes just like yours?
At the end of the day, everyone seems to be promising the same thing, but how do you really know?
In this article, I’d love to help you get some clarity on this question by providing you with a few simple questions I would ask a potential real estate agent candidate I was considering hiring - knowing what I know now and assuming I wasn’t in real estate myself. I know it’s kind of a different angle than you might have expected!

Before I do, here are a few points to consider:

- Never choose an agent based on list price or commission percentage. Unfortunately, some agents engage in activities known as ‘buying the listing,’ meaning they intentionally inflate the suggested list price and cut their commission in order to get the listing ... with the intention of asking for a price reduction later. Especially in a market like we are having right now, many sellers are still somewhat out of touch with the reality that prices really have come down, and what homes used to sell for a few months ago just isn’t the case anymore. You might find yourself in a really unfortunate predicament if you decide to listen to someone who will tell you what you want to hear instead of telling you the truth.

- Don’t be fooled by the number of signs one particular agent might have in your area, and pay very close attention to the number of properties that agent is actually selling. You want a quality agent, not a quantity one.

- The ideal scenario would be a referral by someone whom you completely trust. Raving fans speak louder than any amount of self-promotion ever could. The only thing I would be careful about is the area of expertise. If you hire an agent who comes highly recommended but has never sold a house outside of Victoria, I’d probably look for a local professional who understands the area.

Now that you have short-listed the potential candidates, here’s how to find the real deal. Some of these questions may seem ‘generic,’ but remember; it’s the right answer you’re after.

1. "Why should I list my property with you?"

Listen carefully. Is your candidate talking about me, myself, and I ... or are they explaining how they will get YOU results and asking questions to understand YOUR true goals?

2. "What’s your marketing strategy?"

This is another ‘generic’ question, but an interesting one nonetheless. Listing it on the MLS, putting up a for-sale sign, and waiting for a buyer to show up … is not a strategy.  

3. "How long have you been working as an agent?"

Be careful here. Having been in the industry for 55 years isn’t necessarily an asset. You want an agent who has been working long enough to have developed skill and expertise (or is teaming up with someone who has) but is not out of touch with the ever-changing world of technology and marketing.

4. "Out of curiosity, how many different brokerages have you worked at so far?”

We're digging deeper with this one. This may sound odd, if an agent has a ‘hopper pass’ and is moving from one place to another ... are they going to be mature, professional, skilled at building and maintaining relationships and committed to you as a client long term? 

5. "What is your average list to sales price ratio?"

This will show how well your agent candidate knows his or her numbers and, more importantly, will give you a pretty good idea of what results to expect. Make sure they back it up.

6. "How long, on average, does it take for your listings to sell?"

This question is related to question #1 and is equally important. Talk, after all, is cheap.

7. "Will you reduce your commission if the property sells fast?”

Oh, this one is important. You're paying for a result, not a timeline. Do you really want to have to keep your house spotless and be disrupted for showings for a longer time period? What would you say if you did a great job on a project at work and finished it twice as fast as expected and your boss asked if you would take less pay for it? You are not going to get a “Yes” to this question from a quality, skilled gent. Why? Well, if they are that quick to give up their pay, how skilled do you think they are at negotiating?

8. "What happens if I’m not satisfied with your service?"

Can the listing contract be withdrawn if you change your mind about selling? Can you transfer the contract to another brokerage if you’re not satisfied with the current agent’s performance or service? Absolutely! A good agent will want what's best for you and will openly discuss your options and rights.

As you consider all these points, I actually saved the best one for last.

9. Pay very close attention to your potential agent’s personality style. 

A World-Class Agent will be able to easily adapt not only to your style but also to that of your prospective buyers. If your personalities are clashing already or you feel rushed, pressured, or talked ‘into’ …, be careful. 

You want someone who is professional, intuitive, patient, knowledgable, and pleasant. You want a World-Class Agent. After all ... selling your home is a pretty big deal. With a World Class Agent, there will be no confusion, guessing games, or overwhelm though your selling process. 

I hope this has been helpful to you, and if you're out here in the Cowichan Valley area and are thinking of selling or know anyone who is, feel free to reach out and let's have a conversation! I just might be able to give you some pretty good answers to the above questions! ;)
© 2022 - Current by Loralee Burns, 460 Realty, 102 - 626 1st Ave, Ladysmith, BC. All Rights Reserved. All information provided is deemed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. It is represented subject to errors, omissions, changes, or withdrawal without notice. MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. Not intended to solicit properties currently listed for sale.