If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’re probably considering whether or not you want to enlist some help securing a home. Sure, you may be able to find some options on your own, but that’s the easy part. Who’s going to help you with the yet-to-hit-the-market listings, the scheduled showings, the negotiations, and learning about different neighbourhoods and true market value? A real estate agent, that’s who. Here are some tips from Canadian Living to help you find a good one.
- Time and expertise
Real estate agents are a dime a dozen, but a good agent has lots of expertise under his/her belt. You want an agent who has experience buying the type of home that you’re looking for (condominium, detached, etc.), and who has plenty of years in the industry so that their connections to other agents and professionals in the industry is well-established and in good standing. Real estate agents can be a good resource when trying to find a mortgage broker or a home inspector, for example, and you want someone with those kinds of connections that you can use to your advantage.
- Location, location, location
Your brother-in-law may be a fantastic real estate agent in your town, but if you’re looking to buy a home in the next town over then you might want to reconsider using him for this home purchase. You want to use a real estate agent who knows the area where you want to live, and who ideally is involved in the community; someone who knows the streets, the atmosphere, what’s standard or not in the homes that you’re looking to buy, and how well they’re priced. If necessary, they should be able to help you determine where you want to live, something that is especially important if you’re moving from a different town, city, province, or country.
- The right tech tools
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ may be something that a seasoned real estate agent takes to heart, but a real estate agent who hasn’t embraced the digital age may not be as connected with their clients and their community as they could be, or missing out on certain opportunities. It could also mean that they’re not as open to communicating instantaneously in a method that you prefer. Check out their website and social media profiles, and if you prefer communication via text or email as opposed to constant phone calls, for example, make sure that they’re able to deliver.
- Personal fit
Just because a real estate agent does a lot of deals doesn’t automatically mean that they’re the right real estate agent for you. Some agents may be pushier than you’re comfortable with, some may be more passive than you need, and some, frankly, you just may not like on a personal level. That’s okay – you might be working with this person for a long time, you want them to really get you and understand your needs and the needs of your family. You might have to chat with a few to see if they’re a good fit for you. Remember, they’re working for you, not the other way around.