Finding the right home starts with choosing the right realtor
If you’ve been paying attention to the Metro Vancouver housing market over the past few years, you’ve heard stories about bidding wars and multiple offers.
But the market seems to have quieted and we’re entering a buyers’ market. Prices are down and listings are up. There were more than 10,000 listings in Metro Vancouver at the beginning of the year compared to previous years with anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000.
“It’s a calmer time that provides greater opportunity to choose the right home and that starts with choosing the right realtor,” says Phil Moore, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
“Buyers have more time to find the right realtor to help them do their due diligence and advise them throughout the process.”
This includes getting a building inspection, soliciting quotes for repairs, reviewing bylaws and researching the schools, amenities and demographics of a neighbourhood.
“Realtors facilitate. They can help you get the information you need to advance through each stage with confidence,” Moore says. “They are your trusted advisors throughout the home buying or selling process, looking out for your best interest.”
Here are five steps to help you find the right realtor for you, presented in partnership with REBGV.
1. Seek referrals
Ask people you trust about who they’ve worked with before. Referrals speak volumes.
Moore suggests asking your friends or family a few important questions:
- Was there good communication?
- How did they handle the paperwork?
- What was their marketing strategy?
- Did you fully understand everything before you signed?
- How did they handle pressure situations?
Keep in mind that just because your cousin clicked with their realtor doesn’t mean you will.
“The home buying or selling process can be emotional and stressful, and people handle it differently,” Moore says. “So the type of realtor someone needs depends on the individual. It’s important to have the right fit from a personality perspective, a communication perspective and an expertise perspective.”
2. Understand your needs
Are you a savvy real estate investor or a first-time buyer? People have different needs when it comes to support from their realtor, and knowing what you require is an important first step.
When you’re reaching out to prospective realtors, communicate your level of knowledge and experience so you can find the right representation.
3. Look for a realtor with the right specialties
Many realtors specialize in certain neighbourhoods and property types. Having one with expertise in the areas you’re interested in offers advantages.
Looking for a loft in Yaletown? Stroll through the neighbourhood and take note of the for sale signs.
4. Interview a few realtors
You’re the hiring manager, so draw up a shortlist of candidates and interview them. Reach out to the realtors you’re interested in and set up calls or in-person meetings.
Moore suggests asking them about their expertise, marketing skills, education and training.
You can also take a page from the job interview book and ask situational question such as, “Tell me about a time when you successfully negotiated for your client?”
Treat the process of hiring a realtor like hiring employees for your team. Ask questions, set your expectations and get to know each other.
Just like the interview process for a job, it’s important to check references. Realtors should be prepared to provide you with contact information for past clients who are willing to discuss their experiences.
5. Find someone you trust
Your realtor should be open, accessible and inspire trust. They should be available to give you the advice you need when you need it.
“It’s important to understand that when you’re working with a realtor, they are professionally and legally duty bound to always work in your best interest,” Moore says.
“Buying or selling a home is a significant decision, and working with a realtor is a critical first step. Take the time to make your decision,” Moore says. “Follow these steps and you’ll feel comfortable and confident in your home buying or selling journey.”