How to pick a winner

How to select your real estate agent

The right real-estate agent knows the market and can get you the best price, not the one who promises you the highest price just to get you to list with them.

The agent brings the market to you. The market brings your price.

Many of the same questions, hesitations and strategies connected with seeking out professional assistance in any field — whether you're looking for a doctor, dentist, lawyer or accountant — come into play when you're selecting a real estate agent.

Some people find an agent through a family member or friend, which is often a reliable approach.

But you might not always find the most appropriate assistance this way. And in a transaction as significant and intensive as buying and selling a home, that can be critical.

A referral from a family member or friend doesn't guarantee a perfect match. Just think of something as simple as a movie or restaurant recommendation.

Your close friends rave about a new Chinese food place downtown, so you check it out. Could this possibly be the same restaurant they were describing?

Mediocre service. No chopsticks. Bland flavours. It's the same restaurant. Same cook. Same waiters. Just different perceptions.

Regardless of how you get an agent's name, it might be worth interviewing at least a couple before you make a final decision — or, at least, arming yourself with some criteria to go over with any agent who has been recommended to you.

A few things to look for:

  • If you're looking for an agent to list your home, be wary of anyone who suggests they can get an unreasonably high sales price.
  • An agent might use a high listing price to secure a contract, only to seek a lower price later, after little traffic is generated at the initial price level.

Meanwhile, you've lost what can be the most critical period in selling a home — the first weeks immediately after it's listed.

Check on experience and productivity. As with most professions, experience pays in Okanagan real estate.

Experienced agents know the market and the marketing process. They'll have the best chance of quickly and smoothly helping you to buy or put up your Okanagan home for sale.

The number of transactions an agent is handling monthly or yearly is going to give you an indication of how committed that agent is to the profession.

  • Is the agent a part-timer who's just dabbling in real estate sales
  • is the agent a full-time professional whose livelihood depends entirely on an ability to successfully and repeatedly negotiate win-win real estate transactions?

If you're a buyer, does the agent offer buyer agency? More and more customers are deciding they want full and fair representation on the same level as the seller.

Be sure to discuss buyer agency with any agent you're thinking about working with. Does the agent know the market? Is the agent active daily in the local market? Is the agent part of a national network?  

It can be especially important if you're selling in one city in preparation for moving to another.

Your selling agent can refer you to a suitable agent in your destination city, and keep in close contact with that agent, so both your selling and buying efforts are closely coordinated.

And a final point:

  • Does the agent seem primarily interested in sharing expertise and market knowledge in an honest and straightforward manner?
  • Or does the agent seem more interested in telling you what you want to hear?

The worst time to secure the services of a "yes-man" or an agent who seems to have a bit too many irons in the fire is when you're entering a transaction involving something as expensive as your home.

You need straightforward, reliable information - even if it's not necessarily flattering regarding the home you're selling - or very encouraging regarding a home you think you might want to buy.

Getting a good real estate agent isn’t that hard and once you follow these steps you’ll avoid disappointments. If you’re ready to buy or home in the Okanagan Valley, then contact the Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon now.

More Just Add Salt! articles

About the Author

Lisa Salt is a Vernon born Realtor® who, along with her husband Gord Fowler from Calgary, lead one of the most successful and dynamic real estate teams in the North Okanagan. 

An international clay target shooting champion, Lisa brought the attributes of hard work and diligent focus to the real estate industry to create the success she and her team have today. 

To experience the local knowledge and expertise that only someone born and raised in the Okanagan can offer, call Lisa today and 'Just Add Salt'.

Website link:   http://www.saltfowler.com

Contact e-mail address:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories