Homeownership has been a fantastic investment in the GTA, however, don’t sell yourself short by hiring the wrong listing agent. Realtors come from all sorts of backgrounds, and all have their own specialties.
However, the industry is ripe with new agents, part-time agents, and people who are “trying on” real estate as a career. When hiring a listing agent to sell one of your most important investments, go with a team with a proven track record.
11 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Listing Agent
Everyone deserves the extraordinary, because luxury is not about price point, it’s about an experience. And when it comes to real estate, experience matters.
1. What communities do you focus in?
It should come as no surprise that a local agent, who has personally seen the comparable homes to yours, is at an advantage when marketing your home. Prices and demand change from street to street within a community, and only a local agent can articulate the value of your home to buyers and their agents.
2. Can you show me some examples of your photography and marketing materials?
Over 95% of buyers are shopping online. Since the first impression of your home is a digital one, it’s incredibly important to capture the buyer’s attention with professional pictures, video and copy.
Invest in professional images and video, because they bring more qualified buyers to your home.
This might be the appropriate time to ask your realtor about staging. Every sale is different and every homeowner has an idea of what they want in terms of sales preparation. It’s important to outline who pays for what.
3. Can you explain your local, national and international marketing plan for my home?
Since buyers come from the city, the suburbs, across the country, and even overseas, it’s important that your house is found beyond your locale.
Equally important is a good marketing plan that can show the lifestyle your home and neighborhood. We market the lifestyle of every home we sell, and that helps transcend barriers people may have when viewing homes in neighborhoods they are not familiar with.
4. Can you tell me some of the setbacks to selling my type of home?
There are setbacks to every sale. Your custom home could sit on the market for a few months before a buyer with the right taste comes around. Even condos can sit on the market, if there are too many similar units available at the same time. However, it’s up to your realtor to get your home in front of the right buyers.
5. What is your pricing strategy and negotiation style?
Depending on the value of your home, there are different pricing strategies and negotiation styles that your realtor might suggest. If you’re in a neighbourhood with more buyers than sellers, we might suggest a “marketing price” which sets the home up for a bidding war. If you’re in an aspirational home, with more discerning buyers, we would suggest a price with flexibility for negotiations.
6. How will you market my home to the most interested/profitable buyer?
We believe lifestyle marketing achieves the highest price for our listings. No one knows your home better than you, which is why we ask all our clients what their favorite feature of their home is. Once we know your homes best features, from the point of view of someone living in the home. We can market it to another buyer or family who will see the same value as you.
7. Will you tell me if my expectations are unrealistic?
Homes that are marketed at fair market value end up selling for more money compared to homes that are listed above market value, and subsequently lowered to fair market value.
So, it’s very important that you and your realtor are both on the same track of what your home is worth. It goes without saying, some Realtors will inflate their estimate to try to “buy” the listing, but if you’re interviewing a few agents, you should be able to see who is being honest and who is trying to “buy” your business.
8. Do you have references I can call?
There are two types of realtors in this industry: successful agents and secret agents. The latter is your co-worker, your mom’s friend, or that agent that still carries a pager and door knocks for business. Instead, interview agents who are easily found online, and post their testimonials in reputable places like Google Business Page.
We explain to all our clients, that we are going to do an extraordinary job marketing their home so that they will want to use our services again. We also set the expectation that we will keep in contact over the years, and that they should feel free to contact us for advice on the market, on upgrades, and even real estate taxes. Many of our past clients would happily entertain a quick call to anyone contemplating our team.
9. What drives you to work in Real Estate?
Selling your house can be stressful, or it can be quite rewarding. With a passionate and professional realtor, your sales process will be stress-free and you can look forward to learning about the market, the sales process and also experience the thrill of the final sale. It all depends on your realtor’s experience, and passion.
10. If we sell at $X, how much money will I walk away with after commissions, taxes, fees, and HST?
This is self-explanatory. You want to work with someone who is up-front about the costs to sell your home. In Ontario, the sellers pay both the listing and buyer’s agent, but there are also photography costs, staging costs, videography costs and marketing costs, which can affect your final out of pocket expenses. Most realtors cover all the costs associated with preparing the home for sale, as well as all the marketing costs, but some will reduce their commission and pass on costs to the sellers directly. It just makes more sense to compare realtor vs realtor based on the sales price they think they can achieve and how much money you will walk away with.
11. Does this agent look expensive?
Real estate is one of those industries with huge barriers to overcome, and countless years building a business. But once you have succeeded in an industry with incredibly high turnover, you generally do very well. So, we like to say, if a realtor shows up wearing a color-faded polo, you should probably pass for someone who gives off the impression they are successful and know what they are doing.