Canadian Real Estate Agents: A Comprehensive Guide

By Hannah Davies - 2016-09-01

According to The Globe and Mail, Canadian housing prices climbed nearly two in August once again.

In today's hot Canadian real estate market, you want to either maximize the price-tag for your home or you want to get in on a bidding war in the neighbourhood of your choice. With so many families wanting to get in on the Great White North's housing market, do you want to rely on a novice or someone who just wants to make a quick buck? Of course not! You want the best.

Finding an honest, dependable and dedicated real estate agent can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Although there are plenty of realtors around, you can never be quite sure if they are who they say they are. It takes due diligence, research and questions to truly know.

Buying or selling a home is not an easy task. For many, selling their home is part of a retirement strategy. For others, buying a home is the signal they're starting a family. These are important. Therefore, you need the best of the best the real estate industry has to offer.

How can you locate one? It's simple: you find out more about your potential real estate agent.

Here are five things you need to know about your real estate agent:

What the Agent Will Make From the Deal

As the average detached home in Toronto worth about $800,000, real estate agents can make a hefty sum of money with buying or selling one or two homes a year. This is why so many realtors are trying their hardest to get your business.

Now, you have to know a few things about real estate agents: very few actually work on a salary, most agents work on commission and agents will never, ever work for free.

With that being said, since agents will receive about four percent from the transaction, you do expect your realtor to do everything they can to close the deal as fast as they can for top (or low) dollar. This is why it's imperative to have a buyer's broker agreement (see below).

A Buyer's Broker Agreement – Will They Sign it?

This isn't the 1950s anymore, when a lot of deals were made with handshakes, friendships and understandings. You can't depend on your real estate agent to perform all of your duties after a simple conversation. No, you have to protect yourself and you can do this with a buyer's broker agreement.

A buyer's broker agreement essentially establishes a defined relationship between you and the agent and outlines what the agent's duties and responsibilities are to you. And this is also a matter of quid pro quo since you also have your own duties and responsibilities to perform.

It's important that the agent is open to signing it. If they're not willing to sign it then move on.

Understanding Your Needs & Wants

Does the real estate agent really understand your needs and wants? Or do they feel that they know more than you and completely ignore your wishes? This can be rather frustrating.

For instance, let's say that you want to sell your home to a young family, even if they're not willing to participate in a bidding war. The agent has decided to go against your request and sold your home to the highest bidder (remember, commission!), which isn't what you wanted. This is wrong and unprofessional.

It's these types of things that you have to be careful about. Ultimately, you need a realtor to understand and acquiesce to your needs and wants.

The Agent's Negotiating Skills

Although it is hard to disseminate after one meeting, you need to be aware of the agent's negotiating skills. You can try to fathom this beforehand by learning about their techniques, methods and previous experience. You should also ask about various case histories to see how they handled a certain situation to close a deal fast or get the most bucks.

Creativity, Reputation & Results

Finally, you will want to know the real estate agent's creativity (how will they market the house?), their reputation (what do others say about them?) and results (how many homes have they sold in their career). It's these little things that can make you decide to move ahead with this particular realtor. If they seem average or can't even provide you with this information then look elsewhere. Instead, you will want to find a strong team of real estate agents with experience under their belts.

Do you want a real estate agent who has only been in the business for a couple of months? Or do you want a real estate agent who has spent 30 years in this industry? Obviously you will want the latter. This is especially true in today's hot housing market. You want to make as much money as you can, and the right agent can help you achieve this objective. Know your real estate agent before you go ahead with the partnership.

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