Choosing the right real estate agent to work with is the most critical decision you’ll make when deciding to sell your Vancouver area home. The market moves quickly in this area and there are many factors to consider when determining if an agent is the right fit for your specific needs.
Here, we’ll discuss some of the things you’ll want to ask an agent before deciding to engage them to list your home for sale. The questions you’ll want to cover during your interview fall into 3 main categories: Experience, Strategy, and Results.
- How long have you been selling real estate?
While this is not the most important factor when evaluating an agent’s competence, you do want to be confident that they have some experience and results to back up their pitch for your business.
- How many listings do you have at this time?
If the agent has no current listings, is it because all their listings are sold? When is the last active listing they had? What was the result? Did the property sell? If so, what percentage of the asking price did the property sell for?
- What is your average listing price to sale price percentage?
In this case, the higher the number, the better. If your potential agent sells their listings for close to or over asking price, that’s generally a good indicator that they’re an effective negotiator. These numbers will typically be higher when the market is moving quickly and demand is high.
- What is your plan of action to market my home?
Selling real estate entails a lot more than simply putting a sign on the lawn and listing a property in the MLS. What specific marketing strategies do they plan to use to get your property maximum exposure in the Vancouver real estate market?
- How will you promote my property?
In addition to online promotional strategies, a marketing-savvy agent will have a wide network of other agents in the local – and possibly international – markets, and a database of buyers to reach out to when marketing your home. They may also advertise your home in print media such as newspapers or specialty real estate publications depending on the type of property. A pro-active rather than passive approach is key to selling quickly for the best price.
- What web sites do you use for marketing a property?
Simply marketing on an agent’s personal web site will not bring your property the exposure it needs to get in front of as many buyers as possible. You’ll want your property to be advertised on multiple local, national, and international web sites to ensure as many people as possible can see your property’s listing.
- Do you use a home stager and professional photographer?
Statistics clearly show that homes that are professionally staged and photographed sell faster and for more money than those which are not. Staging and professional quality photography helps put your property’s best face forward and highlights space, layout, and features.
- Do you update your clients on a weekly basis?
Your agent should let you know in advance how often they’ll update you about the results they’re delivering in the form of phone and email inquiries, sign calls, open house visitors, and showings. Usually once per week is typical for your agent to touch base with you and let you know how things are going. Offers are time-sensitive and should be presented to you right away.
- What market share does your company or organization have in this area?
While your primary concern should be with the experience and rapport with the individual agent you’re considering, brand recognition can help boost exposure for your property. For example, RE/MAX agents have a consistent reputation for selling more homes for higher prices than other brokerages. RE/MAX advertises extensively in both online and offline media.
- Do you have a personal assistant or team to help oversee every transaction?
Some agents work as part of a team, while others work independently. However, all agents must be licensed through a brokerage and their work will be overseen by the managing broker in their office. This means that even single agents have the support and resources of an established brokerage behind them through every step of the transaction.
- What is your track record of success?
What percentage of the agent’s listings sell while listed with them? What’s their average days on market for homes they have listed? Homes that are well-priced will sell within a relatively short period of time under normal market conditions. If an agent’s listings are not selling, or are taking a long time to sell, it may indicate that their pricing is off.
- How many homes have you sold in this neighbourhood?
Some sellers prefer that their agent has experience selling properties in their specific neighbourhood. While it’s not necessary for an agent to have sold a house on your street for them to have the skills they need to sell your home, it does make sense for their sales experience to include nearby neighbourhoods so they have a good handle on the market in your area. For example, an agent from the Fraser Valley may not be as familiar with the Kitsilano or Shaughnessy areas of Vancouver as an agent who works primarily in Vancouver.
- What commission do you charge?
This may seem like a case where the lower the commission charged, the better. That’s not always true. Some agents offer lower commission rates for their services, but cut back on the service they offer as a result. Ask yourself this question: What is most important to you – getting the most money in your pocket at the end of the transaction, or paying the least amount of commission? Often, full commission agents produce better results for clients due to their more extensive marketing efforts and wider network of contacts.
Choosing the right realtor for you depends on many factors. If you get answers to these questions, you’ll be well on your way to making a well-informed decision based on your specific needs.