Here are some serious things to consider. This is not a cookie-cutter section like every other real estate website — this is written by me and you will probably read things you don’t typically hear from an agent.
As a start, I believe you should interview a minimum of three agents. Listen to what they have to say and see who you most connect with. How many realtors tell you that you should interview more than just themselves?
If you do not connect with me and how I approach the potential purchase of your home, I still want to ensure you are well-protected and aware of all things buying-related. If you feel one of my peers can accomplish the job better than I can, I have already given you great advice by suggesting you don’t pick the first person. You are buying a home and my commitment to you is to have the best outcome possible, whatever that looks like, period.
Who you hire should take care of the following items:
It is extremely rare that you should consider buying the first house you see. If it happens, and at an attractive price point, congratulations! Buying should take some time … You should see everything you possibly can, good and bad, to help you identify value and understand the market. When you write an offer, you should know EXACTLY what your agent knows for area value and you should be excited, not nervous, to make your offer firm, after conditions have been satisfied.
That said, buying a home should come with nerves. You aren’t buying a T-shirt … it is one of the largest transactions of your lifetime and with Toronto pricing as it is, a few percentage points overpaid can be tens of thousands of dollars.
Be willing to spend time, as your agent should be, to make sure you are more than knowledgeable on what a home is worth when the time comes to put an offer in. It is strange but the idea of seeing as many “no” properties as you can to help identify the “yes” properties is critical. Don’t lose faith when you are seeing consistent “no’s” — they are getting you closer to understanding value when you do finally find the one.
Your agent should be available anytime, period. Give them a break for family matters or actual times he or she simply cannot be physically present. Your agent should become family when you have made your selection and he or she is being paid to be there. I am a serious believer in feedback. When buyer clients tell me more about what they dislike than what they like I learn more about their needs. Spending the time needed to figure all of this out is critical in getting to where you need to be.
In a world that is now moving very quickly with technology, select an agent who understands the importance of face time. Being in front of one another lets your agent understand more about your goals, your personality and how to best serve your needs. Technology is great, and it can certainly be useful for efficiency, but purchasing your largest asset should be done with someone willing to be with you along the way. Realtors earn good money for what they do and that should include building a relationship of trust and understanding which can only come with time spent with you.
If the agent you select doesn’t knock your socks off in their communication with you, how will he or she ever communicate well with another agent when negotiating on your behalf? Take note of pleasantries, assertiveness, manners and general conduct as this is the person you are hiring to assist in purchasing your largest asset. The ability to work with another agent to achieve your goals depends on how your agent presents and this begins with communication so take note of how they order a coffee from the barista or hold a door open for someone. It is a people business and they should be well versed in the business of dealing with people the right way. You should know as much as your agent does with pricing in advance to putting something on paper. You should clearly understand terms and conditions.
Before all of the insanity we have seen in the GTA over the last few years, conditions were quite useful for both the buyer and the seller. When you, as the buyer, had a five-day conditional period to confirm with your lender you were, in fact, good and able to buy the property, there would be much less in the way of surprises.
When you can be certain that your lender is going to finance the property at an attractive financial instrument, you know what you are getting into. This comes with a condition of finance and gives you certainty you may enter into a legally binding contract. These days, a firm offer without conditions must still be approved with the lender and I do not like surprises. I like to know now that whatever you are buying, your bank says you are good. It is your agent’s job to identify those times alongside saving you every penny possible.
Until the job is done, your agent is contracted to see you through any unexpected challenges. Until the keys are in your hand, the job is not completed and he or she should be quickly at your side with anything that comes up.