What to Look for When Hiring a Real Estate Agent to Represent You
Buying a home might be one of the biggest and more important financial decisions that you could make. While buying a home is exciting, you should take this process seriously and be deliberate with who you choose to help you throughout this process. In hiring a real estate agent, a great one can make your home buying experience smoother and infinitely easier.
They will be acting as your advocate, doing research on your behalf, negotiating on your behalf, and handling the logistics of the process for you. When hiring a real estate agent, the agent should also be working to help you get the home that will be the best value for your money and the most favourable deal possible. It is their job to make this happen with minimal headaches and frustration.
You need to remember that your real estate agent is someone who you are going to be spending a lot of time with. This means you NEED to find someone that you like, have a good rapport with, and who you can feel comfortable working with. They also need to be able to understand your unique situation, needs, and be knowledgeable about the neighbourhood(s) and area(s) where you are looking to buy.
Keep in mind that you will need to be patient since it will take some time to interview potential agents. You might need to speak with at least three agents before you find an agent whose experience, personality, approach, and style is the best match for you, your needs, and your unique situation.
Related article: What Do Real Estate Agents Do?
What does a great real estate agent representing a buyer do?
They should be advising you on the neighbourhood(s) where you are looking to buy
A real estate agent wears many hats because they do a variety of different things when they are representing you as the buyer’s agent. A great agent will be able to advise you on the neighbourhood(s) you are interested in–advising you on location(s), schools, and more.
They should always be networking with other agents, brokers, and maintaining a list of professionals they can refer you to help you through the home buying process
A great agent will always be updating their database of contacts, of clients (buyers and sellers) and available inventory of properties. They will also make sure to keep up with what is going on in the neighbourhood(s) where they work. A great agent will also have a great network that includes other agents, brokers, and professionals who can support you throughout the homebuying process. They should also always be networking and trying to learn about new inventory and changes in their industry.
When you are looking at homes your agent will be researching homes, finding homes to show and arranging showings for you. If you decide to make an offer, your agent will be acting as a liaison between you and the seller and the seller’s agent or broker (as applicable). They will also consistently maintain a list of professionals they can recommend and work with throughout the home buying process.
For example, if you need help finding a lender, a great agent should be able to refer you to a lender they trust who can take you through the pre-approval process for a home loan.
Getting pre-approved for a loan is an extremely important part of the home buying process. Being pre-approved for a loan means that you will have an idea of how much money you will have when buying a home. This can help you to develop your target budget for a new home. An exceptional agent will insist upon you getting a pre-approval letter from a lender before you seriously begin looking at homes with them.
How a real estate agent can guide you through the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, understand and monitor your loan
Having a solid pre-approval letter for a loan in hand when you are looking at homes can help to ensure that when the time comes for you to buy a home you will be ready with the financing lined up. This means that if you find your dream home you can make an offer on a home that you love without worrying about having to be pre-approved for a loan first. Having your financing lined up can help ensure that your offer will be accepted and that you will be able to buy the home of your dreams.
This is especially important if you are buying real estate in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) given the intense competition and bidding wars that are now commonplace in Toronto. The last thing you would want to have happened is that you found the home of your dreams, the seller accepted your offer but your offer falls through or you have to withdraw it because you were unable to come up with the necessary funds to purchase their home. An excellent agent can also help you understand the conditions for pre-approval.
If you have found a great agent who is looking out for you, that’s on top of their game, they will be helping you to understand and monitor your mortgage commitment as a buyer. They can help you to understand that you need to maintain your current credit status, so you can avoid mortgage mistakes. This is important since it is common for first-time homebuyers to make mistakes when applying for mortgages. Your agent can help you avoid making mortgage mistakes and help you to understand your mortgage commitment saving you time, frustration, stress, and more.
Having your agent helping you monitor your mortgage commitment and guide you through this process is extremely important because pre-approvals for home loans can be precarious. Pre-approvals for loans are dependent on the information you are providing to the lender at the time that you are requesting pre-approval for a home loan. It is important to remember that any changes for your financial situation have the potential to make it impossible for you to get a home loan or have the potential to reduce the amount of money you will be eligible to receive as part of a home loan.
You and your real estate agent/broker should be monitoring the status of your loan. They can advise you on how to protect or maintain your pre-approval status for your eventual mortgage. They can also help you to understand why you need to avoid making any large purchases (such as buying a car) or taking out any loans before you close on your home. Your agent should be helping you to understand and navigate all of the financial and legal implications related to being pre-approved and receiving a mortgage, explaining to you some of the ins and outs of this process.
What should you be looking for when hiring a real estate agent to represent you as a buyer?
You will want to look for the following when hiring a real estate agent to represent you when you are buying a home. This list is by no means exhaustive but here are some things you will want to be on the lookout when trying to hire an agent
- Someone you trust, feel comfortable working with and can get along with
- Someone who understands your unique needs and situation
- Excellent organizational, oral, and written communication skills
- Excellent track record helping people find their dream home and experience working in the neighbourhood(s) where you are looking to buy
- Excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills
- Someone whose style and approach you like
- Someone is licensed to sell property wherever you are looking to buy
- An individual who has many satisfied past clients who can vouch for them
- A person who is patient and flexible, who is willing to accommodate you and your schedule and will make sure to explain things in a way that you can understand
Questions you should be asking when hiring a real estate agent
No matter if you are a first-time homebuyer or you have owned many homes before, here are some questions you should ask any potential real estate agent you could see yourself potentially on working with.
How long have you been in real estate?
This is an important question because you will. want to work with someone who is an experienced agent since they have been an agent for a while, and knowledgeable. However, if you might find someone that you like better than an older, veteran agent. Keep in mind that you should not feel like you have to choose a person whose style is not a great fit for you even if they are more experienced than someone with who you like and get along with better.
How many clients do you usually work with at a time?
This is another extremely important question because you will need to know if an agent will have time for you or if they are already overloaded with a bunch of other clients. No one wants to feel like they are not a priority to the person you have hired to work with you.
You should ask if they have any additional team members supporting them who have real estate licenses who can help you and advise you if you need their support?
What type of communication can you expect from them?
This is an important question to ask so you can get an idea of how you will be communicating with them, SMS, WhatsApp messages, email, IM, phone or video calls, etc.
How often can you expect to hear from them?
Another incredibly important question to ask is how often you can expect to hear from an agent. Will you be able to expect to hear from them daily, every couple of days, weekly, etc. Do you want to receive daily updates from them, or would you rather have them update you as things happen?
Is the agent you are working with part of a team? If they are a part of a team, will you be working exclusively with them or will you be passed around to other members of their team throughout the process? What does their setup look like if they are a part of a team?
Working with a team of agents can provide you with some great benefits. However, your relationship with your main agent and how you will be working with other team members should be clear from the beginning. When you are working with a team you will find people who will have a wide level of experience, knowledge, and expertise. Some individuals might have more experience in dealing with certain situations than others.
In the beginning, you should figure out whether or not you will be working with a team of agents or will you be working with one agent?
What types of homes do they specialize in helping people buy, i.e. high-end luxury homes, condos, townhouses, pre-construction homes, etc.?
It is important that you figure out what type of real estate they have the most experience working in. In other words, whether they sell or help buyers buy condos vs. houses vs. townhouses, etc. This is important especially if you are looking to buy a certain type of home i.e. a condo vs. house, a home that is being built or a home that has already been built.
- What is your ratio of buyers to sellers that you work with? Do you tend to act more like a listing agent (the agent representing the seller(s) or a buyer’s agent, representing buyers?
- What is their track record and inventory?
- Is being a real estate agent their full-time job or is this their side hustle?
- What happens if you decide that you want to work with someone else or do not like your original choice of agent(s)?
- Will they be able to support you, guide you through this process, and understand your unique situation?
For any concerns about hiring a real estate agent to represent you, AtHouse is at your service! Call us today!
Related article: Tips For Buying Real Estate In Toronto And GTA