Selling a home can be an emotional experience and high-stakes experience, but most home sellers only ask a potential Realtor a couple of questions; how much is my home worth and what’s your commission fee? But every real estate agent offers a different combination of skills, experience, value and personality that can help determine the experience you will have when selling your home.
When you’re hiring a real estate agent in Kelowna, consider asking these questions before you sign the contract!
How long have you been a Realtor and what’s your experience?
This one seems like a no-brainer, but that’s what makes it so easy to overlook. While the obvious decision may be to go with the most experienced real estate agent, there may be some advantages to hiring a new realtor instead. Someone who is newly licensed or new to Kelowna may have fewer listings and more time to dedicate to selling your home. In this case, solid mentorship is key, which brings us to our next point…
Tell me about your agency and the broker you work with most closely.
Whether you’re working with a seasoned pro or the new kid on the block, a brokerage can have a big impact on your agent’s ability to sell your home. Your Realtor has chosen to work with this brokerage for a reason after all! Some brokerages have hundreds of agents working under one roof while others, like Walker Real Estate, are more boutique and allow for a greater level of mentorship and support from the managing broker and staff.
How do you market your listings?
There’s a difference between homes that are listing on the MLS system and homes that are actively marketed. How does your real estate agent intend to get your home sold quickly and for top dollar? Will they host an open house? How will they make sure that people come out if they do?
Do they take listing photos with their phone, have a professional camera, or hire a photographer for the listing? A dark and grainy photo isn’t going to inspire anyone to pick up the phone and schedule a viewing. In fact, bad real estate photos are so prominent that entire websites are devoted to showcase the photo fails.
Are you a full-time Realtor?
There are hundreds of real estate agents who are licensed in the Central Okanagan, which means that there isn’t always enough business to go around. For some, real estate is a part-time job rather than a full-time career. Ideally, you want to work with a Realtor who is dedicated to their profession and focused solely on their clients.
Will I be able to review all paperwork before signing?
You’re going to be asked to sign legally-binding contracts and agreements throughout the selling process, so be sure that you can take the time you need to review them. If you have any questions or something doesn’t make sense, ask your real estate agent.
How do you keep in touch with your clients?
It’s a new era and there are lots of different ways to communicate with your agent when you’re trying to sell your house or condo. Some agents prefer to communicate by phone while others are more comfortable with text or email. The best agents will do their best to adapt and communicate in the way that you prefer and will offer regular updates – even if the update is just that there’s nothing new to report.
Will I be working with you directly?
Some Realtors work as part of a team or have an assistant that may be in contact with you. While there isn’t anything particularly wrong with this approach, you do want to know in advance whether the person you hire is going to be the person who answers your calls. If your agent has an assistant, ask whether they are licensed or unlicensed. An unlicensed assistant isn’t supposed to give you an real estate advice as they don’t have their professional training.
What are my home’s flaws?
No matter how fabulous your home is, there is always going to be something that buyers won’t love. This could be anything from your bright purple bedroom to the odd kitchen layout or even the huge tree in the front yard (you see a beautiful, shady spot to read and buyers see a mess of leaves and pollen). A great Realtor will be respectfully honest with you and let you know in advance where they see potential issues or drawbacks.
Hiring a Realtor isn’t always a matter of a simple phone call, but this isn’t a simple business either. Take your time and work with someone who is going to make your experience as smooth as possible while maintaining their professionalism.