Working with a Real Estate Agent

Don’t go it alone when buying a home. It helps to have a real estate agent when buying a property in a city like Toronto.

You’ve probably heard the term “house hunting,” but have you heard of “real estate agent hunting”? It’s a term I use to describe the process of finding the right agent. Home buying can be competitive. Choosing the right agent can mean the difference between buying your dream home and being left on the sidelines.

What makes a good agent? A good agent gives you the knowledge and tools you need to make informed decisions.  A good real estate agent will have extensive social contacts in their local markets.  Good agents also understand which types of properties are a good fit for their clients – especially those who are first time home buyers.

Finding the right agent can take time. I was with three agents before finding the right one. My first agent was friendly and helpful, but when it came time to make an offer, she didn’t provide me with comparable properties (even after I asked for them), so I had no idea how much to offer and ended up losing out on a nice home. My second agent had the tenacity of a pit bull, but then she just seemed to lose interest. The third time was the charm. My third agent was the perfect fit. He was hands-on, which was great, since I was a first-time homebuyer. He showed me a ton of properties. It took me only a couple of months to find and buy my home.

With so many agents out there, choosing one can feel overwhelming. You might choose the first agent you meet. And you may find the right agent this way, but there’s no guarantee. Similar to house hunting, you won’t know for sure unless you see what else is out there.

Finding an Agent

Looking for an agent? Here are good places to start:

  • Word of mouth: Ask for recommendations from family, friends and colleagues who have recently bought a home.
  • Lawn signs: Look for an agent with lots of lawn signs in the neighbourhood you’d like to buy in. Visit their website to read testimonials.
  • Open houses: Open houses aren’t just for nosy neighbours. They’re also a great way to meet agents. The agent should already be familiar with your desired neighbourhood.
  • Brokerages: If there’s a real estate brokerage nearby, stop in and mention you’re looking for an agent. The brokerage can match you with an agent suited for your home-buying needs.
  • Multiple Listing Service: Visit the MLS website and search for agents selling homes in your area.

Post brought to you by Sean Cooper.

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