Buying and/or selling a home will be one of the most challenging transactions you’ll ever face. It can also be a lot of fun! Whether you’re daydreaming about how to decorate your new master bedroom or caught up figuring out how to port your mortgage, your real estate agent should be able to keep you on track with your transaction.

When choosing an agent to work with, you need a professional who’s knowledgeable about the area your buying or selling in. He/she should be a good listener, clearly communicating with you about your needs. They should also come with referrals. Approximately 70% of an agents customers’ come from referrals. But not all real estate agents are created equal, that’s why we’ve created the Beginners Guide to Choosing a Real Estate Agent.

ONLINE RESEARCH

When you’re narrowing your list of potential candidates, be sure to examine their online presence. How active are they on social media? What steps are they taking to promote their listings? What do their reviews and comments say? If there are complaints, how were they handled? You can find out a lot about an agent with just 10 minutes of Googling.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

New agents work hard, experienced agents work smart. Having an agent with a large network in the community comes in handy for both buying and selling. When the agent has worked in the neighbourhood you’re interested in, then he/she is likely to know more about the homes and how they were built. This can give you insight into flooding, leaking or electrical issues that other homeowners in the area have faced.

INTERVIEW THEM
You’ll want to talk to at least 3 agents. Ask them questions about the neighbourhood you’re interested in, this will test their knowledge of the area. It’s a good idea to discuss their schedule to make sure it’s compatible with yours. Find out if they’re going on vacation soon, as this could affect your timeline. You’ll also want to examine how you feel while you’re with the agent. Are you comfortable around him/her? Do they seem keen to help or have a sense of humour?

ELITE ACCESS
Getting early access to information about available properties in Norfolk County or learning the real market value of other properties in your location is a big plus. A great example is My Buyers, a special service offered by Gail Bouw. With My Buyers, you can be the first to find potential acquisitions and leverage better selling prospects.

THEIR TRACK RECORD AND INVENTORY
It takes a long time for a real estate agent to build an impressive track record, that includes quality inventory. It’s a good sign if you’re impressed with the homes they’re currently selling. If the market is booming right now and they don’t have any listings, that’s a red flag worth asking about.

GET REFERRALS
Start with your family and friends, to see who they recommend (or if there’s anyone they recommend staying away from). Ask them questions, especially about the agents’ expertise and involvement. If you’re a first-time buyer, chances are your needs will be different from others, so pay special attention to how much help the real estate agent offered.