Thursday, September 19, 2013

Who Cleans for the New Owner?

Whose responsibility is it to ensure a SOLD home is found in a clean and clear manner for a new Buyer?
As a Buyer of a new to you property, have you ever spent an extra day cleaning and scrubbing your home after all your belongings are moved out, leaving your SOLD home pristine for its new occupants, only to find you have two days of work and cost to clean your new purchase before you would ever consider moving in your belongings?

It happens – all too often.  REALTORS® try to protect their Buyer(s) by including a term in their Contract of Purchase and Sale “the seller agrees to have the home and carpets professionally cleaned prior to completion and will provide receipt of work done.  All personal belongings and garbage, inside and out are to be removed.”  

The seller may agree to the term at the time of the offer – and yet not get it done for completion. Perhaps they ran out of time, the moving truck was delayed, cancelled or they were not prepared for the amount of work to be done once their furniture was actually moved out of the way.  Perhaps they rented a steam cleaner from the grocery store and did it themselves at midnight the night before completion, leaving carpets soaking wet – delaying the Buyers ability to move in immediately when they take possession. 

It’s important to remember that everyone measures “satisfactory” levels of cleanliness differently.  It helps to have the work done by an independent professional who will have a consistent standard met.  If hiring out is not affordable, some Sellers may choose to do the work themselves. The Seller’s REALTOR® needs to provide them with the reasonable expectations of the industry – and not allow them to pass their own judgement on what is acceptable or not.

There is an expectation in our market area that the appliances will be cleaned, carpets vacuumed, floors washed, bathrooms and light fixtures cleaned (hopefully NOT stripped of all the light bulbs), windows clean, garbage gone (This is a big one). Most Buyers will still want to do a thorough vacuum ,wipe down of fixtures, switches, and cabinet interiors, to ensure they are not moving in with someone else’s germs, but they should not have to start from scratch.

Can REALTORS® do anything else other than inserting the ‘cleaning’ clause in the contract to ensure their buyers don’t walk into disaster?   YES!  REALTORS® need to educate their Sellers to the industry expectation.  Help the seller to realize how they will feel if they walk into a mess in their new purchase.  A listing REALTOR® should visit their sellers at the property regularly (not just phone them) throughout the two weeks prior to completion.  Most REALTORS® can recommend support services like Junk Removal companies, movers and cleaners. Some Sellers move out days or weeks prior to completion so a yard maintenance company may be necessary to keep the yard in proper condition prior to completion.  

The Buyer’s REALTOR® can certainly drive by the property periodically to see if there are signs of activity towards a move happening.  Check with the listing REALTOR® to express concern if garbage or items on the property don’t seem to be diminishing as completion day approaches.  Request a walk though the property with the Listing REALTOR®  a few days prior to completion.  A good REALTOR® knows their job is not done when the subjects come off.  The period of time between subject removal and completion is critical for both sides.

It’s sad how quickly all the hard work a Buyer’s Agent has done can be forgotten when their Buyer walks into a mess.  

Some of the circumstance we have had to deal with:  

  • Senior seller, not moved, not packed, and no plan for where she would go.  Our buyers had the anxiety of not only having to find temporary accommodations but were left with the feeling of putting a sweet old lady out on the street.  What an awful way to start a life in your new home.
  • Buyers bought a property where they fell in love with the yard. Sellers moved 6 weeks early in the heat of the summer.  What do you think the yard looked like with no care or water by the end of July?
  • Garbage left piled in the garage – rodents decided it was a great place to settle in. 
  • Seller moved and packed and gone but left unwanted furniture, broken appliances and other debris that mounted up to three “Got Junk” truck loads at $200 a load plus cleaning.
  • The contract included all the new stainless steel appliances.  The buyers moved in to find second hand mismatched units.
  • A winter close turned disaster as the seller moved out a month prior and turned off utilities (heat included) – Frozen pipes and water damage resulted.

REALTORS® can’t control what their sellers do but they can take an active part in walking them through the process...the expectations...get family members or outside services involved early if there appears to be issues of ability and relocation.

A Buyer’s REALTOR® can’t affect the seller’s actions but they can stay in communication with their colleague.  If there are any circumstances that they can anticipate ahead of time that will need special attention, the Buyer can be made aware and not blindsided on move-in day.  The Buyer’s REALTOR® can be ready with information on support services and try to negotiate costs with the Seller through the Seller’s REALTOR®.

In my opinion – a REALTOR® who responds to difficult possession issues with “Let the lawyers fight it out” is not doing their job.  A Buyer’s avenue of remedy when a Seller does not fulfill their obligations under the contract is small claims court – find the seller – serve them and try to collect.  As professional REALTORS®, anything you can do to avoid that path should be taken and often, paying attention, communication between REALTORS® and preparation of both Seller and Buyer is all that is needed.

There are always the Good stories too:

  • Our seller’s REALTOR® and the Buyer’s REALTOR® – packing boxes and cleaning until midnight the day prior to possession to help the senior with the last of the overwhelming task she had been faced with.
  • Day of possession the Buyer’s REALTOR® up on the counter, wiping out cupboards to be ready for her clients dishes – right after she ordered pizza to feed the friends that had come to help with the move in.
  • Seller’s REALTOR® sent their son over to give the yard that one last cut and tidy. 
  • Seller away prior to completion so they left funds for their REALTOR® to hire a cleaner.  REALTOR® stored the last of the personal belongs for her seller until she returned months later. 

Do you have some good (or bad) stories to share?  
What’s your opinion on who should be held accountable?

When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why I need a REALTOR® and How to Choose one?

This should speak to both you as a Buyer or Seller and the real estate Agents out there.

From time to time I search out feedback from the industry, like NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), CREA (The Canadian Real Estate Association), focus groups, consumer advocates and the like, asking what people are looking for in a REALTOR®, why they should use a REALTOR®. I also ask our REALTORS® what they do on a regular basis to ensure they continue to serve their clients successfully.  What is very interesting to me is how similar the lists are.
The Public's Wish List REALTOR® Routines
1. I want an agent that works full time. Full service means the agent is working for me. Full time agents are better prepared to resolve problems, ensure current market influences are considered and that influences from changes in the industry considered. 1. Get up and go to work every day- and be Seen! Stay on top of continued education statistical reviews and market changes. I need to budget time to work ON my business, not just IN it.
2. I want a tech-savvy agent. Most home transactions today begin on the Internet. 2. I regularly search my listings on the net to be sure search engines are finding my inventory. I send those results and ad copies out to the sellers and buyers looking for that type of property. I Ensure my Buyers wish lists are set up in automated searches so we have instant knowledge when new properties hit the market. In this day and age, people expect information the moment that it becomes available.
3. I want an agent with passion, enthusiasm and dedication. This is the agent, who goes the extra mile to get the best results, even when the going gets tough. Ask “how will you communicate with me?”. 3. I care enough to Communicate with the client in the manner they wish – through social media, phone, email or in person, on a regular basis. My clients want to be involved and informed. Regular communication can help me build a relationship and know their life goals, passions and needs so I can guide them towards the perfect home for their chosen life style.
4. Get an agent that is market savvy. I like getting sales in a given neighbourhood. They reveal geographic market smarts that can save me money. Knowledge is the key. 4. I consistently review CMA’s for the areas of my inventory. Open House Open House Open House – exposes the inventory but also ensures I’m up to date on Market values and neighbourhood trends.
5. Get an agent who is creative. Look for someone who can write purchase offers that excite a seller and satisfy the buyer. ASK How will you market my home? 5. I believe professional photos or videos are very important – On a regular basis I blog, tweet and facebook my inventory out to reach a wide demographic. I share industry newsletters and trends so my clients are well informed.
6. Get a team player. A real estate agent with a network of professionals at his disposal can take the screws out of finding a good handyman, insurance agent, mortgage broker, home inspector or a variety of other home buying and owning professionals I will need. Can they lead me through the whole process? 6. It’s important I share information on the process and community – not just sell a house. I have cultivated professionals in all the support services required for clients in order to help them have a smooth transition into their new neighbourhood.
7. Get a well-respected agent. Other agents make deals with agents they respect, trust and with whom they enjoy working. 7. I network with colleagues on a daily basis and enjoy being involved in community and charitable fund raising events.
8. Get the scoop on your agent. References! Ask to speak to past and present clients and ask to review multiple listing service® (MLS®) reports of his or her sales. 8. After every transaction, my office sends out a Customer Satisfaction Survey for my clients to complete – confidentially if they choose. It gives my Broker the opportunity, as well as me – to ensure I am providing the services to the caliber my clients require. The feedback is always helpful and appreciated. I share those reports from past clients with future ones.

9. Find an experienced agent – how many clients are they currently working with? An experienced Agent will know the right questions to ask regarding the home, neighbourhood, financing, etc.  They have strong relationships with lenders they trust. ASK how they get paid.

9. With every client I review Agency, my obligations and duties to them and the process of the transaction to come – We discuss my extended support services and my compensation so they understand how our relationships gets me paid.
10. I need an agent I can trust. Tell me the truth about my home – offer valued guidance and help me measure value, location and my affordability. 10. I’m not a salesman – I’m a trusted adviser and facilitator. Arming myself with constant inventory knowledge, community trends and economics all come into play as I build trusted relationships with my clients. I work toward earning their referred business of family and friends.

The following information is offered through CREA – the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Does your REALTOR® Have the answers to these in their  personal brochure or profile?
Here are 10 smart questions to ask. But remember, this is just a starting point. Your REALTOR® should be willing to answer any questions you have. After all, that's why you hire the pros.
1.    How long have you been in the business?
2.    What is your average list-to-sales-price ratio?
3.    How will your marketing plan meet my needs?
4.    Will you provide references?
5.    What separates you from your competition?
6.    May I review documents that I will be asked to sign?
7.    Can you help me find other professionals?
8.    How much do you charge?
9.    What if I'm unhappy with the service?
10.  What haven't I asked you that I need to know? 
Why should I hire a REALTOR®?
You trust a REALTOR® with your most valuable possession, your home. REALTORS® take this responsibility very seriously. Here's what they promise you:
1.   Your REALTOR® is a trained professional
REALTORS® take extensive pre-licensing courses in order to obtain credentials for practicing in real estate.
2.   Your REALTOR® is continuously trained
REALTORS® keep pace with the times by taking continuing education courses to upgrade their knowledge on a broad range of real estate related issues in order to be able to continue to provide consumers with current advice.
3.   Your REALTOR® does everything by the book
A REALTOR® must be registered under provincial laws that govern exactly how real estate can and cannot be traded. These regulations are your legal guarantee of professional behavior.
4.   Your REALTOR® is an ethical businessperson
REALTORS® must adhere to the extensive Code of Ethics of the Canadian Real Estate Association. Several provinces have additional codes of ethics governing real estate professionals. Your interests must always be put first.
5.   Opportunity for recourse
Should you have concerns about the professional behavior of a REALTOR®, provincial regulators and your local real estate board or association take these matters very seriously and work quickly to resolve any issues.
6.   Your REALTOR® has access to a local Board's MLS® System
A Board's MLS® system is the single most powerful tool for buying and selling a home. Your REALTOR® can provide you with exclusive features of the Board's MLS® System, such as immediate notification when new properties are listed. You don't have to wait for it to be posted on a web site.

When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Amendment or Addendum???

Good for you and your REALTOR® to know!

Po - tah - to

Traditionally an addendum is used as an additional page to the printed contract pages of an contract of purchase and sale for any conditions, terms, inclusions, etc that need to be included as a part of the negotiated transaction.

Once a contract is accepted – any changes or additions to the terms or agreement are to be done on an amendment – it is changing/amending the already accepted offer.

The amendment is different from the addendum as it has pre-printed wording that are very important statements;  

“For good and valuable consideration…”  

and at the bottom...

“All other terms and conditions contained in the said agreement remain the same and is full force and effect.  Time shall remain of the essence.”

The key point is timing – 
Putting additional information or terms into a contract BEFORE it’s accepted is much different than making changes or additions to a contract AFTER it has been accepted.  

At contract law, reopening the contract can be dangerous – giving either party an opportunity to walk away from the previously agreed transaction as changes after an acceptance can be interpreted as a renegotiation of the deal. New “consideration” is required at contract law to have a binding agreement – that consideration is usually the deposit we take but more accurately it is the agreement between the two parties.  When information is being changed or added to an accepted offer – contract law asks 
– what is the ‘consideration’ for this new agreement – thus the amendment form addresses that with “For good and valuable consideration”.   You should add, “The Buyer and Seller agree” , then enter your changes “from…. To ….” Or add any additional information the parties wish to have included.

ALSO – it’s imperative that there is no ambiguity to the changes where parties may interpret those changes to be replacing something already agreed to – thus  “all other terms and conditions remain the same” – is important. 
Lastly, “time is of the essence” is an important statement at contract law – meaning that if parties do not meet the time boundaries placed on them, the contract can be null and void.  Once again, when changes are made to an accepted offer, restating that ‘time remains of the essence” supports the enforceability of the contract should it ever be challenged and places the same fundamental contract requirements on the parties for these additional agreements on the amendment. 

My way to remember is:

  • Addendum (ADD) is adding pages for more room to write in the contract.  
  • Amendment (to Amend) is changing an already agreed contract.

You can most certainly use an addendum rather than an amendment form after acceptance but your REALTOR®  MUST remember to include the pre-printed statements in order to ensure the enforceability and integrity of the contract for all parties in the contract.  

This certainly shows you  how important it is to have a well educated and prepared REALTOR® on your side when buying or selling a home.  

When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Friday, May 17, 2013

Common Closing Costs for First Time Buyers

You’ll likely be responsible for a variety of fees and expenses that you and the seller will have to pay at the time of closing. Your REALTOR® and/or Lawyer conducting the closing will tell you the required amount for:

  • Down payment on the purchase price
  • Appraisal (some banks will include this if you deal with them)
  • Credit report (should be included from your lender)
  • Private mortgage insurance premium – depending on the amount of your down payment
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Property tax even if being paid as part of the mortgage, you may have to reimburse the seller for a portion they have already paid – determined on your date of closing. Lenders keep funds for taxes accounts as they are paid with the mortgage, then pay taxes for you.
  • Title registration costs are included in your lawyers conveyance fees
  • Legal fees 
  • Survey Certificate if the seller does not have one to pass on
  • Title Insurance is an alternative to a Survey Certificate 
  • Proration's for your share of costs, such as property taxes
  • Property Transfer Tax (as a first time buyer you may be exempt – confirm if you qualify
  • Utility Deposits (if you are new to the Utility company your deposit may be substantially more than just a transfer fee)
  • Home inspection  - cost varies depending on size and age of home

I haven’t gone into the detail of all of these items – Your REALTOR®  or Lawyer will confirm these costs and determine if you qualify for exemptions or discounts.  It’s important you have a discussion on all these items so you are properly prepared.

Reviewing home maintenance expectations is also a great conversation to have.  Never having owned a home before you may not be expecting the  ongoing costs for changing your filters, lights, yard maintenance, or garbage removal.  If you are purchasing a new home – you might need to buy window covers, yard maintenance equipment like hoses, lawn mower, rakes.  Small appliances are not usually included in your purchase – you might need a microwave, coffee pot, fire extinguisher, garage door remote.

Not to overwhelm – just wanting you to put complete thought into your process so you can enjoy the end result and not be caught short of funds or have unrealistic expectations. 
At the end of it all – nothing gives you a greater sense of community, accomplishment and pride then settling into you first home.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guest Blog - Taking the LEAP!

Taking the LEAP!

Guest Blog Post by Ashley Houseman

There’s nothing more exciting than researching homes on the internet, sifting through hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of homes listed for sale until you narrow down the possibilities and compile your list of those you’d like to see in person. In most cases, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

On numerous occasions, I've had the pleasure of walking through homes with First Time Home Buyers to discover some of the most outrageous and interesting features a house could possibly possess. Some in which you wish the REALTOR® would have posted pictures of, so you could have ruled it out as a possibility and saved yourself the gas and your precious time to see it.

Epic Fail!

Homes with holes in the floor (we could see the dirt fill below), bathrooms with the door against the toilet, homes that were previous crime scenes (which I found out later via “Googling” the address), an ENTIRE home that was a dedicated shrine of Dale Earnhardt Jr (I’m a fan, just not an entire house of it) and my personal favorite:  a bidet in the middle of a bedroom, yes, a bedroom.

It’s tough to see yourself in a home when either photos don’t do a good home justice or when a potential home is washed out by clutter or issues that are hard to look past. Here’s a few tips to help you to weed out the bad ones from the diamonds in the rough:

Do Your Homework:

  • Go online:  Did you know that most REALTORS® can send you listings via email to check out from the web from the comfort of your couch? Use their services to check out homes! Their MLS® will be your most up-to-date source for what’s available on the market. Also check out and their app as well.  Or
  • Do the Drive-by:  If it’s a good possibility, drive by the home and see if you like the location. This will help you to weed out more homes than you think.

Look Past the Surface:

  • Good Bones:  If shag carpet and gaudy wallpaper isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Those are cheap fixes to a home that may have great bones. Look past the things that are easily replaceable and look at the layout of the home, as adding an addition is way more expensive than that gorgeous granite you’ve been dreaming of.
  • Don’t Fall for the Bells & Whistles: Quite opposite of the last tip. A home may have some sweet upgrades like solid counter tops and stainless appliances, but you aren’t too crazy about the layout. Just remember, you can always customize the home down the road but living in a home with an awkward layout can eventually get annoying. It’s more expensive to do a total renovation (knocking down walls, permits, etc) than it is to buy an entire stainless kitchen on a Memorial Day sale.

Think About the Future:

  • Resale, Resale, Resale:  That small bedroom that is a decent “office” now may not be a considered good-sized bedroom for a buyer down the road when you’re trying to sell, as this personally cost us 10+ buyers when selling our home!  Don’t compromise on things that you think may hinder your chances of selling the home in the future.
  • Replacement Costs:  Buying a home is an investment, especially if you have to replace a ton of stuff inside. Take a closer look at things like the roof, air conditioning unit, pool pump, and other high ticket items that could be in need of replacing. It’s good to budget replacement costs into your yearly budget, but you don’t want to take on a home that needs everything replaced all at once.

A Home Fit for a Family:

  • Busy Streets:  If you have or plan on having kids, that’s great, just make sure the house accommodates them! Any parent of a toddler will tell you that living on a busy street is one of the scariest things in the world as you watch cars fly by your driveway. Consider an area that has less traffic and will be safer for the little ones.
  • A Tub:  As silly as it sounds, you will want a tub in the guest bathroom. Unless you want your sweet munchkins taking over your master every night until they can bathe themselves, save yourself the insanity and make sure there’s a tub in the guest bathroom for the little ones.

These are just a few things to think about when you’re looking to buy a home for the first time. When in doubt about certain things, always consult a real estate professional, as they are your best source of information in the home buying process.

No matter what your first time home buying adventure is like, just remember, you could always have a bidet in the middle of your bedroom.

Ashley Houseman( YES! Her last name has HOUSE in it) is an Associate Broker/REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Morris Realty. in Punta Gorda, Florida. You can follow her on Twitter at @BrokerEXCLUSIVE or visit her blog

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

8 tips for finding your first HOME!

The following post comes from Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Inc. agent, Kim Knapp. Kim is an experienced agent in Northern Florida and has a great team who has worked with countless first-time home buyers.  What is interesting for me  - is that even though the price points, market, product and geography of the Buyers are different to our – their needs and process is the same.

Here are her 8 tips to help make finding that first home go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing. “Our local Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty REALTOR® can help you determine what areas will present you with the amenities you would like to fit your life style choices”
  2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
  3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender or Mortgage Broker (Brenda Dilley and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford. A good Realtor can help you go over the expected closing costs, whether or not you qualify for an exemption from the Property Transfer Tax and how the statement of adjustment from the lawyer at completion will reflect those costs to you.
  4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own. You will be the one that will be ultimately living in the home and paying the mortgage payment.
  5. Decide your moving timeline.When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.  “School start dates, right down to the available of friends or family that may help with the physical move.”
  6. Think long term.Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
  7. Insist on a home inspection.If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year. “In some markets that is uncommon but certainly obtaining a professional home inspection from a QUALIFIED inspector is most important – we have contact info and credentials from several in our Kelowna area”
  8. Get help from a REALTOR®.Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation.  “You can secure your agency contract with them by completing and Exclusive Buyers Agency agreement. Our Realtors will explain clearly what their fiduciary duties are to you as their client, how they are compensated through the transaction and any other details you need clarity on.

REALTORS® are a huge wealth of knowledge and can help you through every step of this exciting – but sometimes scary process.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First Time Home Buyers Week...Coldwell Banker

There seems to be a week for everything these days, but very few of them prove to be valuable for more than just a week. So Coldwell Banker® With 30% of home buyers in 2013 being first time home buyers, they are dedicating an entire week of content on the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog, Twitter and Facebook pages to sharing tips, explaining terminology, and guiding first time home buyers through the real estate process.  We will also post this info to our Facebook page as it filters through to us.

The Coldwell Banker network of agents and brokers across the globe share insights as well as real life experiences from first time buyers who are currently going through the home buying process for the first time. In my Blog of September 8, 2011  “Out of the Mouths of Babes” I review some of these topics from the perspective of my daughter – who just bought her first house.  Even though inventory and markets change, the basics haven’t changed much at all –Here’s just a quick sample of some of the content I’ll be unveiling as it comes through:

8 Tips for Finding Your First Home
Confessions of a First Time Home Buyer – Taking the Leap
Common Closing Costs for Buyers
Real Estate 101: What does it mean to be pre-approved?
Real Estate 101: The Importance of Interest Rates
9 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

As an aside to the First Time Home Buyer Week – there have been reports generated from surveys that show a very interesting trend in young couples entering the real estate market.

When headlines address the home buying market, it’s typically done from a dollars-and-cents perspective. But, buying a home is so much more than a business transaction as we are seeing a shift in the real estate culture that is being led by millennial couples who are purchasing a home before marriage. Buying a home is one of the most emotionally impact-ful experiences a person can have, especially if it’s a mutual experience shared with one’s husband or wife (to be).

Coldwell Banker Real Estate partnered with market research firm Harris Interactive to learn more about the emotions married adults exhibit during the home buying process. As it turns out, the survey findings revealed that 1 in 4 young couples are buying a home together before tying the knot. The results also discovered that nearly all (92 percent) of married individuals who purchased their first home with their current spouse after being married view it as a positive milestone in their relationship and life together. From a psychological vantage point, these statistics make complete sense.

Purchasing a home is a very exciting and special time in a couple’s life. and USA Today, have been seen to say buying a home together has become “the new engagement ring” for some young couples. The home buying process forces couples to deal with their competing feelings of money and how to spend it, and that is why successfully purchasing a home with someone else is deemed a significant accomplishment in any relationship. It means the couple has been able to overcome their differences in an effort to create a better future together.

Friday, March 1, 2013

We Believe

The grass is not always greener on the other side – it’s just a different shade of green – with different characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. When you are looking for representation –it’s the details that will take you down the path.

A trusted real estate agent provides experienced counsel, guidance and unparalleled local expertise. Although they don’t have a law degree – their detailed knowledge of contracts can provide you with protection as you move forward in a real estate transaction. 

For first-time home buyers, the first step can be one of the most intimidating.  For the seasoned buyer or seller – you may think you know it all. Things change – all the time – a REALTOR® is required to take Continued Education Courses and is provided with counsel from their industry, lawyers and most importantly, their Broker.

The professionals at Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty have provided the following tips to identifying the right real estate professional: 

Ask around: 
 Friends and family can be the first source of helpful information.  Referrals are the leading source of finding an agent.  If you’re new to the area or don’t have references, you should feel free to contact the manager of the local Coldwell Banker® office - that’s me.  Once you explain your situation and needs, I will be able to suggest a few names of Agents that would meet the qualities you feel you could relate to.

Questions for potential candidates:
As you meet potential agents, you should feel empowered to determine if the agent’s personality and skills are a good match.  Some of the key questions that might help you make a decision include:
  • What is your experience in Kelowna or West Kelowna?
  • What is the average price point of homes that you help people buy and sell?
  • Could I speak with some of your past or current clients for a reference?
  • Tell me about the brokerage firm you work with.  How long has it been around?
  • What tools do you employ to help get the job done?

Examine their on-line presence:  

Many real estate professionals are especially savvy when it comes to marketing themselves (or their listings) on-line.  They list their areas of speciality.   If the person is highly-visible and socially active on-line, it is also a good indicator that he or she is connected to the right tools and technology that come in handy for home buyers or sellers. Don’t be afraid to inquire about their experience using video when it comes to real estate.  Cutting edge agents can point you toward video tours, community videos and more to give you a real life sense of the areas you are considering.  Those same tools that might help the Buyer buy – will help the Seller sell – as they will attract the rights buyers to your property.  

Ultimate Service® is a program available to all Coldwell Banker Agents. It provides the consumer a true measurement of service to be provided to them, an opportunity to let us know how we did and the ability to terminate our relationship if the REALTOR® doesn't follow through with the service commitments promised.  For 17 years we have had a 98% Customer Satisfaction approval rating.  Our past clients are telling you, you've made the right decision if you choose a Coldwell Banker Agent.

Go with your gut:
After consulting with friends and family, reading some testimonials, doing research and looking on-line, your instincts are often right on.  You will have a good “gut” feeling as to whether a person will be a good fit for the house-hunting /selling process.  It’s a home – not a house – “We Believe” in family life, community living, neighbours and neighbourhoods, “We Believe your home is your castle”   Finding the right one becomes easy when you find the right REALTOR®.

Coldwell Banker 

When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough