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

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