Buying with an Agent

When you’ve decided to buy a home, you might debate on whether or not to hire a specific real estate agent to help you in your search.

What an agent can do for you

If you don’t know what a buying agent can do for you, here are some key benefits to keep in mind:

Full-time support

The best houses often sell in a matter of hours—sometimes before they even hit the Realtor.ca system. You might have a busy schedule, but a full-time agent is always looking on your behalf and will show you new homes as soon as they become available.

Some teams like Zoocasa also have support systems to back up their agents, providing you with help on things like staging your home, financing, and moving concierges. Many also have an admin team that is available to do paperwork and answer any questions, ensuring the process moves along quickly and efficiently.

Dedicated representation

When you work with a buying agent, you and the agent sign a Buyer’s Representation Agreement (BRA). Your realtor is then legally bound to follow your instructions, maintain confidentiality, and provide their honest opinion. Without a BRA, a realtor can still offer customer service, but will not have a fiduciary duty to act solely in your best interest.

Analyzing data

Agents have quick access to figures that make your purchase a good one, statistically—and that’s a fact. There are so many considerations that go into securing a home, from neighbourhood price increases to demographics changes in your neighbourhood.

Negotiation

If you’re a passive person or have never negotiated, having an experienced agent is your best course of action when buying a home. Agents understand the current market, knowing the appropriate prices and timing for putting in offers, and help you get the best value. And if you’re in a bidding war for the home of your dreams, the best agents know how to win.

Voice of reason

Most people enter the buying process with at least one unrealistic expectation, whether it be on price, neighbourhood, size, or timeline. Experienced agents will help you navigate between trade-offs and make the right decision.

Agents often see problems when viewing homes that you may overlook. You may think you can rely on friends, family, or the listing agent to point out flaws, but only your agent has the relevant experience and your best interest at heart.

How to interview potential agents

There are thousands of real estate agents in every city, so it’s important to know you’re partnering with a knowledgeable, ethical, credible agent. When you meet for the first time, here are some important questions you should be asking:

How well do you know this area?

It’s common to know the exact area you want to live in. Although your agent doesn’t need to live in that area, it’s imperative that they know everything about it. Your agent should be informing you of nearby amenities, traffic, and events, as well as telling you about growth patterns and expectations.

Also, if your agent has bought or sold homes in the area recently, that is a clear indicator that you’ve found a local hero. If that person’s done it before, they can do it again.

How much of your business comes from referrals?

While it may not seem inherently useful, this question might be the most valuable. Knowing that this agent is getting a lot of referrals means a lot of satisfied homebuyers. If the agent receives no business from referrals, it means no one wants to refer them to their friends and family—not a great sign.

Are you a full-time real estate agent?

While you can work with a part-time agent, full-time agents will have more time to commit to you as a client. This question should be paired with some follow-ups like “How many successful homebuyers have you represented?” and “Can I access you quickly when I need your attention?” Get an idea of the agent’s track record and commitment; if an agent works round the clock for you, they deserve to represent you.

How many homes have your clients purchased in the last 12 months?

Paired with the above question, this shows how active this agent really is. The more satisfied clients, the more likely this agent can also help you.

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