5 Smart Questions To Ask When Hiring A Realtor

Our last post looked at the 3 biggest mistakes people make when hiring a realtor.

This one examines the questions you should ask before hiring them, thus ensuring you have the best agent to sell your home.

The fact is not all realtors are the same.

Each brings a certain level (or lack) of experience, knowledge of particular neighborhoods, sales history, and marketing techniques.

Man reaching out to shake hand. He is wearing a suit to show how hiring a realtor needs to dress the part.

Does your realtor have the professionalism and experience to sell your home? (Pixabay)

Another thing to remember is that every realtor works for a brokerage but is also an independent contractor (sort of like a salesperson at a car dealership).

So they can draw on the resources of their brokerage to help market and sell your home.

With that in mind, let’s look at the 5 most important questions you should ask before hiring an agent:

#1: What is your marketing strategy?

Word marketing in colorful letters and with pins in it. So it shows how important it is to market a property and hiring the right realtor.

Just because you list it doesn’t mean it’ll sell… (Pixabay)

Toronto is home to 60,000 real estate agents, all of which can list your property on MLS—a public listing service.

Given the sheer volume of listings, how will yours stand out? What will your realtor do to ensure your property attracts buyers and doesn’t get lost in a sea of listings?

Despite Toronto’s booming real estate market, homes often fail to sell if they’re not marketed properly.

Open house sign on lawn. So this illustrates how not every property sells just because there's an MLS listing. Hiring is also important.

Fact: 1 in 4 Toronto properties are currently sitting empty (Pixabay)

According to the Toronto Star an MLS listing isn’t enough:

…your home needs to be marketed on social media and…directly advertised to other real estate agents, here and abroad, who are more likely to bring a buyer to your home.

That’s why I like to supplement my marketing by:

  • Writing blogs
  • Creating videos
  • Using social media
  • Staging your property
  • Hiring professional photography and video services

This guarantees your home rises above the noise of MLS listings and reaches the right audience.

A rather abstract mix of images and words like Youtube and video that goes beyond MLS.

I prefer a more comprehensive approach to marketing (Pixabay)

The Toronto Star article goes on to say:

Foreign investors want Canadian real estate, as they view it as a safe investment. You need to reach every potential buyer.

Canada is the 2nd most popular destination for wealthy Chinese investors, and since I speak Mandarin and Cantonese, I can market your property to a global audience.

#2: When was your last sale?

Sold sign on lawn in front of property. It takes so much more than MLS to sell a home.

Hopefully your realtor has put up a lot of these signs (Flickr, AAG)

This question helps you gauge the realtor’s selling ability. If the answer is over a year, you should probably look for another agent.

Follow-up questions can include:

  • Where was your last sale?
  • How long did it take you to sell the property?
  • How did you go about selling it?
  • What is your sales record?

It’s also important to find out if the realtor is active in your particular market.

For example, are you selling a house or a condo? Is it in the downtown core or the suburbs?

3d image of Riverdale and townhouses and MLS.

Then there’s lofts and townhouses, like Elevate at Logan.

The more experience a realtor has in your specific market, the greater their chances of selling your property.

Remember, selling a penthouse in downtown Toronto is far different than selling a house in suburban Rosedale.

Each area has its own unique highlights, demographics, and reasons why people want to live there.

You should also ask for references from past clients, read their online reviews, and take a look at their website.

So here we see 3 faces from smiling to sad to show reviews and MLS.

What kind of feedback has your realtor been getting? (Pixabay)

Doing so will give you insights into the realtor’s professionalism, customer relationships, and successes.

#3: How has Toronto’s real estate market changed over the past 3 months?

Photo of Toronto in winter and we see snow and buildings and cars and MLS.

Toronto’s real estate market changes with the seasons (Flickr, VV Nincic)

Shifting demographics, rising interest rates, new rules and regulations—Toronto’s real estate landscape is always changing.

Just knowing the basics (eg. the housing market grew x percent this quarter) won’t sell your property.

A good realtor needs to know the difference between the Spring and Summer markets, what makes each neighborhood unique, and how to sell a house vs a condo.

Shot of King West and people and MLS.

King West is hip and youthful, home to galleries, concert halls and film festivals (Wikimedia, Vlad Pordvony)

For example, 20% of The Canary District is dedicated to affordable housing, making it perfect for Millennials who can only afford a 1-bedroom condo.

It’s also close to the downtown core so they can commute to work.

On the other hand, parents may prefer houses in Don Valley or High Park because of their excellent public schools.

House in suburbs; we see a tree and bushes and lawn and MLS.

Since these areas are mostly suburban, they’re ideal for raising kids (Pixabay)

Knowing such minute details are key to selling your property.

#4: Tell me about your real estate experience?

Silver keys and green house key chain and MLS.

Does the realtor own any properties? (Pixabay)

After all, how can they sell your home if they never bought one themselves?

You should also consider their experience with buyers of different social, economic and age levels.

For example, a first-time home buyer doesn’t have the same priorities as a newly married couple.

While one may be looking for something modest, the other may want something bigger if they plan on having children.

At the same time, an elderly couple may want to downsize if their home is too big.

Image of elderly couple with children and MLS.

Well-rounded realtors have experience dealing with vastly different demographics. (Pixabay)

Another important point to keep in mind is that owners and tenants have very different needs.

People who want to buy a home view it as a long-term investment, yet tenants see it as a temporary expenditure.

Arrow with for rent on it and a blue sky above and MLS.

For many, renting is a brief stop on the way to buying (Nick Youngson, Alpha Stock Images)

Figuring out the needs of different buyers based on their income, age, social and marital status is crucial.

A great realtor can use this information to sell your home faster (and for a higher price) by targeting the right people.

#5: Is there anything else I need to know?

Questions in black and white and a rather large question mark in the back and MLS.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. (Pixabay)

You want to ask this question to cover all your bases.

A good agent will give any information they think is important to your property, to the process, or themselves, such as how to reach them for more questions.

Selling your property is a major decision. That’s why hiring a realtor who keeps the lines of communication open is vital.

Blackboard and words "Any Questions?" on it. MLS and property.

The more you know, the more confident you can be of getting the best deal on your investment (Pixabay)

It’s also the only way to make sure you have all the facts and aren’t being rushed into a sale. Remember, a real estate agent works for you—not the other way around.

In the end, you don’t want any realtor. You want one with honesty, integrity, knowledge, experience and professionalism.

Need help finding that perfect realtor? Contact me below and I’d be happy to help.


Wins Lai - Realtor - Toronto Real Estate Agent and Broker - Signature

Wins Lai – Toronto Realtor

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