For most of us, selling our home is the largest financial transaction we will participate in and the success or failure of this can have a significant impact on our lives. It is critical to have a good outcome, and choosing the right Realtor is key to this. Here are some of the important things to consider when looking for a Realtor to represent you.

1. You Want Someone Who Knows Their Stuff…And Can Back It Up

Throw out the flattery and fluffy agents! You need an agent who will be honest with you. From the pluses and minuses of your home to how it stacks up against the competition and the price to market it at. You want someone who is realistic and understands your circumstances and can adapt and proactively mitigate your risk.

Many sellers make the mistake of being lured by the Realtor promising the highest numbers. This mistake will cost you valuable time and money. The wrong price from the outset can stigmatize your home, cost you qualified buyers and valuable time.

When interviewing Realtors, pay attention to those using real data in their answers. They should be able to speak to comparable homes, neighbourhood market performance, and the long-term impact of your decision to buy or sell.

2. Mutual Trust and Respect

Let’s face it — selling a house is a stressful task, especially if you are facing a divorce, having a baby, downsizing, upsizing, etc. You need a Realtor who is patient with you and your circumstances.

When you interview a Realtor, how much time are they spending getting to know you vs. talking about themselves? You want someone invested in your success, not just their own.

3. Past Behaviour Predicts Future Behaviour

Look at the Realtor’s track record. Great results in the past are the best predictor of great results in the future. How quickly does the Realtor’s houses sell compared to the rest of the neighbourhood? How long has he or she been working? Has your Realtor worked in different markets or have they only worked during the heady seller’s market of the last decade or so? What percentage of their business comes from referral vs. advertising? A Realtor getting lots of referrals is likely doing something right.

4. Professional Property Presentation

The easiest and most valuable way is to review this is to see how a Realtor has marketed other properties. Look at their listing materials, photos, brochures and signage. Pay attention to their personal appearance. Look for professional photography and compelling property descriptions.

5. Impeccable Communication

How quickly are your calls being returned? You should expect regular feedback and updates from your Realtor. Your Realtor should be able to articulate how they communicate with clients and a cadence that works for you. Also, you should be asking how your Realtor will handle things if you find it is not a fit. Are they going to handcuff you to them?

6. Are You Getting What You Signed Up For?

Are you signing with a Realtor or with their team? Who will be answering phone calls? doing your open houses? Showing your property? Is it the Realtor you signed with or a junior member of their team? A prominent Realtor once called me asking me questions about one of his properties, thinking I was a member of his team. I know I would want someone more connected to me and my property, let alone someone who knows the people who work for him. It should not be too much to expect.

7. Seek References From Other Homeowners

Ask, then verify. Ask the Realtor to provide you with references from their clients. Be specific in your questions. This list is a good opening guide to questions you might want to ask a reference.