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How to choose a real estate agent to sell your home (and get it right!)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


June 6, 2019 - Karl Yeh

"Find out what their marketing plan is for the property; how they intend to get it to as many people as possible, get as many people through the door as they possibly can."

Ready to sell your home? How do you find the right real estate agent? How do you know if they are qualified and can fit your needs? In this episode, we discuss how to choose a realtor when selling your home including how to find the best one in your location. We explore if you should talk to a mortgage professional or realtor first and the cost of showing your home. Finally, we look at how realtors get paid and how agents get listings.  

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Hi, everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School video; a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts.

And remember, if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from [00:00:30] the experts, hit the subscription button below. Hit the little notification bell so you don't miss anything.

Karl Yeh:                      

So today, I'm joined by Kevin French, Realtor with RE/MAX. And the question we're going to answer today is,

How do you choose a realtor when selling your house?

Kevin French:               

Well, you're definitely going to want to interview a realtor.

I would encourage people to get multiple opinions; meet with a few different people, at the very least. Go through ...

First of all, get them to evaluate the property and see what they think it's worth [00:01:00].

But more importantly, find out what their marketing plan is for the property; how they intend to get it to as many people as possible, get as many people through the door as they possibly can.

There's a lot of work that should be done prior to listing, and that's including having a designer through, getting the home prepped, making sure that it's going to show at its best.

Ultimately, once you take the photos and the property is on MLS and it's live, there's a lot you can't do from there.

You can't go back and change how it's being presented unless you restart the process.

So a key is getting it down right from the first time, and then getting it onto the market and then making sure [00:01:30] that they are following up, giving you feedback so you know how it's showing, what the feedback is, what the negatives and positives are about the property so hopefully you can adjust things if needed.

And then continuing to work with that agent and interest that there may be.

And then hopefully, getting an offer and negotiating in your favor from there.

Karl Yeh:                      

So what you just said, there's a lot of stuff, and I kind of want to unpack all the little bits and pieces of it.

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Kevin French:                Okay.

Finding the best realtor in my location

Karl Yeh:                      

So I think the first part I want to know is, how do I find the best realtor, I guess, in my area? Or, does it matter?

Kevin French:               

[00:02:00] Depends on the realtor, depends on the area.

There's a lot of people ... It's called firming in an area.

So what realtors do, is the market the area by continuously sending out newsletters, using bus benches, maybe radio ads, community events.

That doesn't necessarily mean that they're the best for the area, but it's almost safe to assume that they do have a vested interest in that community, and should have a good understanding of what the community has to offer, if they're calling it their home base, so to speak.

So that's typically a great person to start with.

However, I would [00:02:30] encourage most people to talk to their friends and family and find out who they've used in the past, and what kind of experience they've had.

Ultimately, using somebody that has marketing in the area may not be the best fit for you.

You have to meet with the person and make sure that you guys have a bit of a connection, and both have the same needs going forward.

Some people are downsizing, some people are separating, some people are buying an investment property, some people have more children in their growing family, so they need to buy a bigger space.

Those are all different needs, and there's different people who can work with those needs in different ways that [00:03:00] might be a better fit.

Karl Yeh:                      

And usually when you're selling a house, most likely, you're probably looking to buy, as well.

So is it better to actually talk to a mortgage broker and maybe get your finances settled first before you go to the real estate agent

or vice versa?

Kevin French:               

No, talk to the mortgage broker first. Two reasons.

First of all, you never want to sell your home with the intention of purchasing for X amount, and then find out that you can't actually afford that amount, because then you would've sold your home, and then have nothing to move [00:03:30] into. Or at least, something you may be unhappy with.

And then second is understanding that there may be mortgage penalties.

There typically are, if you're breaking your mortgage. So finding out what those penalties are prior to selling so that you know all your costs up front.

A lot of people tend to roll that into their entire expenses, and they're trying to budget accordingly.

So finding out that you had a $5,000 or $10,000 bill that was unexpected obviously wouldn't be ideal, so speaking with your mortgage specialist beforehand to make sure you know those numbers is key.

Karl Yeh:                      

And remember, if you wanna know more about the mortgage approval [00:04:00] process, watch our playlist above and in the description below.

Do you have to pay your realtor to show your home?

Karl Yeh:                      

So let's go back to actually selling your home. Do you actually pay a realtor to show your home? I remember you mentioned the marketing aspect of it.

Kevin French:               


So typically, the agent that lists the home doesn't actually sell the property. They don't represent the buyer.

It's frowned upon, it's not recommended because it's kind of impossible for them to get the seller the highest price, and the buyer the lowest price.

So most of the time, it's shown by [00:04:30] the buyer's agent, so the buyer will be represented by another realtor.

That realtor then books showings through the listing agent, who'd be who they would've interviewed and hired.

Once that's confirmed, then the buyer's agent takes them to the property.

And then if there's some interest, then the two of the agents negotiate from there.

Karl Yeh:                      

So does it cost money to actually list your home for sale?

Kevin French:               

Typically, no. I can't speak to other people's business models.

Some agents may charge for the services that they include or offer. However, typically, it would be [00:05:00] included.

That's part of the contract that's negotiated with the listing agent. And then the services that they offer would be included in there.

If the contract comes to term, the property didn't sell, then usually both parties either extend the contract; or, if you're it off the market, then you just go your separate ways at that point.

Karl Yeh:                       And when you're talking about realtors and their fees and so on, so

Do you pay a realtor up front, or do you pay it after your house is actually sold?

Kevin French:               

Paid after the home has sold, majority of the time. I shouldn't speak to ... [00:05:30] I can't really say that it's one blanket answer, because people may run their businesses differently.

But majority of the time, of course, once the home has sold, then the proceeds of the home get given to the seller, but a portion of the proceeds are used to pay the fees.

Karl Yeh:                      

Got it. And remember, if you want to know more about how realtors get paid, we actually have a video here and in the description below.

Karl Yeh:                       And then finally, one of the questions I always wanted to ask is,

How do real estate agents get listings?

Is it just through their networks? Is that kind of how that [00:06:00] kind of works?

Kevin French:               

Interesting question.

Through their network, through marketing, through referrals, any avenue where basically somebody contacts them, or they contact somebody who's interested in selling or purchasing a home.

And then they meet and find that there's a mutual connection there, and then they decide to work together going forward.

But it can be a difficult process.

Karl Yeh:                       Got it, got it.

So do you have anything else to add in terms of choosing a real estate agent for someone?

Kevin French:               

I just encourage [00:06:30] everybody to go with their gut and work with who would work best with them.

A lot of the time, when I'm meeting with clients, they are meeting three to five, six agents.

So if they're meeting that many people, they're getting a different feel for everybody; what their marketing plan is, what they have to offer, and what the connection is between them and the realtor.

Some people give off the impression that they're going to open house the property every weekend, and they're going to do all these things. [00:07:00]

It's important for the sellers to ask what value does that actually add?

For example, how many homes in the last year or five years have you sold off open houses?

Is it actually advantageous for the seller to be out of their home every weekend, or is the marketing that they're using actually effective, or does it just sound good?

It's important for them to ask as many questions as they can, and then make sure that who they're working with answers those questions appropriately and ensures that they're going to follow through on the things that they offer.

Karl Yeh:                      

Is it better to have a connection, I guess a personal connection, with a realtor, [00:07:30] or kind of choose a realtor based on talent, or is it a combination of the two?

Kevin French:                Combination of the two.

But you need to trust them.

Ultimately, they're going to be bringing you an offer at some point, hopefully. And then they're going to be negotiating on your behalf.

So they're going to advise that you need to maybe go out of your comfort zone a little bit, and maybe you should consider taking this offer for these reasons.

So you need to understand that they're doing that, and they're looking out for your best interest, not just trying to get the property sold.

So there's a lot of data that they're working with, and they're working with a lot of sound logic for [00:08:00] a majority of it, and it's important that you trust them and work with them and understand where it's coming from.

Question of the Day

Karl Yeh:                      

Perfect. So the question of the day I have for you is:

What are some of the best tips you have in terms of choosing a realtor?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Karl Yeh:                      

And remember, if you want to know more about selling your home, check out these videos, as well. And don't forget to subscribe if you want to know more from the experts.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional mortgage or financing related questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from home buying experts.  

About Kevin French:

Kevin French is a Calgary and area based realtor with a client focus.  He specializes in a stress free home selling process that is built on customer service.  Understanding that your home is one of your largest investments, Kevin employs a marketing mix that ensures you will maximize returns on your home sale. Diligent market research coupled with an in-depth understanding of the Calgary and area markets, allows Kevin to pinpoint the perfect price for your home.

In addition to perfect pricing, Kevin offers a suite of additional services such as professional photography  and an interior designer to ensure your home shows its best. Kevin French has become a trusted name in real estate because he is results driven and works closely with his clients to produce the best results.

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