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Choosing a REALTOR® to Sell Your House? Do Your Homework!

Choosing a REALTOR® to Sell Your House


Everyone has a story about the real estate business. Perhaps the story is about a colleague who sold his house in 24 hours for $100,000 over asking. Perhaps it’s about a friend who was caught between purchasing a new home and selling their old house when the stock market crashed. Or perhaps it’s about an unethical real estate agent who didn’t disclose that he was representing both buyer and seller or another who was representing two buyers for the same property. Choosing the right REALTOR®to sell your house can be one of the most important financial decisions you may make. Before embarking on the process, be sure to do the homework it takes to find a reputable REALTOR®; one that understands the market and how to help get you the price and conditions that you want. 


Where to Start


Particularly in hot markets such as Toronto and surrounding neighbourhoods, it’s important to find a seasoned professional who knows the market, knows how to negotiate and is able to carefully guide their clients through the process. When choosing a REALTOR®, start by thinking about the four R’s.

  •         Referrals: ask people you trust, preferably those who have recently been through the process, for recommendations.
  •        Repeat business: does the REALTOR®have clients who return again and again?
  •        Respect: your agent should respect you and your individual situation. 
  •        Relationships: an agent should be approachable, answer your questions, and be easily accessible.


Often people feel pressured to use a friend, a relative or someone else they know personally. Never succumb to this kind of pressure. Nothing will spoil a relationship quicker than a real estate transaction that has been mishandled; the financial stakes are too high. What ever the relationship, it should be professional. Look for REALTORS®that are licensed by the Canadian Real Estate Association which lays out a code of ethics for its members and also allows their registered agents to list homes on the MLS on-line boards. Another indicator of excellence are agents that have received reputable sales awards for their work, such as the award-winning, Brampton-based team at JN Asensio Realty.


Understand All the Financial Implications


When meeting with potential REALTORS®, question them about the financial implications of selling a home to avoid any nasty shocks down the line. There will be legal fees, fees for discharging a closed mortgage and, of course, commission fees. While commission fee percentage rates were traditionally written in stone, commission fees can vary and be negotiated. Before rushing to the REALTOR®that offers the lowest commission fee, ask what services they offer for that fee.  What kind of marketing plan do they offer?  What kind of staging services do they suggest?  Consider if the agent is part of a large firm: if they are charging a high commission, perhaps it’s because their overhead is high. However, lower commissions don’t always put money in your pocket. If a real estate agent has to sell more homes to make enough money, they may not give you the best service, which may lose you money in the long run.


Choosing a REALTOR®to sell your house may take some time. Shop around. Make sure you meet with a variety of REALTORS® until you find one you feel comfortable with, someone who is looking out for your best interests.