Now that you have your home looking all spiffy and ready to list, how do you find an agent that will ensure that you get the top dollar you deserve? Many people already know an agent they can trust; however, if you do not know one directly, it is a good idea to first reach out to your friends, family and neighbours to see if they have any recommendations based on their experiences. Regardless, it is always recommended to speak with at least three agents to ensure you will be working with someone who is on the same page as you.
When speaking with potential agents, ask them what their marketing strategy will be, and if they can provide references for you to contact. Ask them if they are familiar with your neighbourhood, what sales they have achieved in your area, and what the listing to selling price was.
A new trend in the industry is real estate “teams”, which capitalize on the locally well-known name of the leader of the team, but beware with these situations – you will rarely have the attention of that individual after the listing agreement is signed – rather, you will likely be dealing with their assistants or other, less experienced agent-members of the “team”.
Last but not least, be sure to clarify what rate they will be charging. If they offer a discounted rate, make sure to ask if there are any services they may be cutting out to make up for this discount (such as a professional photographer, virtual tour, advertising, open houses, staging advice, etc), and who exactly will be taking that discount – the real estate commission (typically 5% total) is split between the listing agent and their brokerage, and the cooperating (buying) agent and their brokerage. The industry standard is 2.5% to each side, but if your agent is offering a discounted rate of 4.5% it is possible that they are collecting their full 2.5% but only offering the cooperating agent 2.5%. Ethically, all cooperating agents are obligated to show their buyer clients any suitable property regardless of the commission that is offered, but if a discounted commission is offered they may be inclined to show their clients other properties before they show them yours.
– Dana Snow, Broker of Record