Tips to Help You Find Your Next Real Estate Agent: How to Find a Winner ( For Sellers )
Questions to Ask and Things to Think About
Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
If you’re looking for a realtor to help you sell or buy a property, call me today!
With over 14,000 real estate agents in the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed looking for the “right” one to help you sell your home. In this case, it’s a good time to stick with the old cliché, and go ahead and “judge a book by its cover.” Realtors are in the marketing and sales business, and the way they market themselves is most likely a direct reflection on how they’d market your home… or something close to it. With that being said, here’s a list of how to pick a realtor and some things to keep an eye on when scoping out your agent online or interviewing them in person:
Their Personal Brand
- What do their personal marketing materials look like? Refer to their website, their business cards, their previous feature sheets, or flyers they’ve sent you in the past. Does it look professionally designed, or like a template that anyone could put together? Are they printing on quality paper, or from their home printer? There are going to be initial cues as to how they would market your home.
- How are they differentiating themselves from all the other realtors? Is there anything different or special about them? Does it seem that based on their previous listings that they market homes differently or better than most agents? Do they have a program in which they have a set system they must follow when marketing and listing your home?
- How recent is their photo online? Does it look like the photo was taken 20 years ago?
- Is their email address updated to their brand address? If they’re still using a @shaw.ca or @gmail.com account for their business then they’re missing some pretty basic branding and marketing techniques.
Their Marketing Plan: Print and Online
- Do they have a marketing plan for your home? Is there a step by step guide to getting your home sold? Check and see what kind of systems they have in place and whether there is a consistent standard held every time they list a home. Look for an advertised program or plan that they have, it will most likely be on their website or in their pre-listing package.
- Do they focus on both print and online marketing? Ask for some samples they might have left over from previous listings.
- Does it look like their previous listings are done by a professional photographer? Do they have a virtual tour available? Is there a custom website dedicated to the home for sale? Check for things that they do that go above and beyond the average realtor, the majority of people find their next home online so this is an extremely important step that your realtor must focus on.
- Do they have good quality feature sheets? Are there a number of pictures on the feature sheet that highlight a range of rooms? A pet peeve of mine is when the realtor just prints out the MLS feature sheet from their home computer on low quality paper. This method does not help showcase the home to its fullest potential by only having one photo to look at.
- Are there typos or mistakes in their marketing materials? I’m always surprised to see how many mistakes there are in online descriptions or feature sheets. Look for someone that is detail oriented, it will show in their marketing materials, and ultimately help your home to stand out.
- Nowadays the way people search for real estate is different, you don’t usually have someone say “I found my home in a newspaper ad” anymore. Everyone is searching online, and that’s usually where most buyers first fall in love with the home they eventually buy. In order to have your home reach its maximum exposure capacity, it’s important that your agent has an awesome online presence. Look for a page specifically dedicated to their previous listings, with high resolution professional photos and virtual tour. Check to see if they have a blogging section, which will increase their website traffic and ultimately be better off for you. Also, does their website give you a good idea of who they are, what they stand for, and what the selling process would be like?
- Beware of:
- No “About Me” section or details on their experience
- No original content
- Low website traffic
- No “Recent Sales” section or details on their previous listings
- Poor readability when switching from a desktop to mobile view
- No contact page, or full information with their direct cell phone number and
Their Availability – Are You Dealing with a Secret Agent?
- If you’re having a tough time finding their information online, then other realtors and potential buyers probably will too. Real estate in Vancouver moves fast, and your agent being readily available is absolutely critical to your success.
- Signs your realtor is a “secret agent”:
- They don’t have their cell phone number on their website
- The phone number on their signs and/or business card is always the office phone… and you’re constantly directed to a brokerage receptionist.
- They only list a contact form on their website, rather than an email address.
- If your agent isn’t available at a certain time, does he or she have an assistant or a partner to assist you in the mean time? Do they only work 9AM-5PM, or do they have extended hours? Ask your potential future agent about their availability, and what back up options are in the case they’re on vacation.
- Is your agent available through call, text, and email? Not only is this important for you, but it’s also important for others realtors. Their ability to respond in a timely manner to any 3 of those methods is crucial in a sales and communication role.
Their Previous Listings
- Ask them if they have any leftover print material – like a feature sheet from their previous listing. Check to see how they’re marketing their past listings outside of the MLS, are they letting the MLS do all the work or are they going above and beyond to generate buyers from a variety of mediums?
- Are they selling themselves more than the home? What’s the focus of their marketing materials? Make sure that their listings that have been marketed in the past focus more on the home than the agent.
- Check to see if they’re taking their photos themselves or bringing in a professional. You’ll be able to tell the difference.
- Do they have a blog? What does the blog consist of? Does their blog contain valuable content that would be interesting and attractive for a buyer?
- Blogs are usually a good sign that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to marketing. People that blog understand the value of content and information, and are also probably writing to increase their SEO ranking on google. These are all huge steps to show that your potential listing realtor knows about marketing themselves, and in turn will know more than the average person about marketing their home.
- Blogs create a high traffic website. If they have a large following on their blog, it means that your home will have increased exposure to their network and other potential buyers.
Learning how to pick a realtor just isn’t something many people talk about. While experience is most definitely important, we also see a lot of realtors that have been in the business forever that are stuck in the past and don’t care about marketing. On the flip side, we also see a lot of new realtors that just think houses sell themselves. Marketing has become a huge part of real estate nowadays, especially with everyone searching up both real estate and realtors online first most of the time. If you believe that marketing assists in you achieving a top dollar sale (we hope you do!), then it’s extra important that you do you due diligence and consider the above when selecting your next real estate agent. Your bank account will thank you.
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