Finding a Real Estate Agent

Although you can handle a house search and sale yourself, it is generally considered to be a prudent move to engage the services of a real estate agent (also referred to as a real estate broker or realtor). Realtors are licensed and understand the real estate market and the transaction process. Some ways to find an agent are:

  • Ask friends and family if they have dealt with an agent that they were happy with
  • Visit ‘open houses' in the area of interest
  • Look at the ‘For Sale' and ‘Sold' signs in the area in which you are interested

Selecting an agent

You should interview several agents before making your decision. You want to be comfortable with the person and know that they understand and can meet your objectives. Some of the questions to be asked are:

  • Do they know the neighbourhood in which you are interested?
  • Are they prepared to pre-screen properties based on your criteria?
  • Are they experienced?
  • Will they do the extra ‘homework' involved in analyzing prospective properties?
  • Are they working full-time?
  • Do they understand home financing?
  • Do you feel that they are putting your best interests first and foremost?

Benefits of a good agent

One of the benefits of having a competent and trusted agent is that they will act as a go-between and deal directly with the listing agent. This prevents you from having to engage in the bargaining process directly. As well, your agent will have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and should be able to determine a lot of information about any properties of interest.

The agent's responsibility to you

Which agent is working for whom will be spelled out in the agreement of purchase and sale. Where an agent is working for both the buyer and the seller (a double-end deal) the agent must enter into a contract known as a Limited Dual Agency Agreement that spells out the agent's responsibilities to both parties.

Who pays the agent?

In the real estate business, the vendor or the seller of the home pays the commission and the commission is shared with the other agent involved.