When you are about to sell your home, possibly your largest single asset, you should be sure to find a good real estate agent. Before we get into how you should go about finding that good real estate agent, here are a few helpful definitions and links.
The term REALTOR® is a trademark identifying real estate licensees who, in Canada, are members of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). In the United States they are members of National Association of Realtors (NAR). REALTORS® adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice. CREA’s website is here http://www.crea.ca/. There is a tool on the left side of their site which will allow you to easily find the website for your local board.
The government body (provinces or states) which grants real estate licenses sets educational standards. In Ontario, Canada, the regulation covering much of this can be found online here: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/source/regs/english/2005/elaws_src_regs_r05567_e.htm#BK5
Education for licensees in the province of Ontario is handled by Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). http://www.orea.com/ You might be interested in the many inexpensive one hour courses provided for the general public at http://folder.orea.com/newpublicportfolio/NewHomePage.aspx
The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is a self-managed, not-for-profit corporation, responsible for administering the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA 2002) and associated regulations on behalf of the provincial government and protecting the public interest through a fair, safe and informed marketplace. If you have a complaint about a member you can file it with them. You may also wish to read the resource material they have on their website covering a variety of real estate related issues. http://www.reco.on.ca
Technically, only the company your real estate professional works for can be your ‘agent’. The real estate companies are called Brokerages. Each Brokerage must have a designated Broker of Record. This Broker of Record must be an active manager and supervisor.
A real estate agent’s title can be Salesperson or Broker depending on what licensing requirements they have met. Just because the have the title Broker doesn’t mean they have their own Brokerage or are a Broker of Record.
A Real Estate Board is a non profit organization representing local real estate agents, brokers and salespeople. It provides services to its members and maintains and operates the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in the community. In Kingston, Ontario, the Board is Kingston Area Real Estate Association (KAREA). On their website at http://www.karea.ca/ you can find a complete listing of all members and offices in the Board. As well they have some good links to community resources including Kingston stats at http://creastats.crea.ca/king/. If you don’t know how to find your local board website try the CREA site at http://www.crea.ca/.
Multiple Listing Service is a marketing database set up by a group of cooperating real estate brokers. In Canada, you may be familiar with a portion of the MLS data which is presented to the public on www.realtor.ca.
A real estate agent can act for buyers or sellers, but here I am just going to discuss your requirements as a seller. A good real estate agent may refuse to act for both in the same transaction to avoid conflict of interest.
What should you be looking for in a good real estate agent?
– licensed in your Board
– good track record
– good references
– personality you can trust and work comfortably with
– access to Multiple Listing Service
– marketing capabilities
– works with your type of property and in your neighbourhood
How do you get names of possible candidates?
– referrals from friends, family and neighbours
– lawn signs in your neighbourhood
– print ads for homes like yours
– attending neighbourhood open houses
– internet listings for homes in your area
– internet searches
– yellow pages or other media
Some further considerations:
Don’t just judge agents by their website, although, if they don’t have one I would ask them how they manage to be competitive without it.
You can check with your local real estate board to find names and also to ensure they are licensed.
Attending open houses is a good way to find out what various agents are like without any commitment. However, you may find the top performing real estate agents do not do many open houses themselves.
How do you go about selecting a good real estate agent?
– assemble a short list of 3-5
– book interviews (let them know you will be interviewing them as well as others)
– conduct interviews using the same questions for each, and take notes
– check references
– make a selection
– give each interviewee a courtesy call to let them know your decision.