14 Jul Do i need a real estate agent to buy a house?
I will try and keep this short since I know some of you are coming from google adwords and will leave within a few seconds if I don’t get straight to the point. If you don’t have time to read and would just like a better way to search for MLS listings, click here to read my collaborate review.
I think we need to ask ourselves a different question: At what point in your search do you need a real estate agent? I get it. Real estate agents are annoying. All you have is one simple question and then you get pressured into:
- I can’t tell you unless you sign this contract
- Let me come over and we can talk about it
- Let me throw you onto my spam drip email service
- Let me try and convince you to buy a house you don’t even like
These days, consumers are doing all the research first and then reaching out when they need help. You google this, you google that and once you know what you want you get in contact with someone to seal the deal. But some agents fail to see this. They are always in closing mode and don’t understand that this is a huge turnoff.
But back to the original question: Do i need a real estate agent to buy a house?
The short answer is yes. Here is why:
- You can’t book appointments to go see houses without a real estate agent
- You don’t have access to the proper forms.
- You don’t have access to current or historical information
- You don’t know the proper procedures (offer presentation, bidding wars etc)
None of what I just mentioned is rocket science. But the Toronto Real Estate Board pays big money to stop the average joe to get access to any information. We will most definitely be buying houses online in the near future, but in the short term, you are stuck with Real Estate Agents.
How do you choose a good real estate agent?
So now that you’ve done some research online, know how much approximately you can afford and have a rough idea where you want to live: how do you choose a real estate agent to put all the final pieces together? I’ve looked at a few “10 reasons why / 10 tips” type of posts and they all seemed a bit generic. Here is the real life version:
- Someone who will answer your texts/calls/emails within a few minutes.
- We’ve all been there. You need a quick answer and you just can’t get hold of that one person who can help you. It is frustrating. Think of how frustrating it would be when you are trying to purchase a real estate property in a hot market. Sometimes I don’t hear back from listing agents for days. Is that the type of person you want selling your house? We live in an era of instant gratification. If someone can’t get hold of an agent within a few minutes, they call someone else (unless they are already stuck with a dud!). Communication is key. Also, don’t hire someone who still uses a flip phone no matter how much they talk about the good old days.
- Someone who knows their way around technology
- Your realtor can’t be out of touch with the world. Everything involves a computer and the internet. Your realtor should be able to dance around the MLS system and pull up anything you need in under a minute. I’ve had realtors ask me how to open a PDF and how to log our of their email. I get that not everybody will be an expert, but if you are getting paid $25k on a million dollar house and call yourself a top agent, you better be able to open a PDF. I’ve heard some pretty wacky things “Can you e-mail me the offer before I get to my office because I won’t have access to my email once I get there”. Your agents needs to be able to type up deals in less than 10 minutes (templates ready to go!), sign back offers on an ipad in their car and keep up to date with new available technology (See my collaborate review, a new way to search for MLS listings).
- Someone who sends out information before throwing a contract in your face
- As real estate agents, we need to protect ourselves with contracts, but I understand why someone wouldn’t want to sign a contract right away. You don’t know them. You don’t know how the operate, how quickly they get back to you, if they are personable, pushy etc. There should be a little give before getting a client to sign a contract. They should be able to “test drive” their agent so to speak. If you want some quick general information about your neighbourhood and your agent wants to sit down and pitch you before he hands over that information, I would look elsewhere. My approach: I send you exactly what you need within a few minutes so you can get started with your search. If I treat you right, then you will want to work with me. I won’t need to give you some awkward pitch. Actions speak louder than words. Why wouldn’t you want to work with someone who you were able to live chat in real time and get exactly what you wanted without having to sign up or jump through hoops.
- Someone who can write their own agreements
- Unfortunately most real estate agents don’t know how to put together an agreement. This means that they are only able to put together an agreement during regular office business hours (9am-5pm Monday – Friday). If you go see a house on Friday that has offers on Sundays, these agents are scrambling to put together the paperwork. I understand the idea of freeing up time to do the important things, but we are in a market where houses are on the market for less than a day. You need someone who can write their own deals.
What about negotiating skills, being an expert in the area etc
Make no mistake about it. Your real estate agent has to have “it”. They must know how to navigate the waters so to speak. Unfortunately negotiating and being an expert are less important in such a hot market. Let’s take a quick look:
- Being a skilled negotiator: There isn’t much negotiating these days (on good properties). You come in on offer night and find out there are 5 total offers. All 5 have no conditions. The buyer is looking at one thing: price. You either pay up or go home. No amount of negotiating is going to help you. If you are tied and pitched a good story… sure! But if you are really that close they will tell you to go for a 3rd round of offers.
- Being an expert in the area: Ok you get a bit of leeway here. It always depends where and the nature of the area (cottages, places known for oil tanks and easements etc) My pitch to you is that you can become an expert in an area by looking at the data. Once again it comes back to being good with the tools that allow you to get this information. I would argue that a non-expert can quickly get the information needed to make good decisions, but the experts are not able to master the tools needed for the modern real estate search. In the end it will come down to the old fashion way of doing things vs new technology. Most of my clients know exactly what they want. They know so much more than me. I am there to facilitate the transaction, give them the tools to success and give guidance when necessary. As I mentioned earlier, everyone does their research first then comes to look for help.
So there you have it. An honest guide on how to choose a real estate agent. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. My contact information is below. You can also live chat in real time by clicking the button on the bottom right.
Norman Hill Realty Inc
20 Cachet Woods Court #2