A blog cannot deal with all aspects of a subject and is not intended to replace professional advice. It's purpose is to highlight information and identify areas of possible interest. Anyone wishing to discuss this blog or to make any comments or suggestions about this blog is invited to do so by either posting comments or emailing me directly.

 

 
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In today's highly competitive real estate industry, many real estate agents have taken to reducing services in order to remain profitable. With the average real estate agent in the Calgary area only doing 5 or 6 transactions in a year, it's no wonder services are being cut back. Like you, most consumers today are looking for better value for the money they spend for all types of services – not reduced services and ineffective results.

 

Choose your real estate agent or broker carefully whether you're buying or selling real estate. Like with any other service provider, look for value, personal service, commitment, integrity, ethics and results. Here are some of the questions to ask your prospective real estate agent/broker or REALTOR®:

  • Are you a full-service real estate agent/broker and REALTOR®? In addition to real estate, are you also holding down another part-time or full-time job?
  • What is included in a typical agent's "full-service" and what premium services do you add at no additional charge?
  • Do you add professional high-definition photography instead of the typical snapshots we normally see in many listings?
  • Do you add virtual tours (360° paroramic views) that are more than just the same 10 to 50 MLS® System photos?
  • Do you create and provide custom, colour brochures to help my home stand out from the dozens of other homes a potential buyer may view?
  • Do you provide ways for me to help with marketing my home in order to attract more potential buyers?
  • Do you provide a premium booking service so that my home will get shown even when you or your office is busy serving other clients and can't respond immediately to other REALTOR® viewing requests for their buyers?
  • Will you help us source the required title and condominium documents, and assist us in obtaining a Real Property Report and city compliance? Or do you just confirm the information and we have to source it all ourselves? Or, do you confirm that we have all the required the information at all?
  • One of the biggest complaints that we hear about real estate agents is that they list a home for sale and then disappear. Do you provide us with marketing updates, showing feedback and constant communication?
  • Are you personally available when we need to ask questions via text messaging, email, telephone and in person? Or am I going to be pushed off onto another team member?
  • Do you operate your business as a real estate team? I hear that teams are expensive to operate, how do you keep your expenses down so you can pass the savings on to the consumer?

And then follow up with these questions:

  • Are your fees and commissions competitive? Are they negotiable? What options do you offer to make it more affordable for sellers selling and buyers buying homes? (YES, buyer rebates are available, as are reduced listing fees – but they're not commonly offered. If they're not offered – ASK.)
  • Will you list my home for sale without providing me any type of representation? Why not?
  • We fear that real estate agents will provide a high estimate of value in order to try to "win our listing." (These are referred to as "no cost/no obligation FREE CMAs.") Do you offer an unbiased and well-researched CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) that's not based on whether you get the listing or not? If we're charged for this service, can we get this minimal fee refunded if we sell our property through you?
  • With really close to half the all home listings in Calgary in each of the last several years not selling, what are our best strategies to get our home sold for the highest amount of money?
  • Have you been schooled in marketing, real estate appraisal, negotiations, finance and business strategy other than what was taught in "Real Estate 101 – the Associate's program"?
  • Why don't you offer "bait and switch" marketing schemes like, "Buy this home and I'll buy yours" or "Your home sold in 90 days, or we'll buy it"?
  • What level of real estate licence do you hold?
  • What other designations and certifications have you earned and currently hold? Why are these important to me?
  • Our home is the most significant asset we own, do you have experience and expertise in successfully negotiating big deals in addition to real estate transactions?
  • Every real estate agent seems to have success ratios for "sell versus list price" that's better than the board average? If the Seller alone decides the list price, and the Buyer and Seller – combined – determine the sale price, why do agents toss around these ratios as though it's something in their control?
  • Days on the Market is another statistic that we see agents tossing around. Why is it now useless to compare these numbers?
  • We continue to see a lot of real estate flyers, "Just Listed" cards, "Just Sold" cards, newspaper and print advertisements featuring real estate and yet most real estate agents say that print advertising doesn't work in selling a home? What are they really selling in those ads?
  • Google and Facebook ads are all the rage right now. What assurances are you going to give me that if I list my home for sale with you that you won't specifically target me with those ads so that I think you are doing a marvellous job in electronic marketing since I'll see your ads EVERYWHERE? (Ad retargeting is a new hot way of having ads follow consumers as they explore on the Internet).
  • We hear that "life-style videos" of homes are now being recorded for home listings. How much more are these going to cost in listing my home? Considering that if they have any kind of contact information in them they'd be considered "personal promotion" and therefore are forbidden from being included on the MLS® System, where exactly are you going to be promoting these videos so that consumers and other agents can even see them? Or are you using them to capture more clients instead of trying to sell MY HOME.
  • Most real estate agents claim that Open Houses do not sell homes but are most often held just to attract buyer clients for other homes to the real estate agents. Have you found Open Houses successful in selling the seller's home?
  • We've heard agents say they have a "long list of buyers" that may be interested in our home but need us to list the home for sale in order for them to bring them. Is this true or are they just trying to potentially collect both the selling and buying-side commissions?
  • We've seen "old-school agent" marketing plans where the agent says they are going to submit a copy of our listing to all the agents in their office with waiting buyers. Why aren't they submitting it right away to ALL the agents in the city and limiting it to only those in their office first? And if they're only showing it to a portion of the 5,000+ REALTORS® in Calgary, then is it possible that we are going to get the best price?
  • Do we get exactly the same representation if an agent from their office brings the buyer or are you obligated to reduce your representation because you're still working in a "common law" brokerage?

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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS ® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.