The Globe and Mail published an article this week on how to find the best agent to sell your home. Author Fabrice Taylor certainly put some thought into this piece and it was good to see a balanced perspective.
Some of his tips were truly beneficial: don’t hire a friend or relative out of a perceived obligation….don’t hire a big name big box agent because you truly will get lost in the shuffle and be just a number….don’t hire an agent who charges you the lowest commissions because they will either not be professional enough to do a good job or be too consumed by high volume to give you the right amount of attention. Lastly, his suggestion to do your homework ahead of time to ensure you find the right agent is critical…and one we always stress to our clients.
However, a few points I’d like to debate in the spirit of business. I read Freakonomics too and if you take the time to find the right agent they will NOT rush you into a quick sale, even in competition…see above re: doing your research ahead of time. Also, in our experience you do get what you pay for…professionals charge appropriately for their time and energies. But, once again, your homework up front is paramount – don’t just hire someone who charges the highest fee just because you think that means full service: in any listing interview make sure your agent presents you a marketing plan and critical path of the steps they’ll take to present your property and describe how they’ll negotiate in your best interest. Additionally, don’t attempt to negotiate commissions ‘before you let an agent through your door’….asking the right questions up front should be your guide as to whether or not you should schedule an interview. If there is a commission discussion necessary, have it face to face once you’ve had an opportunity to view the marketing presentation in person. And lastly, commission incentives cannot be legally structured in Ontario – agree on a fee up front, once you’ve determined you’ve found the right agent for you.