When buying or selling a house in Peterborough, it’s vital to have up-to-date advice and information about the current market. You’ll often find yourself bombarded with suggestions from well-meaning friends and relatives who care about you and want the best results for you. Unfortunately, much of what you hear is based on old information, half-truths and outright myths about the market. Persistent misconceptions include everything from how to set a price for your house to playing hardball during the negotiating process. It’s completely understandable. Real estate transactions can be complex, and your decision will impact your life for years.
Why a Real Estate Agent is Essential
Real estate transactions are all about business, and agents must be knowledgeable not just about the market but also about the city and the neighbourhoods within it. However, real estate is also about relationships. Both parties involved are human beings with dreams, goals, and expectations. To a large extent, a real estate agent is a matchmaker, connecting buyers and sellers and helping clients find the perfect home in the perfect place for the perfect family.
Do you need to work with an agent? It’s not legally required. There’s nothing to stop you from listing your house FSBO (For Sale by Owner) or buying a property from the listing agent at an open house. Once again, many misconceptions stand in the way of obtaining the professional guidance and help an agent can provide.
- Sellers often believe they can earn more without an agent because they won’t have to pay commissions. The reality is a local Realtor who knows Peterborough can help you achieve far more than you would on your own, even after commissions are paid.
- Buyers frequently have a misconception that they will pay more by using the services of a buyer agent. The truth is that buyers don’t have to pay commissions at all. The seller pays, and the commissions are split between the two agents. Working with an expert can give you access to properties you wouldn’t otherwise find, sometimes at prices below the market average.
There is no downside when you find a high-quality agent you can trust. You’ll enjoy a far more seamless transaction with less stress and less work than trying to navigate a fast-moving market on your own. The question is: How do you find an agent you can trust when there are so many to choose from?
The real estate market in Peterborough is unique! We have all the comforts and convenience of a big city, with none of the hassles. Find out more in the articles below:
- Living in Toronto vs Peterborough: What’s Better?
- Signs it’s Time to Move Away From the GTA
- Relocating to Peterborough: A Case Study
How to Know if Your Agent is Qualified
First and foremost, you want to know that your real estate agent is up to the task. This means up-to-date with current information with the skill to negotiate the terms on your behalf. If you’re selling, your agent should know how to prepare and market your home effectively. Above all, they should be able to perform a detailed home evaluation so you can set the most attractive price possible without sacrificing value.
An agent with hyper-focused local knowledge can also give you a much-needed edge, especially in competitive markets, as we saw in early 2022. Awareness of desirable amenities, like schools, parks, or the interesting boutiques along the waterfront, can be the trigger for a successful transaction. This knowledge only comes from an agent who lives locally and knows Peterborough’s neighbourhoods inside and out.
Another aspect to consider is how long a real estate agent has worked in the field. The recent housing boom inspired many people to get their licenses. The fast seller’s market made it easy to succeed, even without years of experience or negotiation expertise. However, now that the market has changed, many newcomers are struggling. If you want an agent who can thrive in all circumstances, look for someone with at least five years of experience in the industry.
Speaking of knowing the area, what are some of the best amenities and experiences you’ll enjoy in Peterborough? Here are just a few:
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- The Joy of Cycling in Peterborough and the Kawarthas
- Here Are the Lakes Near Peterborough You Have to Visit!
Narrowing Down Your Choices
There’s something to be said about living in a technological age. You can research the best real estate agents around from the comfort of your living room. You can browse their websites to get a feel for their work style and ethics and see if their values align with your goals. Many even have a chat function where you can ask any questions in real time!
Before contacting an agent in person, check out their Google reviews to see what past clients have to say. Successful agents will have primarily four and five-star ratings, but the review itself isn’t everything. If you want an idea of how responsive an agent will be to your needs, see how they respond to the reviews.
Once you have a list of agents you believe you will work well with, it’s time to meet in person or virtually.
How to Know if Your Agent Will Provide Good Service
Ability and expertise are critical, but excellent service is just as important. Hiring an agent only to feel ignored and neglected after the fact is the biggest complaint people have when buying or selling. It can be a stressful time, and you want someone who will be there for you through it all.
If you’ve followed the process so far, you’ll have already eliminated the worst offenders. Your in-person or virtual meeting will give you an even better idea of what they will be like to work with. The first thing to notice is how long they take to respond to your inquiry in the first place. Do they answer the phone or respond to your messages quickly? If they are responsive now, chances are they will be once you hire them as well. Here are some other questions you can ask to make sure you sign with an agent who will go to bat for you.
- What is your list-to-sale ratio? It’s great news if an agent handles a high volume of listings throughout the year. However, what really matters is whether or not they sell.
- What is your plan to market my home?
- How will you arrive at an optimal listing price?
- How many clients have you helped buy a home in this area in the last 12 months?
- How will you help me get the lowest price at the best terms?
- Do you have access to any properties that may not be on the MLS®?
Whether buying or selling:
- Do you work full-time or part-time in the industry? (A part-time agent who does real estate as a second job may not have time to focus on getting the best results for you.)
- Do you work with both buyers and sellers? Some agents specialize, but understanding both sides can help with negotiation.
- How long have you worked in my area?
- How many transactions do you manage in a typical year?
- How will we stay in contact?
- Do you have any references from previous clients I can talk to?
The more questions you ask, the more you’ll know what it will be like to work with your agent. In the end, you want someone highly qualified who will also provide above-average service. Above all, you want someone approachable, that you feel comfortable enough to ask all of your questions.
Are you buying or selling in the Peterborough area and looking for an agent to guide you through the process? We’d love to help you get started. You can reach out to us at [email protected] or call 705-775-2255 today.