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How to Find the Best Vancouver Realtor

Kim Lee - realtor in Vancouver

A good realtor can help you buy the home of your dreams.

A great realtor can negotiate an amazing deal on your behalf.

The best realtors can do both.

If you’re ready to jumpstart the home buying process, or are looking to sell your home at its optimal value, you need an experienced agent who will champion your needs. Don’t just hire anyone with a license–ask them these questions to determine if they’re the best Vancouver realtor for you, and why:

1. How much experience do you have as a real estate agent?

The keyword here is: experience. Once real estate agents have worked for a couple years, how many years they’ve been an agent doesn’t matter. A hungry agent with two years’ experience and wealth of Vancouver real estate market knowledge can prove more valuable than an agent of twenty years who’s just phoning it in.

More importantly, their knowledge of the Vancouver BC market is current. They’ll know how to price your home and what you can do to increase its value. If they have strong negotiation skills, even better!

An experienced professional realtor usually also has a built-in network of viable contacts that will make your life easier, including mortgage lenders, home inspectors, and interior designers.

2.  What type of real estate do you specialize in?

Real estate professionals all have their preferences. Some specialize in luxury real estate or prefer to work as a seller’s agent, rather than for buyers. Other real estate agents enjoy working with first-time buyers.

You need to find an agent who best fits your needs. If your realtor is used to only selling studios in Abbotsford, they’re probably not the best agent to help sell a four bedroom luxury property in downtown Vancouver.

3.  How often do you help buy/sell homes in this neighborhood?

Your real estate agent should know the neighborhood(s) where you’re buying or selling well. Local agents have the upper hand in residential real estate, especially in cities like ours.

4.  Are you a part-time or full-time agent, and what is your availability?

Some realtors work part-time. That’s okay, as long as they’re passionate and flexible enough to work on your schedule. They can’t just be selling real estate “on the side.”

The best real estate agents also put their clients first. They should learn your likes and dislikes to narrow your search. They should be finding and going to open houses with you, and schedule regular meetings to discuss all things real estate. If they’re not, there’s someone better out there.

Also, if they’re only available on weekends, but most of your free time is during the week, they’re not the realtor for you.

5.  Do you have a website?

Websites are modern day business cards. They serve as a realtor’s résumé or portfolio, and sometimes even their virtual storefront.

While realtor websites vary in quality, the basic information needs to be there–and it needs to reach a level of quality that informs you that they’re taking their job seriously. If you’re applying for a job, would you hire someone with poorly organized résumé covered in grease stains? Probably not. You shouldn’t hire a realtor with a poorly put together website, either.

6.  What is your list-to-sell ratio?

A list-to-sell ratio is:

Your final sale price / the last list price.

Also, it’s expressed as a percentage.

Your home lists for $1,000,000, and it sells for $970,000, then the list-to-sell ratio is 97%.

Why is this important?

If an agent’s list-to-sell ratio is consistently below 90% or way above 100%, they may not accurately price homes. This can speak to an agent’s lack of knowledge or experience (especially those who don’t know what a list-to-sell ratio is). However, that’s not always the case. In 2021, it wasn’t uncommon for homes to sell for $50,000 or more over their market price.

Compare your agent’s list-to-sell ratio with other real estate agents in the area.

7.  How many deals do you close per year?

You might think that the more deals an agent closes, the better they are. However, if they close too many deals, that should be a red flag. Full-time professional real estate agents closed around 12 transactions a year. If they claimed they had closed 75 homes last year, you should ask for more information.

8.  How many active clients do you have?

If you’re the only client right now, hopefully there’s a good reason why. Conversely, if they have too many clients, you may just be a number to them. Agents with ten active clients may not be available when you need them.

9.  Do you work alone, or are you part of a team?

If they’re part of a team, that could be why they closed 75 homes last year or have ten active clients. While teamwork is great, the real estate agents should have a very personal relationship with their clients. They’re helping you get the keys to your new life–the next chapter of your life. If your agent is just one cog in a larger team, you may end up getting passed around to other agents in their bubble.

It’ll be harder for an entire team to know you and your preferences if they’re not spending quality time with you. As a result, you might feel shorted, and the home-buying process could take far longer than it should.

10. How long are your listings on the market?

According to the Vancouver Housing Market Report, townhouses and condos spent an average of 15 and 16 days on the market in June 2022. If your real estate agent has multiple townhouses on the market for over 90 days, you should ask why.

11. How Does Your Commission Work?

Vancouver doesn’t have a set commission fee. Instead, realtors determine these commissions, their brokerage firms, and any special terms you and your agent agree on.

What’s important isn’t so much the commission percentage your agent is taking, as it is what it’s for. For the best Vancouver realtors, the commission is well worth it.

12. How does the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive work?

This question tests your realtor’s knowledge and experience. The first-time home buyer incentive is a relatively new program with its pros and cons. If you’re a first-time home buyer, agents in Vancouver should know at least enough to help you make an informed decision about the incentive.

Bonus: What is your process or goal?

The best real estate agents have a process. Understanding how they work will help determine your agent’s personality and professionalism. If they don’t have a set process, they should at least have a mission or goals. Ours is to deliver the highest level of service and dedication to our clients.

Now that you know what to ask your current or future real estate agent, ask them to meet over a cup of coffee and see where their minds are at–or ask us! We’d love to tell you about our experience and how we serve our clients.