Agents play a big role in having a successful and stress-free home buying experience, so it's important to find a good one.
Referrals can be a good place to start. Do you have family or friends who recently bought a home in your area?
Once you've got a name or two, there are a few ways to know you've got the right person on your side. According to, Mark Douglas of Royal LePage Connect in Ajax, Ontario, "You definitely want a REALTOR over a regular real estate agent." REALTORS® are real estate agents who are members of the Canadian Real Estate Association: CREA– and that's important because it means they're held to a strict code of ethics.
Cora Weekes of Re/Max West in Scarborough Ontario recommends that you look for a real estate agent who holds a real estate broker license. This can be a great indication that they've gone above and beyond in their education.
More important than all of this, however, is finding an agent who respects you. "You've got a lot of agents that don't carry any designations, but they carry all the characteristics of a good agent. At the end of the day, you want the agent to be trustworthy, loyal and full of respect for the client," said Cora.
Should I get approved by a lender or find an agent first?
Most real estate agents prefer that you get approved first. An approval gives your agent certainty that they won't lead you down the wrong path by showing you homes outside your budget. You can save yourself time and heartbreak by learning your budget upfront.
Looking for a real estate agent?
Visit Realtor.ca to get connected with an experienced agent in your area.
What to Expect Once You've Found Your Real Estate Agent
Each agent is different, but here's a general picture of what you can expect once you've kicked the house hunting process into motion:
- You'll spend some time talking about what you're looking for. Your agent will want to see your approval letter. Be prepared to talk about your budget, your target area and the criteria for your home.
- You'll get to review some listings. Your agent will send you listings of homes you might be interested in. Then, you can let your agent know which ones you want to see.
- Your agent will set up showings. In most cases, your agent will work fast so you don't miss out on a potential home. That's why it helps to keep an open schedule while you're house hunting, especially if you're in a competitive market.
- You'll attend showings together until you're ready to make an offer. At that point, your agent will draft the offer letter and cross their fingers for you!
What if I want to change real estate agents?
In most cases, your agent won't require you to sign a contract. If you don't think your agent is doing everything they can to help you get into a home, you should be honest about your feelings. Talk with the agent directly or inquire whether there's another agent at the same company you can work with.