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As the seasons change, real estate remains the hottest topic in our sea-locked city. The increasingly competitive market, influenced by AirBnB rentals and foreign investors, may seem more daunting than ever, but luckily not all real estate professionals are in the market to swindle. “We need to take on an advocacy role,” says Eric Langhjelm, Founder of North Vancouver’s VPG Realty Inc.Langhjelm shared four tips on choosing the realtor that’s right for you.
Langhjelm’s first piece of advice is to attend local open houses to see how realtors represent their listings. Are they sending a junior associate? Are they actually closing deals? “Despite being the biggest transaction of their lives, people choose realtors faster than they choose a pair of shoes,” says Langhjelm. Putting some research in up front will save you time, money and headache down the road.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a pool of three or four realtors, meet with them to learn more about their strategy and past success. Langhjelm says that the easiest way to make a realtor squirm is to ask what exactly they will earn in commission. “It’s a lot easier to hide behind a percentage than a price tag,” he says, adding that commission is always negotiable. “Ask them how they establish a listing price and what they’ve sold in your neighbourhood. Take realtors seriously who speak in specifics, and avoid those who generalize.”Eric Langhjelm, Founder, VPG Realty Inc.
Consult other industry experts to see how a candidate operates. “If someone can vouch for a realtor from the other side of the transaction, that goes a long way,” explains Langhjelm. “And check with past clients,” he adds. “Having their name on a huge number of listings looks impressive, but doesn’t leave the realtor much time to dedicate to you.”
Finally, Langhjelm recommends investing in a proper appraisal. “Have the bank assess your property for a baseline value,” he says. “It’s easy to be seduced by a realtor promising a big number, but if they can’t close the deal that’s meaningless.”Langhjelm, who has seen open house traffic drop significantly since the spring, believes that the local market is starting to balance back out. “When the media starts talking about how hot the market is, it’s already in retraction,” he says, “which makes it more important than ever to find a trustworthy realtor.” He explains that VPG Realty’s approach means having a whole team behind your transaction. “If you work with one of us, you get all of us.”