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Top 10 Protocol Tips for Working With a Realtor


Blog by Claire LeLacheur | May 13th, 2010


For many home Buyers and Sellers working with a real estate agent is a huge mystery akin to the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. Some Buyers believe that agents should drop everything thy are doing and run out and show them some houses.

Vancouver Realtors are professionals just like your local butcher, baker, and your banker. Each agent carries their own set of protocol tips that they adhere to as well as their own set of professional ethics.

1.Undertsand that Agents work on Commission

Very few agents work on a salary - none that I know of! Realtors get paid a commission but only on the close of the transaction and only if their name is on the contract. Don't ask an agent to work for you if you fully intend later on to cut them out of the deal.

2. Keep appointments and be on time

When you call an agent for an appointment they must inturn call the listing agent who calls the Selllers to arrange for an appointment when the Sellers are out. You are not the agents only prospect and God help you if you are! If you are going to be late give a phone call - but try to be on time.

3. Choose an Realtor then stick with that Realtor

Decide whether or not you want to work with an Realtor before you start your home shopping process. Interview a few Realtors and let them know that you are in the interview process. Then pick one and stick with them.

4. Do Not call the Listing Agent if you are working with a Buyers Agent

Listing agents work for the Seller and not the Buyer. If you hire the Listing Agent to work for you and she has also listed the property then you are accepting limited dual agency. If the listing agent shows you the property then they will expect to represent you. Please don't tell the listing agent that you would like to see the property and you are working with a Buyers agent but you would prefer not to bother them because they are busy. Please, who is not busy these days? Stop wasting people's time and get both agents in the room.

5. Practise open house protocol

If you are perusing open hosues let the listing agent know that you are working with a Real Estate Agent. If they ask you to sign in to the open house, add your agents phone number. It is also a good idea to carry a stack of your agents cards so you can hand them out to the other Realtors at the open houses. Don't go to an open house and ask about the Sellers motivation and why they are selling - just leave that to your Realtor to get that information in private.

6. Sign a Buyers Agent Agreement

This is a not generally a big thing in BC right now but I guarantee that soon it will be mandatory. This is a binding document that creates a relationship between you and your Real Estate Agent. Once you are signed up, the realtionship between you and your agent allows her to work smartly for you and in your best interest. Trust me, if you sign a buyers agent agreement you will recieve great service. If you are not ready to sign one then perhaps you are not ready to buy a house?

7. Make your expectations known

If you would like your agent to pick you up at your office and put you in her car - then let her know. Most agents don't have the ability to mind read. Open lines of communication allow your agent to find you a house that you want. Let her know how you like to communicate, via telephone, message, text or email and the best times to call.

8. Don't Sign forms you don't understand

Don't feel silly if you have asked your Real Estate Agent to explain a form that she is asking you to sign again, this is part of the job. Wake up and realize if you are signing a Contract of Purchase and Sale and you have actually bought the place. Finally, realize that Realtors are not lawyers and cannot intrepret the law.

9. Be Ready to Buy

If you are not ready to buy in the next 6 months then don't waste people's time by making private appointments - go to open houses - but be honest and tell the Realtors that you are just shopping. If you have  small children be ready to hire a babysitter so that you can concentrate on the task at hand - finding a home.

10. Be ready to sign on the dotted line!