I hear it every so often, and it always gets under my skin: what’s the point of a real estate agent anyway? I mean, why not just slap a ‘For Sale’ sign on your house, take some good pictures and get it online? Right? Sigh. I think though that I’ve finally figured out what the issue is. Too many agents are using that exact formula, expecting market demand to do their work for them and not doing what they were in fact trained to do.

Buying or selling a home, whether it’s the first time or the hundredth, is an intricate process that requires many specialists. Property appraisers, home inspectors, and a host of other professionals work to make the transaction as easy and as smooth as possible. I’d like to think that most Realtors are there to serve the same purpose, but working in the industry day in and day out, I think it’s fair to say I’m generally underwhelmed by the quality of service provided by a lot of agents in the city. In that vein, I’d like to take a look at what makes a quality Realtor, and how that professional can make a world of a difference in facilitating your next real estate transaction.

The easiest way for me to spot a home being sold without a quality Realtor is the pricing. There happens to be a home sitting on my street for sale right now (and for the last few months) with a price tag on it that’s tens of thousands above what any comparable home has sold for within a ten kilometre radius in the last two years. I know this, because I do my homework, and any agent worth their title ought to be able to do the same.

Agents have access to a wealth of information, not only about current listing prices but of comparable completed transactions that should affect the list price of your property and how long it stays on the market.

But the biggest benefit of a competent representation is in the details. The staging, the open houses, the negotiations to get you exactly what you want out of the transaction – these things are invaluable and not easily replicated by just anyone. When it comes down to the offer, legal clauses and conditions protect your assets and ensure a smooth transition, and even before the offer goes firm, coordination of inspections and completion of required conditions are a breeze with a seasoned professional who knows exactly what they’re doing.

Above all, a quality Realtor works with commitment and integrity. It’s your property on the line, but it’s their name too, and to the right agent, both those things should be invaluable, and both should be worth working their butts off for.

So perhaps a revision of my title is in order. “Why some Realtors don’t suck” – because they care.

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