It would be easy to write an article with standard questions you could ask prospective Realtors before committing to work with them. For example “how many years have you been a Realtor?” or “how many listings do you have”. Etc, Etc…

After my time working with and serving clients, I have found that it really beings with the buyer or seller themselves. Many times when I hear of someone not satisfied with their Realtor, it is because of a personality or expectation clash.

So in an effort to help you understand what might make your life easier when picking a Realtor to work with, here is a group of questions that will help you identify what you are looking for.

What is your personality like?

Am I quiet and cautious or am I energetic and bold? The ideal way to match yourself to a Realtor is to look at yourself and figure out how you would prefer your buying or selling experience to be. If you are the quiet and conservative type, you probably won’t be very comfortable with a slick, fast-talking salesman.

It can be difficult to judge a Realtor ’s personality from advertisements or headshots. This is why many people will ‘interview Realtors’ to find a good fit. If you don’t have the time or this process seems daunting, you can always call a brokerage.

Find a reputable brokerage in your town or city and give them a call.  Typically you will reach the reception desk.  The receptionists are the front line of the brokerage. They know all the Realtors that come and go throughout the office and they tend to get a sense of the  Realtors personalities. Don’t be shy to ask them for a recommendation. They are normally very happy to do so.

Do you need extra support and care during the buying/selling experience?

If you have bought and sold multiple times and you know the ins and outs of the real estate process, you will likely be more prepared to use a well known, high volume Realtor. These Realtors will have a large network and great resources, but they will not have the time to do any handholding. They normally will carry a large roster of clients and tend to have assistants handle clients at certain stages of the process.

If you are an inexperienced home buyer or seller, you will likely not find it useful to employ a hotshot Realtor. It would be in your favor to choose a Realtor that is either in their twilight years and have slowed the pace of their business or a newer Realtor.  Newer Realtors often get cast in a bad light due to having less experience.

Fortunately, this is not the case. New Realtors these days actually receive a lot more education and difficult testing before they can be licensed.  Often times, the important legal information that keeps you safe is still fresh in their mind. In addition to this, new Realtors tend to have future clients. Newer Realtors are normally happy to take the time to sit and explain the process to you.

At the end of the day, it matters that you get along with your Realtor. If you dread seeing their number on your caller ID, you will likely find the buying/selling process stressful and unpleasant.

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So you've saddled up a Realtor® and have narrowed down a selection of properties that you'd like to take a look at.  Depending on whether you are doing a full day of viewings or just one property, trim the list as needed but consider what might be useful to you.

Tape Measure & Dimensions of Special Furniture

Many times when I am out with clients viewing properties, the most common questions seem to center around what furniture will fit where. If you have specific pieces of furniture, i.e. Grandma's Heirloom Hutch, you'll want to pre-measure these pieces and have the dimensions with you. Once in the property, you can use your tape measure to check for sure whether a certain space can accommodate your important pieces.

Bottle of Water & Snacks

This seems basic, but you would be surprised how often people head out for a day of viewings with nothing but themselves. When Realtors schedule multiple viewings in a day, they are limited to each property for a specific period of time. If you stop in between properties to grab snacks and water etc.. you might, in turn, cause yourself to miss out on the window of time your Realtor booked a certain property for. It's easy enough, just toss a granola bar and/or banana in your car with a water bottle just in case.

Camera (or smartphone w/camera)

If you like a property and either see something you really like or something you may want to change, you'll want to snap a couple of pictures to have a visual when you get home. In a lot of cases, buyers normally will only view a property once or twice before the actual move-in date.  If you are the type that likes to plan things, plan ahead to make sure you bring a camera.

Notebook & Pen

Simple enough, just a notebook to jot down thoughts on the properties viewed. It's not uncommon for buyers to feel torn between two properties. If you take quick notes of things you like and things you don't like when viewing a property, you can look back on these to make a pros and cons list if needed. 

Full Tank of Gas

In the golden years of real estate, buyers used to chauffered around by their Realtor from property to property. Nowadays, buyers tend to prefer to drive to the properties themselves. In the event that you have a full day of viewings scheduled, make sure you fill up your tank before heading out for the day as stopping in the middle of the viewing schedule can put you behind on your booked viewing times.

Bonus: Binoculars

The ever prudent buyer may enjoy bringing a pair of binoculars on viewings if they are looking at properties older than 5 - 10 years. A pair of binoculars is a great way to view the general condition of the roof, flashings and exterior details that are too high up to inspect.

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Roof Issues

Sometimes issues with the roof are visible from the ground to prospective buyers, but some things are only uncovered by a professional inspection. Issues that can arise include brittle shingles or improperly installed, missing or damaged flashings.

Problems with the Foundation

Cracks, slopes, and sticking doors and windows are all issues that can be discovered that relate to the foundation. Many issues can be fixed with caulk and epoxy but it is always best to leave the diagnosis to a professional.

Improper Wiring

Overloaded panels, outdated wiring (for example aluminum wiring) and amperage mismatches are examples of issues that can occur with an inspection of the electrical system. There is always a fix for issues, but never underestimate the importance of the electrical system being up to code. If an electrical system is not up to code, it could be a fire hazard and render the property uninsurable.

Faulty gutters 

The best step to keeping your roof long lasting and your foundation dry is by having gutters in good working order. If you have gutters that leak, do not drain properly or are not channeled properly away from the house, you will have issues in the future. They're not too expensive to repair when you consider saving the health of your foundation. So if you do uncover issues, don't skimp and put it off.

Shabby Interior Details

The most common thing that inspector note is the general condition of the carpet, paint, and walls. These are mostly aesthetic things, but it is important that these details are brought up to modern day expectations of style and cleanliness to preserve the highest value of the property possible.

Plumbing annoyances

Poor water pressure, slow draining drains, water stains on ceilings and loose fixtures such as faucets and handles.  These are normally not expensive issues to fix and with a little know how can typically be remedied by the homeowner.

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Now that we're enjoying longer days and pleasantly hot temperatures, it's time to get a little work done around the house. These are a collection of tasks you will want to take on while the summer is still around:

  • INSPECT FOUNDATION - Repair any cracks that require attention

  • WASH WINDOWS - Make sure to get any cobwebs

  • CHECK FOR LEAKS - Look at your hoses & faucets, wrap with waterproof tape if needed

  • CHECK ROOF FOR DAMAGE - Look for damage, contact a pro if work is needed

  • GET OUT THE POWER WASHER - Blast away the moss off your siding & sidewalks

  • FRESHEN UP YOUR PAINT - Nows the time to take care of worn paint on decks, siding & railings

  • CHECK DETECTORS - Make sure that your smoke & carbon monoxide alarms are working

  • INSPECT AIR CONDITIONER - Take out the filter and make sure it is fresh & clean

  • SPRUCE UP YOUR BBQ - Get out all the excess ash, grease and residue for safer grilling

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.