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Upsizing or upgrading your home usually means buying and selling at the same time, so the REALTOR you hire to help make the big move is an important decision.
Here are our top 10 considerations for hiring the best real estate agent if you’re upgrading or upsizing your home:
1. Hire For the Right Real Estate Experience
If you’re upsizing your home you’ll need an agent with demonstrated experience in:
- Representing Buyers AND Sellers – Some agents work mostly with Buyers, some work mostly with Sellers, and others work with both. If you’re buying AND selling, hire an agent with a track record in helping BOTH. They’ll know how to anticipate and deal with the issues that will inevitably come up
- Selling or buying the types of properties relevant to your upgrade – If you’re selling a condo and buying a house, make sure to hire someone with plenty of experience in selling both types of properties. Don’t hire a condo expert to help you sell a house and don’t hire a house expert to help you buy a condo.
2. Make Sure They Have The Relevant Expertise and Skills Needed
Despite the fact that REALTORS help both Buyers and Sellers, there are actually unique skill sets required for each transaction, so when you’re hiring an agent to help you upgrade, you’ll need to assess their skills and expertise on both the buy and the sell sides.
On the buy side, the top skills to look for are:
- Neighbourhood expertise
- Technical knowledge about condos and/or houses
- Offer and negotiation strategy
Selling skills to look for:
- Staging expertise (or in-house stagers)
- Marketing skills (digital and traditional)
- Pricing strategy and negotiation
If you’re buying in one neighoburhood and selling in another, you’ll want to hire someone who knows the neighbourhood you’re BUYING in – that’s where a REALTOR’s neighbourhood expertise is most important.
3. Look for Specific Experience Helping Upgraders and Upsizers
Upsizing your home comes with unique challenges as you buy and sell at the same time, so you’ll want to hire an agent who is:
- Well versed in helping upgraders make the big decisions related to financing, timing (should you buy or sell first?) and closing (should the properties close on the same day?).
- Able to mobilize quickly. Things move fast in real estate, and even more so when you’re buying and selling at the same time. If you buy first, your agent will need to rally to get your home listed quickly; likewise, if you sell first, you’ll want someone who has the availability to prioritize your now-urgent search for new home. Many upgraders choose to hire real estate teams (like us) that are able to make things happen more quickly.
- Able to help you understand the costs of upgrading and can provide strategies to help you reduce the costs
- Able to problem solve – Buying and selling at the same time isn’t easy, and it’s important to have a Plan B (and even a Plan C or D) if things don’t go as planned.
Related: Should You Buy or Sell First?
Related: Costs of Upgrading Your Home
4. Reputation Matters
While many REALTORS focus on the sales awards they’ve received, past client satisfaction is a more important measure of performance and what you can expect. Read online reviews on Google, Facebook, Real Satisfied and Yelp, looking for trends in what an agent’s past Buyers and Sellers are saying. There’s nothing wrong with asking fan agent or references so you can speak directly with past clients either.
5. Hire For the Soft Skills That Matter to You
We’re often brought in to help upsizers after they’ve had a bad experience with another agent. The complaints we hear the most often usually revolve around:
While the agent’s soft skills that matter will depend on your own personal preferences and situation, it’s an important consideration when hiring an agent.
6. If You Have to Work With Two Agents..
While it’s ideal to hire ONE agent to help you sell your current home and buy your next home, you night need to hire two agents, for example, if you’re selling in Toronto and buying outside of the city. If you have to hire two agents to help with your upgrade, keep the following in mind:
- Once you’ve picked one of the agents, check if they have a partner they trust to help with the second transaction.
- Communication between the two agents is critical. To help facilitate a smooth process, the agents will need to regularly update each other about financing issues, the status of the home search or listing, closing dates and timing.
- Hiring two agents with similar styles will help with your sanity too
7. Should You Just Hire Your Last Agent?
While it might be tempting to just call the agent who helped you buy the home you’re currently in, it’s important to step back and make sure they are the right agent to help with your current real estate upgrade needs. While your last agent might have been great at helping you when you were a first-time Buyer, they might not have the experience to help you sell that home for top dollar.
Upgrading to a bigger or better home is exciting – and having the right real estate partner will go a long way to making it a positive experience.
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