As you begin your home buying journey, you will probably have an idea of what you’re looking for. You’ve done some budgeting homework and LOTS of dreaming. At that point, you’re ready to meet with a Real Estate Agent for a consultation and start working towards achieving your dream.
If you missed The Agent blog on how to find a good fit, stop now and read it first!
During the consultation, you sit down with your agent and talk about your needs and wants. If you have notes or ideas, this would be the time to bring them up. Everything from areas of town you’re interested in to styles of homes you like to price ranges to bedrooms to yard requirements to parking requirements to whether it’s important to be in a particular school zone or have a 20 minute commute to work.
Don’t worry about not knowing exactly what you want right away. Your agent will help you refine your desires and provide perspective and direction, giving you insight on the current market. By the end of the consult, you should feel confident about finding the right home and have a realistic understanding of where you’re at and where to go from there.
What to Look for During the Consultation
Despite the formal name, a consultation is less formal than it sounds. Often the meeting takes place over coffee and is very interactive. The agent is there for you! And they want to know how they can make this a great experience, so ask questions and be open with your needs, wants, and expectations.
Here are some things to look for during your consultation:
Often the agent will bring some sort of formal guide.
We use a book but others may have a presentation for you on a tablet or computer. Great agents will show that they have a system and take this part of the process seriously.
A great agent will write it all down.
Too many times, I’ve overheard agent/client meetings where the agent doesn’t really cover all the bases, sounding like they’re making things up on the fly and not writing anything down. I cringe on the inside thinking about all the details that get forgotten.
To be fair, there are some people who can seem to have superhuman memories, like those amazing servers who can take 15 people’s orders at once and rarely miss a thing. But most people’s brains aren’t wired that way, so it’s important that your agent takes note of key points and requirements that come up in your conversation.
A great agent will provide perspective and direction.
With location, if you aren’t sure what neighborhood you’re looking for but you know you want West Edmonton, it can be helpful to have an agent who is familiar with those neighborhoods (or knows someone who is) so they can set some of the initial parameters for you as you begin your search. You can adjust things like neighbourhood, square footage, etc. as you look and get a better sense of what you need.
A great agent will ask a lot of questions.
Especially when you’re buying your first place, it’s common for the agent to ask a question (about square footage requirements or neighborhoods) and get a deer-in-the-headlights response. Look for your agent to give context around these areas or make suggestions. For example, you may prioritize number of bedrooms over square footage. Maybe budget is the biggest guiding factor. It’s good for an agent to know your preferences so he or she can focus on what’s important for now and come back to other factors later.
A great agent will give you time to talk
It’s important that your agent asks lots of questions, but you also want to make sure they give you time to answer them. Agents can learn a lot from the rambling that can follow a question. All answers are good answers. We use everything we hear to get a read on where you’re at and what you need.
A great agent will set expectations and get to know yours.
We believe in setting our client/agent relationships up for success and a big part of that is helping set client expectations about how the market is performing, when we are available, how the process will work, and what our role as agents and your role as a client are. It’s equally important to understand what expectations the client has of us and how we can make your experience as great as possible!
Next Step: Setting Up the Search
Once you’ve had your consultation, it’s time to decide if you have found the right fit with this agent. If you’re happy and comfortable, on to the next stage! If not, figure out what you liked and didn’t like and continue searching for an agent.
Found an agent you like? Great! Now it’s time to set up the search!