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How to find a Real Estate Agent: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes down to buying or selling real estate in Canada, you have two options: either navigate the real estate market independently or seek professional assistance from a real estate agent. Although some individuals may consider going solo, the majority prefer working with an agent to streamline the process. And this is why we are sharing this guide on ‘How to find a real estate agent?’.

If you fall into the latter category, it is crucial to understand how to locate a dependable real estate agent in Canada, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the city, province, or country where you intend to make your purchase. Surprisingly, many people spend more time shopping for a television or car than they do selecting a real estate agent, despite their home being their most valuable asset.

Neglecting the importance of finding the right agent can have significant consequences, especially for sellers who risk losing substantial commissions. On the other hand, buyers may miss out on finding their dream home. Given the financial stakes involved in real estate transactions, seeking sound advice and finding the perfect agent who meets your specific requirements is vital.

how to find a real estate agent

Identifying a Competent Real Estate Agent

Thoroughly researching the desired neighbourhoods, exploring future building plans, and understanding current market conditions require substantial effort. Prior to meeting any real estate professional, it is crucial to be prepared by following these steps:

  • Conduct extensive research on the area of interest before visiting any homes.
  • Create a list of questions that a competent agent is supposed to be able to answer. Familiarize yourself with the answers to these questions.
  • Pay close attention to how the agent responds to your inquiries. Vague or incorrect answers should be considered red flags.

Ensuring you are well informed about the market conditions in your city and neighbourhood is particularly important if you are a seller. Start by exploring local Realtor blogs and consult local news sources. As a buyer, you should clearly understand which communities you are interested in and what you can afford.

Number of real estate employees in Canada from October 2016 to November 2022

During the process of searching for a real estate agent, ask each candidate the same set of questions during the interviews. Take notes on their answers and review them with someone whose opinion you trust. This discussion can help determine which realtors demonstrated a basic level of competence and transparency in their profession.

Did you know?
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps people buy or sell real estate.

Choosing a Trustworthy Real Estate Agent

While knowledge is important, honesty is equally crucial when selecting an agent. Ideally, you want an agent who possesses both qualities. To assess their honesty, consider asking about potential conflicts of interest they might face. A trustworthy agent will openly discuss their desire to close a sale while considering your needs as a buyer or seller. 

They should also address the possibility of dual agency, in which one agent represents both the buyer and seller and discloses their relationship with other real estate professionals, such as home inspectors, lawyers, and mortgage brokers. Transparency regarding referral fees is also important. The key is not just how the Realtor answers these questions but whether they provide substantial and informative answers.

finding a real estate agent

Friendship and Business: Prioritizing Your Real Estate Needs

It is common for individuals to have family members or close friends who are Realtors. While there is nothing inherently wrong with hiring a family member or friend who is a Realtor, it should not be the sole reason for doing business with them. Regardless of your relationship with the agent, they must pass your due diligence. Interview your family friend who is an agent, and also interview other agents. 

Choose the agent who best meets your criteria. Ultimately, you are paying a significant amount of money for their expertise, so ensure they earn your business based on merit, regardless of any personal connection.

Being Heard: The Importance of an Attentive Real Estate Agent

When searching for a real estate agent, there is one quality that can significantly impact your experience: listening. Your agent should be someone who genuinely listens to your needs and desires. Some agents may prioritize closing deals quickly without considering your true preferences. However, you need an agent who will respect your goals while also providing practical alternatives when necessary.

It is about finding a balance between your objectives and the market’s realities. For instance, a good agent will acknowledge your feelings if you receive a lowball offer on your listed home while understanding the buyer’s unrealistic expectations. 

As a buyer, a professional agent will strive to strike a balance between empathetic listening and offering honest, practical advice, especially when you are uncertain about a particular property’s suitability.

Did you know?
A great real estate agent will also understand first-time home buyer incentives to save you thousands of dollars potentially.

The Value of a Real Estate Agent

You may question the necessity of hiring a real estate agent, considering the associated costs. However, as a buyer, you do not have to pay the agent’s commission fee; the responsibility falls on the seller.

Before deciding whether you need an agent, consider the following factors:

Setting a Reasonable Budget: Are you confident in your ability to establish a realistic budget for your home purchase?

Analyzing Market Data: Do you know how to analyze sold data and current trends in the real estate market?

Meeting with Seller’s Agents: Can you comfortably arrange meetings with seller’s agents for property showings?

Negotiating Skills: Do you feel equipped to negotiate effectively, especially in competitive situations like bidding wars?

In most cases, having a trustworthy agent with extensive knowledge can reduce your stress and increase your chances of success. To evaluate the value a realtor offers, ask them questions about their past buyer/seller experiences and their comfort with negotiating in a tough market.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer, a competent agent should provide satisfactory answers aligned with your expectations. Finding the perfect real estate agent may seem overwhelming, but it is essential to invest time and effort into the search. A poor agent choice can have significant repercussions, such as underselling your home or withholding crucial information.

Therefore, interview multiple candidates until you find the right fit. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, express concerns, and assess their responses. Ultimately, an agent who listens to you and understands your needs will make your real estate journey smoother and more successful.

Did you know?
If you’re planning on selling your home, the main things to do are to declutter, repair, and clean.

Choosing the Right Type of Agent

When exploring the world of real estate professionals, you will encounter terms like realtor, real estate agent, and broker. Let’s clarify the differences between these terms:

Real Estate Agent:

A real estate agent holds a valid license and works under a real estate broker. Licensing requirements vary by country and province/state. Agents charge a commission based on a percentage of the property’s sale price, with standard rates differing across regions.

Real Estate Broker: 

A real estate broker is an agent who has obtained a higher level of education and licensing. To become a broker, one must first be a real estate agent. Brokers have the knowledge and qualifications to run and manage their own brokerage firm. They possess a deeper understanding of real estate laws and regulations and carry more responsibilities.


An agent or broker who belongs to a recognized real estate board, such as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Realtors adhere to a specific Code of Ethics and professional standards. They undergo ongoing ethics training to maintain their membership.


Why should I consider working with a real estate agent? 

Working with a real estate agent can streamline the process of buying or selling a property. They have the knowledge, experience, and resources to guide you through the transaction, negotiate on your behalf, and provide valuable market insights.

What should I look for in a real estate agent? 

When searching for a real estate agent, it’s important to consider their competence, trustworthiness, attentiveness, and ability to understand your needs. Look for someone knowledgeable about the local market, responsive to your questions, and transparent about their fees and relationships with other professionals.

How can I identify a competent real estate agent? 

Before meeting with real estate agents, conduct thorough research on the desired area, create a list of questions to ask them, and pay attention to their responses. Look for agents who demonstrate competence, provide informative answers, and show a good understanding of the market and neighbourhood.

Why is honesty important when selecting a real estate agent? 

Honesty is crucial because it builds trust and ensures that your agent has your best interests in mind. Ask about potential conflicts of interest, dual agency situations, and their relationships with other professionals. A trustworthy agent will openly discuss these matters and provide substantial, informative answers.

Should I hire a family member or friend who is a realtor? 

While hiring a family member or friend who is a realtor is not inherently wrong, it’s important to prioritize your real estate needs and conduct due diligence. Interview your family friend who is an agent and compare their qualifications and suitability with other agents in the market.

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How to Find a Real Estate Agent – Final Words

Remember that you are the one hiring the agent, so it is perfectly okay to interview multiple candidates until you find the right fit. Do not hesitate to ask questions, share your concerns, and gauge their responses. 

Ultimately, finding an agent who listens to you and understands your needs will make your real estate journey smoother and more successful.

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