I’m looking to enter the real estate market for the first time in 30 years. What are some common mistakes that I should avoid?

Good question. Taking the time to learn about the home buying and selling process can save you time, stress and money. And certainly, one way to protect yourself is by learning from the mistakes of others.

Over the next few weeks I’ll offer 10 common mistakes made by buyers and sellers, with tips on how to avoid them. The first two:

Mistake: Hiring the first salesperson you meet

There are more than 75,000 registered real estate salespersons and brokers in Ontario, so how do you pick the one that’s right for you? When you are deciding who you want to interview, I strongly recommend that you search their name on RECO’s website (www.reco.on.ca) to determine the status of their registration and to check if they have any disciplinary history. First and foremost, you want to ensure you are dealing with a registered real estate professional.

I always encourage buyers and sellers to meet with three or four real estate representatives before hiring one. I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure you feel comfortable with the experience of your salesperson or broker and their approach to the entire real estate process, before you sign an agreement with them.

You might get lucky in seeing only one, but don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to find the best person for you?

When you have your shortlist of sales reps and agents ready, consider asking them these questions so you can find out which one is right for you.

    1. Tell me about your real estate experience.
    2. Tell me your general approach to buying or selling and how your approach would best suit my needs.
    3. Tell me about the services you would provide and any different options or services that may or may not be included.
    4. Tell me about the commission or fees I would pay.
    5. Do you have references?

Mistake: Not making your expectations clear with your real estate representative

In any relationship, communication is the key to success. It’s important that your real estate rep understands what you’re looking for in a home, what elements you would consider to be deal-breakers and what services they will be responsible for.

After you’ve had a thorough conversation about what you’re looking for (and not looking for), it is in your best interest to document this information in the form of a written representation agreement.

Those are a couple mistakes that some buyers and sellers make when entering the real estate process. Tune in next week for more.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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