SELECTING YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT
Selecting Your Real Estate Agent. The Agent brings the market to you. The market decides the price.
The right Agent is the one who knows the market and can get you the best price possible – not the one who promises you the highest price just to get you to list with them!
Many of the same questions, hesitations and strategies connected with seeking out professional assistance in any field – whether you’re looking for a doctor, dentist, lawyer or accountant – come into play when you’re selecting a real estate agent.
Some people find an agent through a family member or friend. This is often a reliable approach. However, you might not always find the most compatible assistance this way. In a transaction as important and intensive as buying and selling a home, that can be critical.
A referral from a family member or friend doesn’t guarantee a perfect match. Just think of something as simple as a movie or restaurant recommendation. Your close friends rave about a new Chinese food place downtown – so you check it out. Could this possibly be the same restaurant they were describing? Mediocre service. No chopsticks. Bland flavors. It’s the same restaurant. Same cook. Same waiters. Just different perceptions.
Regardless of how you get an agent’s name, it might be worth interviewing at least a couple before you make a final decision – or at least arming yourself with some criteria to go over with any agent who has been recommended to you.
A few things to look for:
If you’re looking for an agent to list your home, be wary of anyone who suggests they can get an unreasonably high sales price. An agent might use a high listing price to secure a contract, only to seek a lower price later, after little traffic is generated at the initial price level.
Meanwhile, you’ve lost what can be the most critical time period in selling a home – the first weeks immediately after it’s listed.
Check on experience and productivity. As with most professions, experience pays in real estate.Experienced agents know the market and the marketing process. They’ll have the best chance of quickly and smoothly helping you to buy or sell your home.
The number of transactions an agent is handling monthly or yearly is going to give you an indication of how committed the agent is to the profession. Is the agent a part-timer who’s just dabbling in real estate sales – or is the agent a full-time professional whose livelihood depends entirely on an ability to successfully and repeatedly close real estate transactions?
Does the agent know the market ?
Is the agent part of a national network? This can be especially important if you’re selling in one city in preparation of moving to another. Your selling agent can refer you to a professional,compatible agent in your destination city – and keep in close contact with that agent so both your selling and buying efforts are closely coordinated. It is no secret that Re/Max sells more North Shore property than any other realty company; many of those buyers coming directly from Re/Max agents in other geographic locations.
And a final point: Does the agent seem primarily interested in sharing expertise and market knowledge in an honest and straightforward manner? Or does the agent seem more interested in telling you what you want to hear ? Or worse still are they getting you to sign up with them just to pass you off to an assistant who will deal with the “trivia” of actually selling your home ? The worst time to secure the services of a “yes-man” or an agent who seems to have too many irons in the fire is when you’re entering a transaction involving something as important as your home. You need straightforward, reliable information – even if it’s not necessarily flattering – regarding the home you’re selling – or very encouraging regarding a home you think you might want to buy.
This is a general guide (overview), so not all items will be applicable to your specific situation.
Concentrate on those which suite your needs and scroll down past those that don’t (e.g if you are not relocating from one city (or Province) to another, the travel arrangements and some “shipping” comments may be irrelevant.) … and now to get started….
Packing all your own items will save you money. It can also be quite stressful, so we came up with some simple techniques to make it easier. Remember, if you have any questions contact your Realtor:
Use the proper packing materials.
Sturdy boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap and packing peanuts can all be purchased at local moving or shipping companies. Wardrobe boxes plus other specialty boxes can also be found there.
You can’t move that!
Here is a partial list of common household items most movers will NOT ship:
Charcoal lighter fluid
Nail polish remover
Cooking fuel (Sterno)
You’ve gotta have tools…
Here is a list of tools and materials to make your packing go more smoothly:
- Razor, knife and/or scissors
- Dark, water-resistant marker
- Packing tape
- Styrofoam peanuts
One room at a time…
It’s more efficient and less stressful if you pack one room at a time. Be sure and label each box appropriately (on top and side) with a description of its contents. Boxes containing breakable or sentimental items should always be labeled as “Fragile”. Keep a detailed list of what items are packed in each box to make unpacking easier.
Empty your drawers…
Empty all drawers of breakable or spillable items. Also, it’s a good idea to put all furniture knobs, feet, screws, etc. in one container so they won’t get lost or damaged.
Do not pack flammable goods or heat-sensitive items like candles, records, audio and video tapes, computer disks, propane tanks, aerosol cans, oil based paints and certain cleaning fluids.
A little TLC…
Wrap each item individually and always place a layer of crushed paper in the bottom of the box or carton for cushioning. Fill empty spaces with additional crushed paper.
Will you be storing anything?
If so, make sure your boxes are firmly packed with the heavier items on bottom. It’s a smart idea to pack according to the season(s) which your things will be in storage and mark the boxes appropriately.
A note from the chiropractor…
Put heavy items in small boxes so they’re easier to carry.
When packing the truck…
Make sure the items you need first are loaded last (i.e. kitchen items, telephone and radio). Use common sense, keep in mind the size, sturdiness and weight of your boxes.
It pays to plan ahead…
Pack a separate bag with toiletries, a change of clothes, etc., for the first couple of days after your move.
Sometimes the weekends aren’t so great…
If possible, plan your move to occur on a weekday when banks, utilities and government offices are open.First night survival kit:
If your shipment hasn’t arrived or you’re simply too weary to unpack everything, set aside some essential items you’ll need for the first night in your new place.Food/Kitchen supplies
- Snacks, sandwiches
- Bottled water
- Plastic plates, cups, utensils
- Can openers
- Paper towels, napkins
- Garbage bags
- Toothbrushes, toothpaste
- Soap, shampoo
- Toilet paper
- Contact lens case, solution
- Hygiene products
- Prescription medicine
- First aid kit band-aids, peroxide
- Candles, matches
- Light bulbs
- Enough clothing for a few days
- Sleeping bag, blankets
Children’s items (if applicable)
- Baby food
- Favourite Toys
- Food, treats
- Bottled water
We have prepared checklists to help keep you organized Week-by-week, Move day and After Your Move.Week by week
6-8 weeks before your move:
What items will make the trip?
Now is the time to determine which items you wish to take to your new residence. Items that you don’t need should either be donated to charity or sold at a garage sale. You may consider teaming up with your neighbours who want to sell some of their belongings, and plan a neighbourhood “sale”. Boxes, tape, packing paper…
If you plan on packing your own items, start collecting suitable packing supplies. You can purchase all these materials from any van line agent or a moving supply company. The boxes you purchase should be specially designed for moving household goods to prevent damage to your belongings.Everything has a place…
Think about the layout of your new residence and where you’ll place the furniture. Create a floor plan that will ease the stress of making decisions once the furniture arrives.
What’s it like where you are moving to?
Get familiar with your new community. Request information on schools, community programs, parks and recreation from the local Chamber of Commerce.
Will you be needing any travel arrangements?
Now is the best time to make your travel arrangements (hotel, flights, car rental, etc.). Try to keep your travel plans flexible to accommodate any last-minute changes or delays.
Don’t forget your records…
Insurance, medical and dental records should be placed in a safe, accessible place. Also include prescription, and vaccination records. Plan on taking all vital documents such as: wills, stock certificates and other one-of-a kind items (jewelry, coin collection, photos, etc.) separately
Week by week
4-5 weeks before your move:
Apartment or condo…
If you live in an apartment or condo complex, contact your property or building manager and inquire about scheduling your move date and time. Certain buildings may have date and or time restrictions as to when moving can be done.
Are you set?
Contact your Moving Company and schedule your move date, it is always easier to change your move date than to reschedule at the last second.
Fill out a Canada Post change of address form (any Postal outlet will have these).
Odd and ends…
Close any local charge accounts.
- Notify insurance companies of your move and transfer all insurance on your home and possessions.
- Contact utilities for disconnection or transfer and possible refunds. Since you will want to have your utilities still connected on moving day, arrange to have them disconnected after you are moved out.
- If necessary, arrange for a baby-sitter to watch your children on moving day. You may need someone to keep your children occupied and that they remain safe during the loading process.
- While sorting through your belongings, remember to return anything else you have borrowed.
- Remember to collect items that are being cleaned, stored or repaired.
Week by week
2-3 weeks before your move:
Do you have power/cable/phone?
Call ahead to have utilities connected at your new home (Hydro/Telus/BC Gas/Shaw -or other- Cable).What about packing?
Make final packing decisions. Start packing items you don’t use often.
Call your bank to find out how to transfer your bank accounts.
Got any safety deposit boxes lying around?
Each year people move without clearing out their safety deposit boxes. Don’t be another statistic.
Secret hiding spots…
If you’ve hidden any valuables around the house, be sure to collect them before leaving.
Thoughts about moving plants…
Some plants won’t travel well. Consider giving those plants to a friend or local charity.
- Plan meals that will use up the food in your refrigerator and freezer.
- Have your automobile serviced if you’re traveling by car.
- Transfer all current prescriptions to a drugstore in your new town.
- Dispose of flammable items such as fireworks, cleaning fluids, matches, acids, chemistry sets, aerosol cans, paint, ammunition and poisons such as weed killer.
- Drain all the oil and gasoline from your lawn mower and power tools to ensure safe transportation. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Week by week
1 week from your move:
This is the time to tie up any loose ends. Check through this guide to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Your moving company should have provided you with various labels for your goods. These can include “Do Not Load”, “Load First”, “Load Last”, and “Fragile”. Take special care to label your goods appropriately.
Confirm travel arrangements…
Pack your suitcases and confirm your family’s travel arrangements (flights, hotel, rental cars, etc.). Try to keep your plans as flexible as possible in the event of a change of schedule.
Your new address…
Contact your Moving Company and make sure they have the address and phone number where you can be reached if you are not going directly to your new home.
Clean out the fridge…
At least one day before moving, empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator and freezer. If necessary, prepare your stove to be moved. Try using baking soda to get rid of any odours.
Prepare your “First night survival kit”
This kit can contain items such as snacks, beverages and games for the kids to keep them occupied during the move. If you are stopping overnight be sure to pack essentials you’ll need while your belongings are in transit. NB – make sure you have at least one telephone handy to plug in when you arrive.
Week by week
Strip your beds, and make sure the bedding goes into a “Load Last” box.
Are they here yet?
Make sure you are on hand when the movers arrive. It’s important to have an adult be authorized to take your place if you are unable to be present at any time while the movers are there. Let the agent know to whom you have given this authority.
Spend time with the movers…
Always try to spend as much time with the mover as possible. If you have special instructions make sure it is explained to your mover. Communicate well with the movers.
Once the van operator arrives, review all details and paperwork. Accompany the driver as he or she inspects and tags each piece of furniture with an identifying number. These numbers, along with a detailed description of your goods and their condition at the time of loading, will appear on the inventory.
Are they done yet?
It is your responsibility to see that all of your goods are loaded, so remain on the premises until loading is completed. To insure that nothing gets left behind always do a final inspection of the premises. Do not sign any releases without completing this inspection.
Where is a vacuum when you need it?
Since you’ll probably want to clean before the furniture is unloaded, make sure your vacuum is packed last, so it can be unloaded first.
Week by week
After your move:
Check to make sure the utilities have been connected, and follow up on any delays.
Do you have a connection?
Make sure your phone is connected. Ideally, the phone company should hook it up the day before “move-in day.”
Where are the pets?
Confine your pets to an out-of-the-way room to help keep them from running away or becoming agitated by all of the activity.
Note: To prevent possible damage, televisions, stereos, computers, other electronic equipment and major appliances should not be used for 24 hours after delivery, allowing them time to adjust to room temperature.
Week by week
Nobody likes to mess with paperwork, however, these items are critical to making sure you are entitled to every benefit as well as your savior in case something doesn’t go as planned. Remember, if you have any questions contact your Moving Company or Realtor.
Order for Service…
Moving companies are required to prepare an order for service on every shipment transported for an individual shipper. You are entitled to a copy of the order for service when it is prepared.
The order for service is not a contract. Should your move be canceled or delayed or if you decide not to use the mover, you should promptly cancel the order.
Should there be any change in the dates on which you and the mover agreed that your shipment will be picked up and delivered, or any change in the non-binding estimate, the mover may prepare a written change to the order for service. The written change should be attached to the order for service. You and the mover must sign the order for service.
Bill of Lading…
The bill of lading is the contract between you and the mover. The mover is required by law to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment it transports. The information on the bill of lading is required to be the same information shown on the order for service. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy of the bill of lading before loading your furniture.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO READ THE BILL OF LADING BEFORE YOU ACCEPT IT. The bill of lading requires the mover to provide the service you have requested, and you must pay the charges for the service. THE BILL OF LADING IS AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. DO NOT LOSE OR MISPLACE YOUR COPY. Have it available until your shipment is delivered, all charges are paid and all claims, if any, are settled.Inventory…
At the time the mover’s driver loads your shipment, he or she, although not required to do so, usually inventories your shipment listing any damage or unusual wear. The purpose is to make a record of the condition of each item. If the driver does not make an inventory, you should make one yourself.
After completing the inventory, the driver will usually sign each page and ask you to sign each page. It is important before signing that you make sure that the inventory lists every item in your shipment and that the entries regarding the condition of each item are correct. You have the right to note any disagreement. When your shipment is delivered, if an item is missing or damaged, your ability to recover from the mover for any loss or damage may depend on the notations made. The driver will give you a copy of each page of the inventory. Attach the complete inventory to your copy of the bill of lading. It is your receipt for the goods.
At the time your shipment is delivered, it is your responsibility to check the items delivered against the items listed on your inventory. If new damage is discovered, make a record of it on the inventory form. Call the damage to the attention of the driver and request that a record of the damage be made on the driver’s copy of the inventory.
After the complete shipment is unloaded, the driver will request that you sign the driver’s copy of the inventory to show that you received the items listed. Do not sign until you have assured yourself that it is accurate and that proper notations have been entered regarding any missing or damaged items. When you sign the inventory, you are giving the driver a receipt for your goods.
Looking forward to your new home
- Talk about the neighbourhood, the house, the schools, local areas of interest and the benefits of your new residence.
- Involve your children in plans to decorate their new bedrooms or play areas, including color choices, decoration and arrangement of furniture
- Make new friends and become involved and active in your new community immediately. Your children will follow your example during this transition period
- Encourage your children to keep in touch with old friends while making new friends.
- Let your kids tell the neighbourhood that you’re moving.
- Let them help plan for the care of plants and/or pets during the move.
- Help them collect addresses of their friends and neighbours.
- Involve them with a charity donation of toys, clothing, books etc.
- Consider having a good-bye party.
Moving isn’t just stressful for people, it’s equally stressful for pets. When it comes to moving with pets, pre-planning is crucial. Pets, as with humans, are very sensitive to changes in their surroundings. Moving companies will not move living things so if you plan to move with your pets, they are your responsibility. There are numerous ways to help them adapt to their new environment.
- Unless traveling a very long distance, it is recommended that your pets accompany you in your car. It provides more of a sense of security for you and your pet.
- If your pet, especially your cat, isn’t used to car travel, take it on short rides around the block beforehand and then gradually increase the distance. This will help condition your cat to your car and to the motion of the car.
- You may want to consult your veterinarian about medication or sedatives to reduce/eliminate motion sickness, agitation and/or crying.
- Make sure your pet has a proper collar with ID and rabies tag. Also store all health documents in one convenient place.
- If you’re planning to stop at a hotel/motel along the way,call ahead to find out which ones permit pets. Have leashes on hand to move your pet from the car.
- Avoid feeding or giving your pets water for several hours before your drive.
- It is important that you are attentive to your pets’ well-being. If they are uncomfortable in any way, make a stop.
- Plan on making frequent stops for feeding and resting. Plan on feeding your pets either once daily or a couple of small meals during rest stops.
- Never leave your pets in the car alone. It is against the law.
Coping With Moving Day
- While packing and unpacking are in progress, consider having a sitter or a friend watch your younger children.
- Don’t let children distract the moving crew from their work and services.
- Prepare a “ready box” that can be first off the truck; stock it with things you will need immediately, such as snacks, kitchen items, bathroom toiletries, hand tools, etc.