Interviewing Agents? Ask the right questions to determine if they're local

By: Lindsay Smith

Interviewing Agents? Ask the right questions to determine if they're local


real estate, buy sell love durham, oshawa real estate, durham region, market trends, buyer's market, seller's market, homes for sale near me, keller williams, real estate agent, agent experience


It seems easy.

You connect with a Real Estate sales rep to sell your home in Durham and take for granted they are a local agent with local experience. A quick Google search for Durham Real Estate found that the majority of websites/sales reps that result are out of area agents. This shows that your search may result in local sales reps, or, you may find salespeople who do not know how to find their way to the closest Time Horton’s for a coffee. Honestly, when searching online it is really difficult to establish where many Real Estate brokerages are located. Why is using local “talent” important when using a Real Estate sales rep to buy or sell a home? Let’s dig in and see what we can discover.

How about we start with some interview questions to determine local vs out-of-area:

1) How many homes have you sold in my area over the past 3 months?
2) What percentage of market share does your individual office have in my area? (Not your franchise but your office itself?)
3) What streets in my area have homes similar to my home?
4) Where is the best butcher?
5) What is your favourite farmer’s market?
6) What are the best restaurants for brunch?
7) Do you have any online reviews from past clients in my area?
8) What High Schools is the school for my neighbourhood?
9) What are the best areas for hiking?
10) Can you share with me what new home developments I will be competing with?

One of the reasons I am so passionate about using local talent, not only in Real Estate but with contractors, coffee shops, food shops and Insurance Brokers, is that not only are they aware of our local community and what is affecting it, but also that the money that is spent and received, goes back to our local community. The average home sale creates about $70,000 in spin-off spending. Local moving companies, lawyers, contractors, painters, window covering companies, flooring shops, the local community gets the spin-off spending. The money stays in our community. The other spin-off investments are in sponsoring our kids' hockey, ringette and baseball teams.
This is an excellent reason to choose local, however, another reason is local knowledge. I recently had a call from a Realtor located in Guelph asking me about a home I had sold. He shared that he was bringing a Buyer to Durham Region to find a home and wanted to know if the area my sold property was located in was a good area. I asked a few questions, and it was obvious he had never been to our area, and he was being asked by a Buyer to help find a home. Without local knowledge, the Buyer is on their own to determine if an area is a good one for their children to attend schools in, or if it is an up-and-coming area where values will rise faster than other areas. I won’t go as far as to say that “all” local agents are experts in our community; however, most have knowledge one can only gain by living in town.

When a Seller decides to move, using a local agent helps in creating a strategy to sell based on hyper-local market trends. When you focus on an area and see the weekly nuanced changes, you are able to offer insights that are beneficial to positive Seller outcomes. A few years ago, I sold a home that faced a park and pretty much everyone locally knew that the park was destined to be a commercial building. (And we were all excited to see the building built) I put the home on the market and an out-of-town agent sold the home to a Buyer. Later, the Buyer was upset that the park they faced would no longer be a park in a few years. Nothing was secret or hidden from the Buyer, it was common knowledge. In the end, the Seller sold for a good price, and the Buyer ended up buying a home that was in an area that was in transition, using a Realtor unaware of the planned development.

There is an old Latin saying, “Caveat Emptor” which means, “Let the buyer beware.” The best way to make certain, when selling or buying a home that you get the result you want is to be “aware” by using local.

If you are thinking of Selling or Buying locally I can be reached at or If you are thinking of selling or buying a property out of our area, I would be happy to introduce to you a local expert in that area.

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