Smart Tips for Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

Choosing a real estate agent can be a daunting task - after all, there are over 20,000 real estate agents licensed in the Lower Mainland, and well over 10,000 under the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The Phillips Team has put together some comprehensive tips on what to look for, which questions to ask to help you better understand the marketplace. 

  • Ask family, friends, neighbours and co-workers for referrals.
  • Look for a real estate agent who knows the area or neighborhoods you are considering. Go to open houses in neighbourhoods you would like to live and interview real estate agents. Call the local real estate office and ask the manager for recommendations based on your needs.
  • Spend ample time talking to a real estate agent to determine if you can communicate well and understand each other.
  • Outline your expectations and work together to develop a plan before committing to working with an agent.

Here are some good questions to ask real estate agents when you first meet them. Lance Phillips’ responses are listed below:

Do you work full time or part-time as a real estate agent?

A full time agent is preferable because of constantly changing trends in the marketplace.

Lance Phillips has been a full-time real estate agent since 1984, three of those years as the Manager of Macdonald Realty. He joined Macdonald Realty when they first opened on the North Shore and recruited close to 70 agents to their new office. He missed the interacton with clients, so decided to go back into full-time sales after three years. He has since moved on to Royal LePage Sussex, where he is ranked in the top 1% of agents nationally, as well as having the honour of being the #1 agent in the North Vancouver office for the past three years. He is a designated President's Club, Medallion Club Member with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, which is awarded exclusively to the top 1% of real estate agents in the Lower Mainland.

How much business experience do you have?

First-time homebuyers will want to look for an agent who has direct experience in your market. Clients will want a real estate agent that understands their concerns, is business savvy and a creative thinker.

With both management and sales experience, Lance Phillips is more equipped than most to know the in’s and out’s of any real estate market, especially the North Shore and Greater Vancouver. His knowledge of contractual terms and what potholes to avoid comes from having watched over an entire office of salespeople for three years and ensuring the documentation would stand scrutiny from all sides. Though he has not been in management for many years, he still has colleagues approach him for advice regarding certain terms and conditions when they are negotiating offers for their own clients. He is also consistently considered one of the busiest real estate agents in the industry.

How well do you know the area(s) that interest me?

A real estate agent who knows the area or neighborhood you are interested in is extremely beneficial to you.

Having lived in Vancouver his entire life and specifically the North Shore since 1975, Lance is an expert on current market conditions and trends in both areas.

How many other buyers and sellers do you currently represent?

You want a real estate agent who will give you personalized attention, answer your calls quickly and communicates with you often. Keep in mind, though, many busy, experienced agents are the most efficient.

Lance is generally working with between 15 and 20 clients at all times. He is always available for questions or concerns that arise and is known to be one of the most accessible real estate agents in his field. If he unable to speak with a client immediately, he always endeavors to return calls within the shortest time possible.          

Will you handle all aspects of my transaction or will you delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant?

If you choose to work with a busy real estate agent, a knowledgeable assistant or team will be very helpful when you have questions or need immediate attention.

Lance has an extremely capable and efficient licensed associate, Isabella Bateson, who works with him to help with showings, etc. when he unavailable to be in attendance. Isabella treats all of Lance’s clients with the same care and attention that he does and is a valued colleague. He also has another licensed colleague (who also happens to be his wife!), Wendy Phillips, who works behind the scenes dealing with administrative duties so Lance can concentrate on the most important aspect of his job - the clients.

To summarize choosing a real estate agent:

Searching for your dream home can be a time-consuming experience. Working with a professional real estate agent will make the process much more efficient.

Since most people spend a fair amount of time with their real estate agent, it's important to choose one that you feel comfortable with, and one who is responsive to your needs. Just remember the following questions will help you decide if a particular real estate agent is right for you:

  • Do they return your phone calls?
  • Do they ask you questions to determine what you want/need in a home?
  • Do they perform a financial analysis to help you determine how much you can afford or refer you to a professional in that field who can?      
  • Do they explain things clearly?
  • Do they seem knowledgeable about the community? 
  • Do you feel comfortable spending time with them?

Tips for Working with a Real Estate Agent

TIP #1: Give Them As Much Information As Possible About Your Expectations And Priorities.

How much down payment do you have available? When would you like to close? What are your specific criteria for properties you are interested in looking at? What kind of financing, if any, will you be obtaining?

TIP #2: Set Working Guidelines

When is the best time to call your real estate agent? What is the best way to get in touch with them? What is your time frame?

TIP #3: Keep All Your Paperwork In One Place.

This includes your priority list, listing notes and loan documents so they are readily available when you need them

To summarize why you should work with a real estate agent:

Working with a professional real estate agent to buy your home is a good idea for several reasons:

  • They will analyze your financial situation to help you determine how much you can afford.  
  • They are familiar with the process of buying a home and can explain things to you.
  • They can easily access information on all properties listed for sale by real estate agents in your area.
  • They can set up appointments for you to see homes that interest you.
  • They will help you complete all the necessary paperwork when it comes time to make an offer.
  • They will be there at closing to answer your questions and make sure everything runs smoothly.

If there are any questions regarding any of the outlined information, please do not hesitate to contact Lance 604-924-8282.

I look forward to working with you!

Send us a Message!

Lance Phillips


Wendy Phillips


Kelsey Phillips


Nik Prem