All RE Agents are Not Created Equal.
When it comes time for you to buy/sell your home, the agent use choose is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the process. Some of what I’ll say here is going to be bias, because, well, I’m a Real Estate Broker and a Realtor (R).
I believe that you should hire a Real Estate agent based on these factors:
- Experience, not necessarily the number of transactions they have done
- Local Knowledge
Experience: The agent you hire should have at least five yearsexperience as a full time Real Estate agent. Our industry has a high turnover because it’s like starting your own business. Most new businesses, (80%) will fail in the first year and 80% of the those remaining will fail within the next five years. If the agent has survived the first five years than he or she has worked hard. This agent has had easy transactions, difficult ones, ones from hell and they are still in the Real Estate business. This agent has most likely has seen market swings or at least changes in market supply and demand.
Some agents will “wow” you with the number of transactions they have done in the last year or their company’s “market share”. This can be misleading because this agent might be a Broker of record for this office. So any agent in the office is working under this Broker. The Broker is responsible for all of the agents and their deals, the fact is that those are the Brokers deals, but this fact can be used to sell themselves. I recently showed a listing for a buyer investor. I was floored by the number of listings this listing agent team had signed, 58!! I did some research and found that these listings were located all over the state. No one agent knows the market in the entire state.
The listing agent didn’t accompany the showing, the property was not prepared for sale and was grossly overpriced. My guess is that this agent works very hard to get listings and does a tremendous amount of marketing to get those listings. However, not servicing the listings for sale. Is this what the home owner is expecting when they agreed to hire this agent? I don’t think so.
Local Knowledge: The agent should know the area well. Not just where the highway exits are located or what the local schools are, but have a knowledge that cannot be found on a website. How a market will be affected by a new shopping center and traffic patterns etc. Local knowledge is also local market value to the type of home your selling. There can be a big difference between selling a condo, single family of multifamily home.
Networking: Networking is important because your home may need repairs made before you bring the home to market. Living in a home and selling a home are two very different things. This network also includes Real Estate attorneys, mortgage lenders, inspectors, city officials and other agents. If an issue comes up during a sale, having the relationship with the right person can make things go a lot smoother.
Integrity: Integrity includes several things, trust, common sense, doing the right thing and keeping the clients interests before your own. There are two parts of trust; trust to do the right thing and trust to have the wisdom/knowledge to decide what that thing is that needs to be done. With the fear of sounding too bold, I’m confident that I possess both parts of trust.
Likability: If the agent is too aggressive, rigid or is simply not welcoming, how will a buyer or a buyer’s agent feel about working with them? It sounds crazy, but this can make a difference in a sale. The listing agent represents the seller in more than just showing the property and handling documents. If the listing agent provides a feeling of respect, trust, confidence and integrity, the buyer will respond to this. If the listing agent is not on time, is not organized, doesn’t welcome the buyers, the buyers will feel this too and it reflects on the seller.
Testimonials: This is where the rubber meets the road. You need to talk to a few referrals, past and recent. You should read more than a few reviews on Yelp or the agents website. There are a lot of third party review sites online today. Warning, none of them are perfect! I feel that these sites are a great resource and should be used in the decision process, but not the only thing used to decide.
photo used with permission = http://odd-objects-stock.deviantart.com