When Hiring A Real Estate Agent, Look For These Traits
Selling real estate involves more than just picking a real estate agency and accepting the first agent that comes along. When you want to sell your house (or buy a new one!), you want an agent that fits a specific set of criteria. If they are lacking in any or most of the requirements that would make a good agent for your needs, it is probably not a good idea to hire that person.
There is nothing wrong with holding out for an agent that does fit a stricter set of criteria either. In fact, most agents expect that clients may request a different agent at least once during the course of a sale. The first agent you meet will not be offended if you ask for a different agent’s or agency’s help. To find and hire a really good real estate agent, look for these traits.
Experience and Knowledge of the Area
How much does the agent know about the city, county, and state? Is he/she a transplant from another state or any area that is not even close to where you live or where you want to live?
The bigger the city, the more important it is to find a real estate agent that specializes in a specific area or suburb. For example, the Phoenix-Metro area in Arizona is a top-5 most populated city in the country, but homes for sale in Scottsdale are much different than ones found in Phoenix or Chandler, Arizona.
If the Realtor hasn’t been living in the area for very long, it’s not likely that they would know much about housing values, fluctuations in the market, schools and churches, local activities and events, etc., that would make it worthwhile to buyers to buy your house or worthwhile to you to buy a different home elsewhere.
Make sure the agent has been living and working in the area for at least five years. It helps if he/she can recall key details about different events in your neighborhood or the neighborhood where you want to live.
It is important to know if the local neighborhood schools are safe places for your children to attend and that the schools are ranked well. Safety and security of a particular neighborhood are key in buying or selling a home too.
How Will They Sell Your Home?
In terms of selling your home, what is the agent going to do? Homes sell faster when the agent takes great strides to market it well. Your property shouldn’t be
listed in just one online place. It should be listed in dozens of online locations and promoted in newspapers, flyers, and open houses.
Every time your agent gets an interested party looking for a home, yours should be one of the first ones the agent shows to the buyers. Postcards, billboards, and email “drips” that send a “blast” about your home to every inbox of every buyer within five hundred miles should be part of the work that your agent puts into selling your home. If it isn’t, you need someone that will work harder and smarter to sell the property.
The Most Connected Agent Is the Better Agent
How connected is the agent? He/she should know several contractors in case you want to give your property a few upgrades before putting it on the market. The agent should also know at least one appraiser (if he/she doesn’t have his/her own appraiser’s license!) and one property inspector.
These other professionals can tell you exactly what the home is worth and what is lacking that may result in a longer sale time if you do not get these things fixed or updated.
Then there are the mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers, the moving companies and the staging companies. Does your agent know at least one vetted person (if not more) in each of these areas that can provide you or buyers with financing and mortgage products, moving services and stores that lend furniture for staging a home?
The furniture and decorative items that will transform rooms in your house for an open house can help buyers see the potential and get excited about making an offer.
All of these details are key to making your property look very attractive to potential buyers or helping you find a property that you really want. If the agent cannot refer you or a buyer to any of these other real estate-related professionals, you can’t expect to find a really good property much less sell the one you have.
A Solutions Thinker
Real estate, buying or selling, has its pitfalls as well as its promises. If your agent can’t spot a problem with a property, that is definitely something that will cost you a lot of money. If the same agent spots a potential problem but can provide reasonable and sensible solutions, that is somebody you want working for you.
It means that your property for sale will have options to offer buyers where they may spot the same problem and it means that problems you spot with another property your agent can refer you to people who can fix it.
Attention to detail is a major skill in selling real estate. The best agents can draw your attention to all of the details in a property that makes it seem so perfect. They may see a problem, but rather than point it out negatively they let you know A) why it might be a problem and B) how easy it is to fix using the references given to other real estate-related professionals.
A Strong Communicator
Nobody likes hiring a real estate agent that meets with them once and then just seems to drop off the face of the earth. A stand-offish or hands-offish agent that doesn’t communicate regularly with you may not be communicating that well with buyers either. It can also mean that your home is not adequately marketed because the agent is not keeping a good flow of verbal promotion going.
Additionally, the agent should be calling you at least once a week with any news. If you would rather only receive phone calls when there is interest in your property or a possible property has been located for you, you can make that request. However, a lot of buyers and sellers like knowing what is going on behind the scenes with the agent as the agent is looking and working to sell their properties. A weekly update call isn’t too much or too little.
The primary function of any real estate agent is to sell, sell, SELL. If you find an agent that could sell an igloo to a polar bear in a blizzard at the North Pole at midnight, you have found an excellent agent to sell your property. Just make sure he/she gets the best deal possible for your sale. Likewise, an agent that is looking for a specific property for you should know how to negotiate the price down to your desired limit.
If you want to know the sales track record of an agent, you can actually request that information in most states. If you can’t get specifics, you can ask the lead agent or owner of an agency who the top seller is and what that agent’s track record looks like.
Details you want to hear in the conversation should include how fast the agent can sell properties and how high the sale prices are. If you are looking to buy instead, you will want to know the percentage of times an agent managed to talk the owners down ten to twenty percent less the asking price. Then you hire that agent.