Selecting a Real Estate Agent… What is Important?

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You are looking to purchase or sell a home.  You have been given recommendations from friends and family.  Which agent is the right agent for you?

Don’t know what to ask? Don’t worry! This list of questions will get you started and should give you enough info to make a call on the right agent for you:

  • How long have you been a real estate agent? An agent with at least four to 10 years of experience has been around long enough to have endured the good and bad of the real estate market.  How many homes have you sold in the last 12 months?  You’ll also want an agent that helps at least 35 clients buy or sell their homes each year. It takes hard work and a good reputation to get that kind of business, and it shows that real estate is more than just a hobby for this agent—it’s a passion!
  • For sellers: What is your average number of days from first listing a home to an accepted offer? This won’t be a guarantee that your home will sell within the agent’s average time frame, but it’s a good gauge of how well your agent knows his business and how hard he works to get homes sold.
  • What is your average difference between a home’s listing price and the final selling price? Buyers will find out how well the agent will negotiate on their behalf. Sellers will learn how accurately the agent prices the homes she lists.

For sellers:

  •  How will you market my home? Your agent needs to provide a marketing plan for your home.  More than 90% of all buyers find their homes online. Your agent must know how to bring in buyers through online listings, video and virtual tours, blog posts, “enhanced” listings on real estate websites, and social media. Your agent should also be able to tell you how to prepare your home for sale (staging) so it makes a great impression on buyers while giving you a great return on your investment.
  • How will negotiate the contract and follow up with the buyers agent after we go under contract? A good agent will explain exactly what will happen during negotations and what follows with the buyers loan.
  • How and how often will you communicate with me? Most buyers and sellers complain about a lack of communication with their agents. It’s best to know what to expect upfront, and if the agent doesn’t make communication a priority, keep looking.

 

Refining Your Search

As you talk with potential agents, don’t ignore your gut reactions. Do you feel when speaking with this agent?  Does the agent make you feel comfortable? Does the agent answer all your questions directly?  Do you feel like the agent will take the time to discuss and explain things with you?  

If you are uncomfortable early on, this is a red flag. Things most likely are not going to improve.  A real estate transaction is one of the most important transactions of your life and you need to feel that your agent is genuinely happy to work with you, working for your best interest , patiently answers all your questions and impresses you with their qualifications.