If you’re looking to either buy or sell real estate in the near future, you’ve got many questions on your mind. It’s a scary process, and to make sure you get through it without losing your mind you need a real estate agent that you can trust and will do a great job on your behalf. So how do you choose the right real estate agent? There are several ways to do this, and I’ve listed a few of the more effective ways to choose the perfect agent for you.
Over the course of the last twenty years, real estate agents have developed a poor reputation that rivals that of a used car salesperson. Being a real estate agent myself, I hear this comparison all of the time. It’s true, we are salespersons. But we have a duty and obligation to practice a code of ethics, and to work in any prospective seller or buyer’s best interest. We’re not allowed to pressure anyone into selling their home, or a buying a home when we know they cannot afford one. However, I must say there are some very terrible real estate agents out there, and I think it’s these agents that have given the rest of us a bad name. Keep in mind that we all work differently. For instance, if you and I took a pen and signed our names, though the result would be different we still used to the same tool to do it. If you apply this to real estate, you’ll see that though all agents use the same methods we don’t always get the same results. Choosing the right agent can be the difference between achieving your real estate dreams or experiencing a nightmare. Choose wisely and I hope these steps will help.
Ask your friends for recommendations.
This is my number one method for choosing a real estate agent. Don’t pay attention to the advertisements, commercials, or word of mouth around the city. If you trust your friends opinions, then I highly suggest listening to them. As a real estate agent, 70% of my business comes from referrals generated from past clients. Each time I have a new client I always take into consideration that it could lead to future business, therefore I try to do a great job. If you know of someone that has had a polite experience with a particular agent, then find a little bit more about the agent and call them for an interview.
Don’t get wrapped up in an agent’s production.
I cannot stress this one enough. Here in Wilmington, North Carolina, there are a few top agents in the area that are known for their production of 80 million dollars or more. Most of these agents have actually branded their name, but have a small team of agents working underneath them that contribute to the overall production. I’ve heard horror stories of someone listing their home with a particular agent, and they never heard from them again. They’d make phone calls that were never returned or e-mails that were never replied to. I attribute this to the fact that they do have so much other business going on that it’s hard to concentrate on one property in particular. An agent with less production actually has the time to concentrate fully on selling your property or showing you houses, and spend time on figuring out creative ways to advertise it.
If an agent exerts more pressure than you’re comfortable with, ask them to leave.
We are in sales, but in the business of selling homes we don’t have to exert pressure. Being a real estate agent is about selling yourself, not selling a prospective client on the idea of listing their home. Credibility is everything with this business, and if an agent chooses to disrespect you and the time you took to meet with them then it’s not worth it. You’ve got many other choices and you certainly don’t want to put your trust into someone that makes you uncomfortable.
Have a simple conversation with them.
Again, real estate agents are normal human beings. While interviewing the agent, find a little more about who they are and where they come from. Of course, you’ll need to find out about their experience and what they’ll do to sell your home, but having a normal conversation will allow you to see how your personalities will match up. For instance, if you live in the South and you’re interviewing a smooth talking, overly aggressive agent that comes from New York City, your personalities may clash down the road, which will affect the way you communicate together. Choose someone that fits your lifestyle and personality.
Choose a company that is nationally known.
I’ve never understood why a seller doesn’t list with a company such as Century 21 or Coldwell Banker and instead lists with Red Tiger Realty. As a seller, you want your home to be associated with the elite in real estate, not a small, failing company that has two part-time agents. There are obvious reasons to use large companies on the selling end, but as a buyer it is to your benefit to use a larger company. The reason being, most of the larger companies such as Century 21 have standards and ethics that the agent’s must uphold. This includes working in your best interests, and not pressuring you into doing something that could be wrong. If an agent in a larger company were to do something unethical, it’s more likely to go unnoticed.
After interviewing, make sure the agent is responsive to all calls or emails.
The number one complaint about most real estate agents is the lack of communication. After your interview, place a few calls or write a few e-mails to the agent to see what kind of response time they give. A good agent will respond within the hour if they’re not busy with appointments, and a poor agent will put it off three or more hours, even sometimes to the next day. This will tell you a lot about an agent. If they’re aggressive and very customer service oriented, they’ll make sure you’re a top priority. You don’t want to make the mistake of going with an agent that responds slowly. If they can’t pick up the phone to call you then they won’t go the extra mile in selling your home.