The Secret of getting ahead is getting started ~ Mark TwainThis series of blog posts has been a very personal one for me and focused on a subject that I am very passionate about. I recently realized
Selecting The Right Real Estate Agent
Real Estates Agents work on becoming the go to agent and they want to work for you. They grow their client base by word of mouth, good customer service and great marketing skills. With so many agents working on gaining your business how will you go about finding the right agent? Interview several and ask questions to learn about them and how they will work for you. Will you choose a newer agent or a seasoned one? Here are some of my thoughts.
How long has the agent been selling properties? This is a question that often comes up and to new agents in the market this one puts them at a disadvantage simply because they do not have the tenure some clients love to see. However years of experience is not a mark of great success and experience. Ask any recruiter and they will tell you that many years in a job does not necessarily make the best candidate! For example they may be tired of the same line of work, set in their ways, hard to change, not kept up with the new and so on. Also as we know real estate is a commission-based business and its difficult to survive this line of work when times get rough. Senior agents have seen the gamut of change in our industry and will be able to see through a transaction and not be rattled. But should you choose to hire a newer agent be confidant they have a broker behind them readily available. They also have gone through intense schooling and training to get where they are. And keep in mind that not all transactions are the same. Even agents that have been in real estate for a some time do ask questions from time to time simply because laws and policies change along with technology.
How many clients on average does the agent have? "Will the agent have time for me" is what is behind this question. Its a concern for buyers because they require more time than a seller per-say because of the time it takes to find that perfect home. No one likes to have short days, fast property walks, or told to "go see the property and let me know if you want to put an offer in" or pushed into a purchase because they have reached a limit of how many homes they will show you. High profile agent work with teams therefore some question to ask are; if they work on a team, who will be the contact person in their absence and if there is a licensed assistance that can offer advice. New agents do have the time to dedicate in home searches without rushing through homes. They are building their client base and are excited you have chosen them to help you with your search.
Buyer agents and Seller agents. Yes there are dedicated agents to each side of the table. This happens allot within team base agents. They have developed this strategy to streamline the process with their office. However if you are selling your home and buying another within the same time period would you want two different agents to work with? This would be a question you would want to ask yourself. You'd want your agent to be well verse in both sides of the table and over see both transactions keeping it seamless.
Which areas does the agent cover? Some agents have created a business model in regards to being a " neighborhood expert" while others travel across many cites to make the sale. Having intimate knowledge of local markets is important when choosing your home. Which is why many relocating buyers will rent before they buy a home, and it makes sense. You want to know about the area before you commit to a neighborhood. The internet is great and it helps agents find homes that are out of their market of expertise. If you are the kind of person that want that "neighborhood expert" just be cautious they may work on influencing you to buy a home that is not a good fit. Find an agent that is flexible and willing to work with your goals in mind.
Teams...reaps benefits, but get clarification of the role each person will play from the start. All members roles must be disclosed upfront so there isn't any confusion when you have a question or when someone steps in and takes over. You should know when and who you will be speaking with as the transaction unfolds and not just be passed around.
Do you have a unique situation? Are you an investor, a first-time home buyer, farmer looking for farm land, or looking for commercial property? These are a few of scenarios that often come up and you will not want to work with a person that has little to no experience. Do not let a smooth talking agent swift you off your feet with their suave personality. Ask question learn your agent ask many questions and how they are going to work for you. A good question to ask is "how would you deal if a unique issue should arise"?
Communication is key between you and your agent. Set your expectations from the start and seek that your agent has set them as well. Both parties should be comfortable with how information will be provided may it be phone call, text, message, FedEx and even a combination of all.
Many agents have recommendations for vendors. Some of them may be a lender, title company, cleaning and landscaper company, carpet cleaners, inspectors and even staging company. The agent you select should have these to refer you to. These should be a recommendation and nothing more. Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act known as RESPA gives you the right to choose who you want to work with every step of the way.
Asking for references from your agent. Good to ask but take that with a grain of salt as no agent will give you a past client to reach out to that things did not turn out so smoothly. Do your research and ask open-ended questions based on your needs.
Questions, Questions, Questions. The most important thing is to ask questions. I believe I have sprinkled this throughout my blog. An agent should be working in getting to know you and your goals for your home. Anyone can ask how many bedrooms and what you want to sell your house for. Getting to know you and your priorities is an excellent indicator the agent is working on the foundation of a client-centered service for you.
It is said that the true determination of a person's mindset and priorities is exposed by the question they ask!!
I am based in the greater Northwest Austin, TX area and I am determined to be the real estate consultant of choice and have some fun while we are looking for your next home or Lot. Just to share a b....