Are you looking to sell your home? Or maybe even looking to buy a new one? Either way, you’re probably going to be using a real estate agent. That is, unless you are an agent, or decide you’d like to have the crazy workload involved in making a real estate deal all by yourself. So assuming that’s not the case, you’re going to be needing a real estate agent, right? Well, look no further.
Today we’re breaking down some of the key points you need to keep in mind when choosing your estate agent. Choosing the right one can lead to a quicker transaction, more interest in your home (or more homes for you to view if you’re buying), and a better overall feel for the market and the right pricing structure. In fact, the right agent can make your home transaction painless and easy while capitalizing on the sale by getting you top dollar for your home. How exactly do you find the right agent though? Read on to see.
The best place to start is with the credentials. Basically, you need a license before you can operate as a real estate agent. To get a license the broker has to study real estate law and may also have to attend a course for a set amount of time. This course will further their knowledge of real estate law and the finer points of buying or selling houses.
Once licensed, an agent can then join a brokerage firm and begin to work on deals. For your purposes, the first set of credentials you need are those which qualify the agent to actually be an agent and deal with real estate transactions.
After this, you are looking for any further qualifications or even any awards or extra credentials which the agent has. The best way to find out about this is just to ask them. An agent is in the business of not only selling houses, but also selling themselves (to you!), so they won’t be shy about letting you know what qualifications and credentials they have, and also why these make them special and able to make a difference with your home transaction.
So now you’ve checked out the good side of credentials and the agent’s past record, you also need to check if there is a bad side to them. You see, a real estate agent can have disciplinary action taken against them if they break the rules or are misleading about a property. They can be punished by a fine or a suspension, and even if they aren’t in direct violation of the rules there is always the possibility of legal action from unhappy customers.
Check your agent’s record for any sign of this because you really don’t want to be involved with a dodgy estate agent – it can backfire on you in a multitude of ways. The better option is to always go with a clean agent. Remember there are times when people make genuine mistakes and action is taken against them despite there being a good reason or the situation being an actual, honest mistake. In these situations, your agent should be upfront with you and give you all the details. With this info, you can make a decision on whether or not to take a chance with this particular agent.
Once you know the credentials, it’s time to look at performance. Imagine a sport, let’s use the NFL as our example. Every year when the annual draft comes around, they hold something called the NFL combine. This is where all the upcoming athletes are tested and graded on a variety of physical (and mental) tests, such as a 40-yard sprint or a broad jump. This is similar to credentials because it tells you what a person can do in a lab/classroom setting.
What matters though is actual performance, and every year there are guys who smash it at the combine only to fall short in actual games. Likewise, there are guys who do poorly at the combine yet have some kind of intangible ‘it’ factor which allows them to play like superstars every single game. This is what actually matters, the performance on the field!
With your real estate agent, you need to pick somebody who performs well. Take a look at any awards they may have won and ask them about past performance. How many houses have they sold? What percentage of houses usually sell and how long does it take? Do they usually manage to get the asking price, or do most of their sales consist of discounted properties?
Find out how long they’ve been in the game too, because sometimes a newer agent can be riding a lucky boom, but over time the results will eventually average out based on their skill.
When you take a look at this info, try to factor it into your situation as well. If the agent sells a lot in one area but not in yours, are they really going to be useful to you? The same goes for an agent who is successful but hasn’t really touched your location or market before.
Those are the two big areas which decide whether an agent is a good choice or not. Most of the time you want to use those two sections to create a shortlist of possible agents. Now come the deciding factors, the specifics of the situation.
Firstly you want to look for an agent who has relevant experience. One who is active in your area and has been successful there. An agent who can deal with the current market situation and has already proven it in the past. One who has experience with a home similar to yours and who has already dealt with buyers who are similar to the types that would be interested in your home.
Finally, you need to start looking at the personal connection. If you don’t trust or get along with the agent, the relationship probably won’t work out. On the other hand, if you just seem to click immediately with an agent, it can be a good sign of how the transaction will proceed. Trust and communication are the most important qualities for a successful relationship with your real estate agent. Don’t overlook them or you could wind up with some big problems!
Disclaimer: Our service is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as financial advice. We help our readers make informed decisions via impartial information and guides. Where appropriate, we may introduce partner companies who can provide services relating to financial products.