In this week's installment, we're focusing on one of the most critical decisions you can make when buying and selling homes: how to pick the right real estate agent.
Why is choosing the right agent important? Just think for a moment about all the moving parts of a real estate deal:
- Dealing with other agents on the other side of a deal
- Home inspection requirements
- Local, state and federal housing laws
- Mortgages, finances, and taxes
- Qualifying buyers
- Comparable homes/home pricing
- Lawyers, title companies, and insurance
- Home advertising, marketing, and promotion
- Much more...
And, don't forget, the paperwork. The average home deal requires over 100 pages of paperwork.
So, make the wrong choice, you can lose money, lose your home or even end up in court - or jail. And, even when you make the right choice in a Realtor, there are always - always - things that pop up. Having a true professional there to deal with them? It can mean the success or failure of your deal.
So how do you choose the right real estate agent?
- Pick a very busy agent - The busiest agents are the best agents. It's just a fact. Successful, full-time agents who can move your home fast or find your next one fast are - every time - the ones who do the best jobs balancing, multitasking and organizing themselves. WARNING: Don't confuse disorganization with busy-ness. If the agent you're talking with is all over the place, disheveled and rushed, they're disorganized. A very bad thing for your deal.
- Interview agents - Don't just go with the first one you see, actually interview agents. Research them, tell them what's important to you, ask if they're full-time, ask about their active listings, their last year's number of closings and more. HINT: The ones who appear on the first 2-3 pages of Google searches like "real estate in atlanta ga" are almost always the best places to start. They'll likely satisfy item #1 above and they show the world they care about their image, branding, and marketing.
- Don't hire a relative - This may sound harsh and it may also sound counterintuitive (reduced commissions, y'all!), but there are many old (very valid) adages about not mixing business, money, and family that are out there for a reason. They're true. And borne of experience. Just. Don't. Do. It.
- Hire an experienced, but tech-savvy Realtor - Technology is changing how we do business more and more every month. Real estate, while slow to consistent adoption, is also evolving too. The best agents are the ones who have been in the game for a long time, but who have adapted too. They make use of technology to better their game, their marketing and to help their clients. If you're talking to an agent who complains a lot about "email issues" or who has a website that's hard to use, has broken pages, links, and outdated content and features, think twice (here's an example of a good one). Save yourself the headaches, frustration, time and money.
- Find a good communicator - I simply can't overstate how important it is to find an agent who can communicate clearly and effectively with you. How many of us have been 2-3 weeks into a home listing or home search only to find our agent hasn't been listening? Agents who aren't good communicators send bad emails and texts, are found saying things like "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you said ______" on a regular basis, and they don't respond to you effectively when they can't be reached on their phones or via email.
If you pay attention to the above, I guarantee you'll still have problems in your deal. All deals do. But, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.
How do you find out what your homes is worth BEFORE contacting an agent and putting it on the market? See what you'll be competing against and get an instant, online valuation based on our powerful data warehouse.
About the Author
After having spent my career in Information Technology and government service for the US Intelligence Community, I'm helping build a better, more direct way to connect home buyers and sellers. We think real estate can be a better, more convenient experience for everyone involved and we're out to make it happen! Our solutions will change the way buyers, sellers and realtors market themselves and connect with one another. We're just getting started! In fact, it's our goal to make the home buying and selling experience as much as possible like what we've all become accustomed to with the likes of Amazon, Zappos, LetGo and other powerful, simple, easy and convenient solutions that have transformed our lives as consumers.Follow on Twitter More Content by Rebekah Polancich