What to Look for In a Real Estate Agent...
Often I am asked what to look for in an agent when people are going out of town. Obviously, I will choose the perfect person for them if they allow me to do so, but it is always good to have a basis of what makes an agent a 'good agent'.
If you cannot trust that the agent is telling you the truth about everything from the contract, to what other people are saying about the home, to being sure you trust they have your best interest at heart. Trust is the number one thing you have to have with the agent you choose to work with.
2. Like- ability:
I have seen many people choose jerky, slimy, sleazes for their agent and all I can ever think is, why in the world would anyone want to work with that person? Then if you ask how it's going, the appalling part is that they tell you they know the agent is slimy, but they appear to be successful with lots of listings... If you the client doesn't like your agent, there is a pretty good chance other agents don't like your agent, thus don't want to work with them and don't want to show their house if they don't have to. (Plus, some appear to have a lot of listings and I am shocked to find who sells a lot and who lists many or puts their name everywhere...Apparently, the more you spend marketing that your successful, people think you are)
3. Diligence/ Has TIME for You:
Finding an agent that will devote their time, energy, and care about finding the right home or buyer just for you by listening to your wants and needs is crucial. Do you need to sell fast, regardless of price OR have the time, but need the money?
Someone that will do their best to serve your needs you would think goes without saying, but many agents have other jobs (therefore, have limited time, energy, and experience to work for you) AND some take on too many clients, so asking an agent if they will have the time for you at the outset AND finding out if real estate is their full time job is important. Plus, some are strict on when they take/ return calls and the hours they work. It is important to ask or you will never know if the agent you choose works this way.
4. Be Sure They Have Experience OR At Least Experienced Support:
Having a new agent isn't all that bad, as long as they have someone that they run their contracts by so that you as the buyer or seller is covered. Real Estate contracts, technology is always changing so having someone who stays up on the changes is going to be best able to serve you. Real Estate school, the test, the classes to get licensed tell you nothing about how to write a contract or sell real estate, so experience is everything in Real Estate. Even people 20 years in the business are learning something new everyday. They haven't even experienced every scenario because everything changes constantly. Its a dynamic industry.
5. Be Sure They Spend Time/ Money on Marketing on the Web (...if your a seller):
The difference between an average and great agent is all in the marketing. If the agent does not spend money marketing on the web (the number one place people find homes) to add extra pictures, content, enhance and spotlight your listing, your listing is going to be passed over.
Pictures are the number one thing people want to see when they are looking at homes to go see in person. Realtor.com is the number one real estate website and feed over 70+ searches that come from other sites, such as the New York Times, when you click on their search, really its Realtor.com. Be sure they have good pictures in their other listings or their portfolio. You never know what your getting unless you ask and a great agent will show you step by step their marketing plan and what they will do for you.
6. Constant Communication:
A great agent will let you know when to expect to hear from them, how often and by what means. Text, phone calls, email, fax; all of these are great, easy ways to stay connected. Be sure the agent is up to speed on all these technologies and has a plan of how they will keep in contact with you regularly.