Make A Wise Selection When It Comes to a Realtor
Many of the same questions, hesitations and strategies connected with seeking out professional assistance in any field - whether you're looking for a doctor, dentist, lawyer or accountant - come into play when you're selecting a real estate agent. Some people find an agent through a family member or friend. This is often a reliable approach but a referral from a family member or friend doesn't guarantee a perfect match. Regardless of how you get an agent's name, it might be worth arming yourself with some criteria to go over with any agent who has been recommended to you.
A few things to look for:
If you're looking for an agent to list your home, be wary of anyone who suggests they can get an unreasonably high sales price. An agent might use a high listing price to secure a listing agreement, only to seek a lower price later, after little traffic is generated at the initial price level. Meanwhile, you've lost what THE MOST CRITICAL TIME PERIOD IN SELLING A HOME - the first weeks immediately after it's listed. Agents can't tell you how much your home will sell for. That's a fallacy. A listing agent can show you comparable sales, pending sales and active sales but you choose the sales price and a buyer will tell you if the price is right. To get the listing, some agents deliberately distort the truth.
Since agents can't guarantee your sales price, the listing agent who suggests the highest price is probably untruthful. Ask the agent to show you numbers supporting that suggested list price. They probably won't have them or the home sales will be located in a different neighborhood.
A seller who chooses an agent based on which estimate is highest is the ultimate loser.
Yet too often a seller operates in this manner. It's a shame because so few agents take the time to educate sellers that other factors such as marketing plans and the agent's negotiation abilities are far more important than an agent's estimate of value. The comps speak loudly if anybody looks at them. Ultimately, the market place establishes value. Choose your agent based on honesty, ethics, experience, competence and marketing, and don't chase after those tossing around numbers without hard proof.
- Check on experience, education and productivity. As with most professions, experience pays in real estate. Experienced agents know the market and the marketing process. They'll have the best chance of quickly and smoothly helping you to buy or sell your home.
- Designations - such as the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI); Certified Residential Specialist (CRS); Certified Relocation Professional (CRP); Accredited Luxury Home Specialist (ALHS) - suggest an expertise and commitment that goes beyond just earning and maintaining a real estate license.
- The number of transactions an agent is handling monthly or yearly is going to give you an indication of how committed the agent is to the profession. Is the agent a part-timer who's just dabbling in real estate sales - or is the agent a full-time professional whose livelihood depends entirely on an ability to successfully and repeatedly close real estate transactions?
- If you're a buyer - does the agent offer buyer agency? More and more buyers want full contractual representation on the same level as the seller and they should get it. Be sure to discuss buyer agency with any agent you're thinking about working with.
- Does the agent know the market? Remember the market determines value.
- Is the agent part of a national network? This can be especially important if you're selling in one city in preparation of moving to another. Your selling agent can refer you to a professional, compatible agent in your destination city - and keep in close contact with that agent so both your selling and buying efforts are closely coordinated.
- And a final point: Does the agent seem primarily interested in sharing expertise and market knowledge in an honest and straightforward manner? Or does the agent seem more interested in telling you what you want to hear - or spend a lot of effort trying to market additional products and services? The worst time to secure the services of a "yes-man" or an agent who is not singularly dedicated to the field of real estate is when you're entering a transaction involving something as expensive as your home. You need straightforward, reliable information - even if it's not necessarily flattering regarding the home you're selling - or very encouraging regarding a home you think you might want to buy.