Many of the same questions, hesitations and strategies connected with seeking out professional assistance in any field — whether you’re looking for a doctor, 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 you might not always find the most compatible assistance this way. And in a transaction as important and intensive as buying and selling a home, that can be critical.
Regardless of how you get an agent’s name, it might be worth interviewing at least a couple before you make a final decision — or at least 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 contract, only to seek a lower price later, after little traffic is generated at the initial price level. Meanwhile, you’ve lost what can be the most critical time period in selling a home — the first weeks immediately after it’s listed.
Check on experience, education. 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. Experienced agents also know exactly what the current group of buyers are looking for in relation to particular styles and price ranges of properties. A skilled agent can recommend changes that will enhance the salability of your home, thus increasing the price –and /or decreasing the time before a sale.
If you’re a buyer — does the agent discuss and/or offer buyer agency? More and more buyers are deciding they want full contractual representation on the same level as the seller. Be sure to discuss buyer agency with any agent you’re thinking about working with.
Does the agent know the market? Is the agent knowledgeable about the community. Do they have a feel for that history of the area, and the approx. price that people will be willing to pay. Also, real estate agents should know the competition is and how much it will effect your sale.
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 seems to have a bit too many irons in the fire 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.
There are some questions you may ask a REALTOR before you choose:
How long have you been in selling real estate in our area?If they have not been in local real estate for several years, they may not know some of the important historical data they need to give sound advice about the area.
What is your negotiation style?You need to know how you fit in with your agent to better know if he is right for you and that the agent has the negotiation skills they need to represent you properly.
How do you prepare information about relevant home choices for me ahead of time?Your Realtor should have this done for you based on your specified criteria so that you have a good supply of current information.
What if anything you can do to save me money on the items that regularly come up in the closing process?Realtors know the costs involved, and a good realtor can save you money through his relationships in the industry.
Can you pre-qualify me and help me with financing options?Every situation is different. Your Realtor should be able to give you some alternatives. Banks aren’t the only place to get this advice.
What kind of properties have you had experience selling?Find out the detailed knowledge that the agent has of homes that will fit you.
Of course there are always other questions but we have found that these are typically questions that will help you know you are dealing with an experienced realtor. Finding the right real estate professional requires doing a little research and asking a few questions can save you a lot of money and time. You need to know everything about the selling process. What is the marketing strategy? What kind of advertising will be done? Can the realtor effectively present and sell the less-noticeable assets of the property? Is the realtor capable and willing to communicate effectively?
Real estate professionals also need to be knowledgeable about the community. That’s why find a local REALTOR is better chose. They need to have a feel for the history of the area and the approximate price that people will be willing to pay. Also, real estate agents should know what the competition is and how much it will affect your sale.
Never choose a realtor on price alone. Remember that a realtor cannot magically raise the selling price of the house. Consider the buyer. The purchaser won’t willingly pay too much; it’s most likely that he or she will do research on the market and try to find the best product for the best price. The facts simply cannot be changed, no matter which realtor you select. In spite of these unchangeable factors, the realtor you select must still be diligent and knowledgeable.
If your property does not elicit attention within several weeks, the cause can most likely be attributed to one of these three factors: location, condition, and price. The location obviously cannot be changed. You should consider examining the conditioning of your property and re-evaluating the marketing strategy. Ask your realtor to offer an explanation of the competition and your pricing strategy.