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Chances are good that your feelings about both had a lot to do with how your agent handled the transaction and whether or not they met your needs and expectations.
Your agent doesn’t have to be your best friend, but they should be someone who you can trust at the same level.
Choosing the agent who will handle one of the most significant transactions in your life shouldn’t be difficult. Here are a few easy tips to determine if the agent you’re working with, or considering working with, is the right fit for you:
1. Become a modern-day investigator. You may already run a quick Google search on potential clients, dates, babysitters and others, but what about your real estate agent? Go beyond the basic details of who they are and where they’re from to dig a bit deeper with some smart questions.
- How long have they been in business?
- What are their credentials?
- Do they have the track record and experience that matches your own objectives?
- What advanced certifications and training do they have?
- How many homes have they sold recently?
- Do they have an effective web site?
If they pass this initial check-up, you can then move on to…
2. Location, location, location. It’s a well-known idiom in real estate for a reason. Location is key in terms of not only selling your home, but also where you want to move and possibly sell again one day. How well does the agent know the area where you’re selling or buying? One of the best points of reference for determining this is looking at their listings. Again, these should be readily available on their website. Take a look at the locations of their listings and how well they know your area. Then, take a step back to see if they are neighborhood-specific or if they know more than one pocket of the city. An agent who knows many different neighborhoods well is a knowledgeable, experienced agent and one with whom you probably want to work!
3. Your best friend’s sister’s cousin is probably not the first person you should think of when looking for a real estate agent. Chances are good they are not a superstar agent in your current area or the area you’re looking to move (though if they are, you better go for it!), and you have to remember that you are not looking to do someone a favor – you’re looking to sell your home and/or buy another. We’ve heard time and again that someone chose their agent because they are their friend or a family member. Sometimes this works out, but the reasoning isn’t solid and won’t always work to your benefit.
4. The sale is in the details. A busy real estate agent works with a tremendous amount of paperwork on a daily basis, juggling multiple transactions, clients and contract deadlines. If your prospective agent cannot successfully multi-task, you’re going to have a problem. A quality real estate agent is someone who is timely, attentive to you and your needs, and thorough. This is the point at which referrals come in handy, because someone you trust will be able to give you a great perspective on the agent’s work ethic if they have worked with them before. Remember – referrals should be based on skill and good rapport, not just relationship to the agent.
5. Happy Together. Finally, and perhaps the most simply, you’ll know when you meet an agent if they will be a good fit for you or not the same way you know if you’ll get along with anyone you meet. If their personality, attitude, and business style are a strong fit for you, then trust your gut and start working with your superstar agent today!
Luckily, a simple Internet search can help with most of these points, if not answer many questions for you, but this can never replace the voice-to-voice or face-to-face contact that builds good relationships.
These five basic points can help keep you out of some uncomfortable situations when selling or buying a home. To boil it down to the bare bones: investigate online, make sure they know the area, avoid doing someone a favor, trust good referrals, and follow your gut.
See, not so hard after all, is it?
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