Like most people, I like to use Google to do a little research when I want to buy something or get a quick answer to a question.
I use it for recipes and for technical support and occasionally for medical type information. There are articles on most topics.
There are many articles on the internet about how to choose a real estate agent. Most of them are fluff pieces written by people who do not have any expertise in the area.
They do some research . . probably on the internet and use ideas from someone else’s fluff piece or maybe from several fluff pieces.
I disagree with most of the questions people are advised to ask agents.
Why would anyone want to know how many listings an agent has? The better question is to ask them what percentage of their listings get sold.
The real estate market is ever changing. If I am asked how long houses I list are on the market it wouldn’t be the same for one year to the next.
If I am asked what percentage of the asking price I get on average for homes that I list, that really isn’t a fair question unless I get to set the price.
If I did set the price in this market I would go low and consistently get more than the asking price for the home.
Real estate agents are salespeople and finding clients is most of what the job is all about.
Hiring the right real estate agent boils down to three simple questions:
- Does the agent have experience?
- Is the agent someone I feel that I can trust and work with?
- Am I just a “deal” or will the agent give me the time and attention I deserve?
By experience, I mean at least 5 years and it should include working in your neighborhood or the neighborhood you wish to move to. Personally knowing what I know I wouldn’t work with anyone who has less than ten years of experience. Agents with no experience generally charge as much as agents who have decades of experience.
I have a bias toward full-time agents but I can honestly say I have known some part-time agents who do a better job than most full-time agents.
Trust is a big deal. If you don’t trust an agent do not work with him or her. Choosing someone who is easy to work with is also important. You will have to work closely with the agent that you choose.
Ask the agent if they have time to work with you. Are they going to hand you over to a junior team member? Do they sell zillions of houses? Will they care about your sale or purchase?
One of the best ways to find an amazing real estate agent is to ask friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers who they worked with and if they would recommend that person.
The only downside to that approach is people who have had only one experience buying or selling a home might not even realize their agent wasn’t up to par because he or she was so “nice”.
If you think choosing an agent is tough you should try choosing clients. When I mess up it can make my life miserable for weeks or months. I can end up spending money to market a home before I figure out that the owners are not committed to selling.
Also see: REALTOR is not an occupation