How to Hire a Stellar Real Estate Agent
March 28, 2012 by
Tips for Home Buyers, Tips for Home Sellers
Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be stressful. You’re going to want a rock-star team behind you. But where do you start? What questions should you ask them? How do you know if they can get the job done? Will they look after your interests? Don’t worry, here’s a how you find the right real estate agent for you.
Step One ~ Google Them!
This is the 21st century, people! If you want the most unbiased opinion you can get, where else would you turn but your good ol’ friend, the internet. For most accurate results, you’ll want to input their name followed by the word REALTOR. You should be able to see their online reviews as well as professional online networks, a quick review of these sites will tell you much about the person your about to hire for one of the most expensive and important transactions you may go through in your life. Take a moment and google me!
Step Two ~ The Interview
Do not, I repeat DO NOT, underestimate the necessity for an interview. This is a job, and by far one of the most important jobs for you and your family to contract out. An employer would never hire an employee without at least sitting them down first and determining whether or not they are literate. You would be amazed by some of the gems out there that call themselves “agents.”
Meet your agent at your local Starbucks, or perhaps for a bite to eat. Look them dead in the eyes with your best poker face and ask them the following questions.
- “Are you a full-time or part-time Real Estate Broker?” or “Do you have any other jobs or charities you donate time? If so, how much?”
- This is important to know right of the bat. In order to be a proactive Real Estate Agent, it requires a lot of time, effort, and sleepless nights. Now, I’m not saying that someone who works part time is a bad agent, but you will often find that you will not be their highest priority. Learn more about a typical REALTOR profile here.
- What is your schedule? Do you take any days off?
- This ties into the bullet above. If the agent sitting in front of you is too laid back, you may not (okay, cannot) rely on them to check their email for contractual updates, or even show you homes on a time frame that fits your schedule. This business moves at 100 miles an hour; there is always a clock ticking.
- Do you ever preview homes for your clients?
- Previewing is the act of walking the house before the showing appointment. This is highly beneficial for both the client and agent. If the agent has a clear idea of what their client is looking for (which they ALWAYS should) then the agent can predetermine whether or not this home is a good fit for the client and save them the trip to a home that will clearly not make the cut. An agent benefits from previewing because they are able to vastly build intimate knowledge of an area. Such knowledge is invaluable in the real estate business.
- Do you have any specialties and if so, how are those skills beneficial or helpful to me?
- Some agents specialize in short sales, GREEN homes, condominiums, new construction or a particular area. If you are working with an agent that is way out of their league, it would be stellar to know that before you sign a contract
- What is your approach to negotiations? How do you get me the best price or save me money in this process?
- Has anyone ever filed a complaint against you? Either with your office, the licensing department, or your local real estate board? Can you tell me about a situation that didn’t go well and how you helped handle it?
- Are you a member in good standing with the local Multiple listing services? Are you a member in good standing with the National Association of REALTORS?
- How long have you been and do you anticipate being in the business of helping people buy and sell homes?
- If they’re an infant agent, their game might not be as strong as an experienced agent. Additionally, if they have six months left before they retire, they might have already checked out mentally. The best agent is the one who will give you there all every day of the week.
- What has been your proudest moment in real estate? or What has humbled you in real estate?
- How do you choose the professionals you work with and recommend? Specifically ask about mortgage providers, title & escrow providers and inspectors or home staggers and photographers.
- Are you savvy with a computer and what tools will you use that will make the experience better for me?
- Now days, the best way to buy or sell a home is online; 90% of advertising is done online. If your agent isn’t on the same page as you, technologically speaking, it might frustrate you down the line.
While no single list of questions can ever be complete, this list will help get a content-rich dialogue started that will make it easy for you to decide if the right agent is in front of you.
If you’re uncomfortable hiring your own agent, give me a call at 425-891-0088 and I’ll walk you through it!
If you happen to live in any market outside of the Greater Seattle-Tacoma area, I can recommend a broker for you and ask these questions on your behalf. If you like to learn more about me, click here now.