When you’re about to make one of the largest financial decisions of your life, it’s important to have the right REALTOR® working for you. Let these five characteristics guide an excellent decision.
You’re on the cusp of buying real estate – this is an exciting time in your life! You’ve crunched the numbers, saved up every penny, and you’re ready! Now what? It’s time to choose the right real estate agent to guide and represent you through the biggest purchase of your life. To add to the stress of choosing an agent, you probably have a friend or family member pushing their business card into your hand every time you see them.
First and foremost, you want to interview three agents. A 30-minute phone call should give you a good feel for who is a good fit for the job.
#1: Experience This is an easy one. You want an agent that works full-time and has closed more than five deals in the past year. You do NOT want the agent who is a full-time hair stylist and part-time agent. You also want to know how many deals they’ve closed in the past year, not the number of years they’ve been an agent. An agent can hypothetically hold a license for 10 years without closing a deal! To be even more specific, ask how many closings they’ve had in your price range in the past year.
#2: Negotiating Skills How are you going to test their negotiating skills before you’ve even sat down to do business? Negotiate with them in your interview. Tell them you’d like them to reduce their commission and credit a portion back to you. If they immediately say yes, then you can tell that you’re already a better negotiator. If they counter your request, then they pass the test.
#3: Knowledge of the Area Do they know the area in which you’re seeking a home? Agents unfamiliar with the area may not be able to tell you about schools, amenities, and local features that could factor into your decision-making. For example, here in Naples, there is a community called Victoria Park that hosts an amazing Christmas light display each year. People drive through by the thousands for the two weeks leading up to the holiday. Homeowners can’t leave their houses between 5 and 10 pm. They also get swamped for Halloween. There are some buyers who absolutely avoid that neighborhood for those reasons (and some who move in just for those reasons!). A local agent would know about this and forewarn a buyer. An agent from out of town would be completely uninformed and their buyers may be totally stunned come December 15.
#4 Network A good, seasoned agent will have a network of professionals they work with. Ask which mortgage broker, attorney, title company, and inspection company they work with most. If the agent cannot provide quick answers along with contact information, they’re not the one for you.
#5 Accessibility When you called or emailed to set up an interview with the agent, did they respond quickly? If it took them more than 24 hours to get back to you, they’re not the agent for you. You need someone who is available to answer your questions (because you will have a lot) in a timely fashion.
While it may seem great to throw business to a friend or relative, you need to consider whether it’s in your best interest. Check out our article on how to say no to a family member or friend.