Nine Ways to Narrow Your Search for the Right Agent
All real estate agents present themselves as a leader in the industry. They all will say they’re number one. How do you cut through all the hype to find a truly exceptional real estate agent? How can you tell which agents succeed in getting the best selling price in the least amount of time, and which just don’t?
The more you know about the agent, the better off you will be.
Real estate agents are responsible for completing 90% of all transactions associated with selling a house, but only 10% of agents accomplish this. You don’t want to make a mistake when selecting an agent. Fortunately, every homeowner can find an agent that falls into that 10% using these 9 strategy tips.
1. Look up online reviews and agent licensing
If you Google the name of any agent, you will most likely find reviews that previous clients have written. You’ll probably find both good and poor reviews, so be discerning with your research.
Most states have official boards that discipline and license agents. You can check the status of each real estate agent and verify his or her credentials. Your state’s regulatory body usually posts online about any complaints or disciplinary actions taken against certain agents.
2. Check the agent’s specialty
Lawyers have specialties, doctors have specialties, and real estate agents are no different. Even the most general agent can get additional training in special areas. You can tell if an agent has taken additional classes in a certain category of real estate sales if he or she has many initials and letters after the name. Some of those designations are:
SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.
ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.
CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
You want to hire an agent that supports an organization’s code of ethics. To do this, hire an agent that is a Realtor with the National Realtors Association. You can find that designation if the “R” in Realtor is capitalized.
3. Speak with current or recent clients
Another great way to determine if an agent is right for you? Go to one of their open houses. You will see firsthand how the agent operates an open house. View how they showcase the home, talk with the seller, and probe for insight.
Ask the agent to provide a list of properties he or she has sold in the last year. You can then reach out to those clients and ask how they felt about the services provided.
4. Review the agent’s current listings
Go online to the agent’s personal website. Find other websites the agent uses for listing to see how he/she showcases other homes for sale. Would your home be showcased in its best light? Are there grammatical errors in the print? How are the photos? Do they offer virtual tours, videos?
Many buyers, approximately 90%, begin the search for their new home online! Look at how closely the agent’s listings mirror the property you want to buy or sell. Are they in the same area? Is the price range similar? And does the agent have enough listings to indicate a healthy business, but not so many that you’d be just another number?
5. Choose a “Rock Star”
Awards and accolades from certain organizations, like the local or national real estate association for example, are significant. Peer-given awards like these hold true weight. They indicate that fellow professionals have identified them as exceptional in their craft.
6. How long have they been in business?
If an agent is relatively new (been in the industry for, say, 3 years or less), he or she might be learning valuable lessons while working for you. This is not always bad since young realtors have the enthusiasm to get the job done well. If the service you need demands crucial negotiations, however, your best bet is a seasoned professional.
Ideally, you want to find an agent with a strong market presence – do others in the industry recognize the name? Is he or she well respected? Find an agent who knows the ins and outs of the real estate market and has gained valuable connections.
7. Do they know about previous homes for sale in the area and what they sold for?
When interviewing agents, ask them about the homes in your area and their selling prices. Strong agents know the area so well that they can quickly recite to you which homes are for sale in your community. They should also know which homes sold for what ($$), and how quickly.
8. How many days does a house average on market?
How long does it take an agent to sell a home? The answer is a fantastic gauge on the experience of the agent. As a seller, you want to hear a low number of days on the market, which indicates the agent can sell your house quickly for a good price. A low average also demonstrates that the agent knows how to market the listings to qualified buyers.
9. What is their list to sale price ratio?
A list to sale price ratio, represented as a percentage, is what a buyer pays for a home divided by the last listed price. Anyone can sell something by giving it away or dropping the price. A skilled salesperson knows how to get the most amount of money the market can offer to the seller. A high list to sale price ratio means that agent knows how to negotiate. That is the agent you want working for you!
We hope these 9 strategy tips help you find a qualified agent to help you sell your home! You can also use the free services of a consumer advocacy team, AdvantageU: The Home Sellers Resource, which include matching home sellers with high performing agents in their area. Visit www.myadvantageu.com to learn more!