Top 5 Tips for Selecting the Right Real Estate Agent

Selecting the right real estate agent is imperative when it comes to the business of buying or selling your home.  keys_istock_000001558516xlargeWith so many brokers out there, it can be a bit daunting.  Don’t leave one of  your biggest life decisions to chance.  Below are five things to keep in mind when choosing the right real estate agent.

MARKET KNOWLEDGE
Regardless if you are buying or selling a home, it is important to find a real estate agent who knows the area you are dealing with.   Consumers tend to gravitate towards referrals.  This can work, but if the Realtor isn’t familiar with your neighborhood, it may be more of a challenge for the broker to work efficiently. Someone with a hyper-local knowledge of a city or suburb knows the ins and outs of transaction trends. She or he is intimately aware of the sales history on a given block, subdivision or town, and can negotiate the best deal.

PROVEN TRACK RECORD
Real estate agents are first and foremost, sales people.  Many can talk a great game, but do they have a history to back it up?  It is important to ask a prospective agent for a list of previous transactions over the past couple of years.  This data is readily available and any top real estate agent should happily provide it. Not only will you want to review annual volume, but also days on market, and how often a listing had to reduce price.  If you see a red flag, ask the real estate agent about it. Sometimes there are circumstances out of his or her control, but collectively, if you see a trend, you may want to move along.

BROKERAGE
For the most part, you will not be working with the real estate agent’s company directly.  That said, all brokerages are not created equal. Ask yourself – Is it important to have a large corporate brand backing your listing? Or, do you prefer an independent outfit that focuses on just a few areas around town.

PROMOTION & MARKETING
Many home sellers just assume their property will be featured online and everyone will see it.  This, unfortunately, is not the case, especially if you are selling a luxury listing and need to attract a more discerning clientele.  Real estate agents who are backed by larger brands are able to cast a wider net.  Larger brokerages also have in-house marketing resources, which in turn facilitate the agent in advertising and promotion.  Regardless of how much you are selling your home for, don’t assume your online listing is getting any eyeballs.  The right real estate agent will be able to provide you with data and performance reports.

PERSONALITY
Despite an outstanding sales record and being backed by a trustworthy brokerage, it is important you get along with your real estate agent!  Client-service should be the cornerstone for any top real estate agent.  Does he or she listen to your questions and respond in a timely manner?  Can your real estate agent explain the home buying or home selling process in a language you can comprehend?  Remember, you will be spending a LOT of time with this person.  Don’t leave one of the biggest financial decisions of your life to just anyone.

Overall, just do your homework and try not base your decision on emotion.  This is a business transaction after all!  You should interview at least 3 potential agents and let them know you are doing so.  Sometimes, knowledge of competition can work to your advantage!

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