Choosing a real estate agent is an important task. Some people rely on word-of-mouth for the search, while others comb through online reviews for potential candidates.
A simple Google search can provide tips and warnings on both how to choose an agent and what types of agents to avoid. But how much of that advice is just fluff and how much is informative?
Let’s take a look.
1. Alphabet Soup is important in real estate
Ever notice all those letters after an agent’s signature?
Things like GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute), ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative), and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) in an agent’s designation indicate the willingness and professionalism of that agent to enhance skills and develop specialized training. When coupled with the right experience, these “alphabet soups” can prove invaluable in the real estate process.
2. Make sure your Realtor has a capital R
Bankrate.com may not be the first stop I’d normally choose for real estate information, but in researching for this post, I was reminded of an interesting tidbit the average person might be interested to know. In “7 Tips for Picking a Real Estate Agent,” author Dana Dratch explains the importance of a Realtor with a capital “R”:
If the agent calls himself a Realtor with a capital “R,” that means he’s a member of NAR [National Association of Realtors]. By hiring a Realtor, ‘the most important thing you get is an agent who formally pledges to support the code of ethics …’
3. Chemistry isn’t just a class in college
We all know there are lots of people out there, with all kinds of personalities. Make sure your agent is a good match for yours. You can do this through a phone call, visit, or by calling references provided by the potential agent.
In this article by Investopedia, the author suggests asking open-ended questions of provided references, such as:
- Was there anything about selling the house through the agent that you didn’t like?
- What could the agent have done better?
- What was it that convinced you to go with this agent rather than another agent?
4. Great agents have a big bag of tricks
You want the Mary Poppins of real estate agents, with tons of both time-tested and creative marketing techniques in that giant bag of hers. HGTV echoes this sentiment in “How to Choose a Great Listing Agent“:
[Ask your agent] how has your business changed in the last five years. If she doesn’t talk about website tours and smart phones, chances are this is not a highly wired agent. While Luddites can still sell houses, it is getting harder. And if this is one of those people who doesn’t even use e-mail, you’re letting yourself in for unnecessary aggravation. And you may cut yourself off from opportunities.
5. The BEST agents won’t tell you what to list your home for, or what to offer.
You hire your agent for her expertise and attention to detail. As Elizabeth Weintraub explains in “Tips on How to Choose a Listing Agent,” one of the biggest mistakes a seller makes when choosing an agent is picking that agent based on the suggested list price for your home.
After all, some agents may use fuzzy math or ignore market trends when suggesting a list price in an attempt to get your business. The article continues:
Agents can’t tell you how much your home will sell for. That’s a fallacy. A listing agent can show you comparable sales, pending sales, and active sales. But YOU choose the sales price and a buyer will tell you if the price is right.
What information have YOU found to be most valuable in your home sales or search? I’d love to chat about your real estate needs!
Call Kathy Richey, Realtor, GRI, NCCP at 252.474.6469 today to discover how I can assist you.