Despite a lack of housing inventory and fierce competition in the real estate industry, there are a lot of people who still want to be Realtors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in real estate are expected to continuously grow by 6% through 2026. That means seasoned Realtors and hard working rookies will compete for your business. So how can you find just the right agent for your specific real estate needs?
Recently thirteen members of the Forbes Real Estate Council shared some tips homebuyers or sellers may want to heed to ensure the agent they choose is the right one for them.
Don’t just read an agent’s bio and choose someone from a search engine or website. Bios, while helpful, do not tell you everything you need to know about a real estate professional. While looking for a Realtor online is not uncommon, forgoing a one-on-one interview is not the best course. Would you hire someone based on merely receiving their resume and cover letter? Just as important is the firm they represent. Don’t hesitate to ask probing questions such as what that firm required of them before hiring them and what compelled them to go in real estate in the first place. While it’s understandable you may prefer a seasoned professional, don’t discount the enthusiasm and commitment a savvy newbie (with nothing but time on their hands to serve you) might offer as well. Often they have top-producing mentors there to help them every step of the way, offering you an entire team of people at your disposal.
Your agent does not need to be your best friend, but he or she does need to address realities while supporting your buying or selling goals. If you are a first-time buyer or seller, find out just how much hand-holding a potential agent might offer you. No question should be considered too dumb. Your agent is there not only to represent you but educate you as well.
These days homebuyers or sellers can spend even more time with their agents aided by Skype, FaceTime or text messaging even when personal meetings are not feasible. Your agent or his or her executive assistant should have time for you when you have pressing questions or direct you to someone who can help. Questioning them over how often you should expect them to be in touch, how quickly they respond to texts and voicemails, etc., is never out of line. While agents are only human and most will inform you of any unavoidable absences that might occur on their part, they are in an industry that has no real set hours or days off.
Local agents serving your target area are the most privy to market data that matters to you, since many know facts about neighborhoods and homes you may never see in print. They can explain the provenance and potential of a particular area — not just a momentary glimpse.
And how about their negotiating skills? How does an agent handle a bidding war, which is now more the rule than the exception to it? If you are a seller, how involved would they be if you were readying your property for sale?
The best Realtors are those whose best interests are your interests — not the amount of commission they will receive or even how much they’ve spent of their own money to either market your home or tour you around. And if you must decide between spending more or less, a good agent will not try to influence your decisions. Instead, he or she should lay all the facts on the table, Ben Franklin style, and permit you to make decisions base on your own priorities, offering as many useful disclosures as possible in the meantime.
Let’s face it. If you were hiring someone to do work for you, you’d want to see what others say about them, so don’t settle for a few published testimonials on their website. An agent should never take offense you ask for names and numbers of past clients and call one or two. Google an agent and look for any challenges against their licenses through the local Department of Real Estate website.
Most of all, go with your gut after you’ve done all the vetting recommended here. If an agent seems to talk too much about their abilities and past successes instead of focusing on your needs, don’t let him or her suede-shoe you or make you feel as if your concerns are trivial. They will become YOUR employee, and you deserve the kind of communication and professionalism you would expect from anyone else who would go to work for you. Active listeners address your wishlist of important items (yes, you should compile one). If you find that list being ignored in subsequent experiences and conversations, keep looking.Source: Forbes, TBWS
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