Buying or selling a home is an exciting experience for anyone. There is the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the deal. The whole process is enhanced by a good real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of the market. But with so many brokerages and agents out there to choose from, finding a perfect fit may be more of a challenge than you expected. Working with a top agent who is experienced and trustworthy can go a long way in ensuring your property sells at top dollar, or that you buy for the best price in the market.
To help with the selection process, 14 members of Forbes Real Estate Council weigh in on how prospective buyers or sellers can make sure the real estate agent they’re working with is the right one for them. Here is what they had to say:
Choose The Person, Not The Experience I am a firm believer in choosing an agent who works for you and with you. Don’t choose an agent based solely on experience. Although it’s good to have, it’s not everything. You will be spending a lot of time with that agent and you need to mesh. Choose someone relatable and real. Choose for you, not for the house. Choose someone good at talking and negotiating.
Remember Chemistry Is Key It's best to interview at least three agents before picking the one you work with. Focus on neighborhood expertise; look for hyperlocal. Ask yourself, "Is their marketing about them or their properties?" Also, can you trust them, are they honest? Chemistry is the key.
Seek Referrals From Other Homeowners Despite the technology that seems to take over much of the searching for a home, the right real estate agent is still a human-to-human choice. Referral is best. There's no bigger compliment to an agent than a referral from a past client. Ask homeowners who they would recommend. If you know the area you want to purchase in or sell your home in, there will be an expert in that area.
Find Someone Who Has Your Best Interests At Heart Ask yourself, "Does my real estate agent have my best interests at heart?" Be honest and transparent about what you’re looking for, and if an agent isn’t bringing you the right options, it’s likely they aren’t looking for houses for you but rather to benefit themselves. Ask questions upfront and don’t be afraid to move on to someone else if the relationship doesn’t feel right.
Go With Your Gut Feeling Your brain uses logic and emotion when making a decision, and that specific feeling you get when doing so is your intuition — your gut feeling. If you're interviewing a real estate agent for the job, first look to see that they do a lot of business and have a lot of raving fans. Second, go with your gut feeling. If it feels right, he's the guy or gal for the job.
Find An Agent You Can Trust As the client, you begin the dialogue — but pay close attention to the agent or broker and how he/she listens and asks YOU questions. Most successful agents have access to the technology it takes to make your property seen or to find options for purchase, but it takes a human being to understand and work to achieve your specific goals. Take time to find a human you respect and trust.
Look For Passion, Conviction And Honesty Look at the agent’s work. The easiest and most valuable way is to review how they're marketing other properties. Look at their listing materials, website, brochures and signage. Pay attention to their personal appearance. Look for passion, conviction and honesty. You want your agent to tell you what it's going to take to get your home to sell faster and for the best price.
Make Sure They Offer Adequate Support Be sure to do your research first. Are they supported by a team? An agent who has support is able to offer a high level of customer service to every customer. Most agents work with several clients at a time. The logistics of buying/selling a home are complicated, and it's easy to miss something or fall short without a support staff.
Check If They Mitigate Risk Find a real estate agent who is honest about the risks of buying or selling. Throw out the flattery and fluffy agents. You want someone who is realistic and can proactively mitigate risk. When interviewing agents, pay attention to those using real data in their answers when it comes to investment analysis, neighborhood-level market performance, and long-term impact of your decision to buy or sell.
Look For Strong Core Values Whether it's business or pleasure, finding a good person all comes down to core values. Core values are important because you want to work with someone that plays by the same rules you do. For example, if you are an honest person who tells the truth, would you not want someone to tell the truth to you?
Find A Compassionate Agent Who Understands You Let’s face it — buying a house is a stressful task, especially if you are facing a divorce, having a baby, mourning the death of a spouse, etc. You need an agent who is patient with you and your circumstances. Interview an agent or broker and see if they have the same emotions, outlook on life, personality, as you do.
Track Record And Inventory Great real estate investment sales brokers never show up out of nowhere. It takes a long time to build a track record that attracts quality inventory. With single family houses, reciprocity is the rule, but in commercial it is definitely the exception. You need to be talking regularly with the top brokers in your target property type, size and region to get the best deals.
Scour The Web For Info Just because you have a friend who has a friend who knows an agent doesn't mean you should necessarily work with this person. If you are considering an agent, Google them. Yelp them. Check out their website. Interview them. We are lucky to live in an age when there is so much information at our disposal, so use your resources.
Find Out Who Is In Their Sphere of Influence Ask the agent you are interviewing about his/her database and center of influence. Aside from the types of clients they work with or the type of deals they specialize in, you want to get an idea of the sort of people they’re acquainted with. What you’re mainly looking out for is if they know other business owners in your area. Those businesses may not have been their clients, but having a relationship of some sort with other business owners will allow your agent to acquire valuable information on what they can can do to best serve you as a client.