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Consider Hiring Junior Realtors

While most people advise buyers and sellers to choose the most successful agent in their area, this strategy can sometimes lead to suboptimal outcomes. First and foremost, a highly successful agent will likely have clients that are selling or buying properties in a much higher price bracket than yours. That means that there is very little chance that you will be their top priority. Even worse, since they’re very successful, a small difference in price will have very little impact on their bottom line. That means they may not push as hard as less experienced agents who need every penny, and more importantly need to build their reputation.

Since hiring brand new agents comes with even more risks, instead you should focus on hiring a junior or newer agent on a top producing real estate team. This way you’ll get the best of both worlds, someone who is very eager to build a great reputation and fight small battles, and someone who has access to expert advice and guidance for pricing, negotiations, and closings.

Don’t Hesitate to Get a Different Realtor When You Need To

I currently represent a social service agency in finding rentals for their clients. They found me through my church. They continued to use me because I fit. Often, people or businesses feel they are “stuck” with an agent. But you are not. Just like an employee, an agent/broker should prove themselves. And if they fall short, then they should be ‘fired’ and another agent/broker can be found. Let’s face it, real estate agents are a dime a dozen. Sometimes you have to weed out the bad seeds in order to find your gem.

Test Their Knowledge of Commercial Real Estate Loans

When searching for a real estate agent or broker, be sure to test their knowledge of commercial real estate loans and the loan process. Unless you are so wealthy you can buy a property with piles and piles of cash, you’re probably going to need a mortgage. Generally speaking, the mortgage process is the most time-consuming aspect of buying property. So, for buyers and sellers alike, hiring a real estate agent who has a deep understanding of the mortgage process can make all the difference. A real estate agent who understands the home loan or mortgage aspect of a transaction can help expedite the process and avoid any bumps that may come up along the way. And before you shop around for a property, be sure to sit down with a mortgage professional to determine how much you can actually afford.

Ask Your Potential Realtor for A Specific Selling Strategy

Make sure you get the specifics! A lot of Realtors’ sales pitches is all about experience, knowledge, and service. While these are great things to have, they are pretty soft benefits, making it difficult to quantify (verify) them and differentiate from one Realtor to the next.

When looking for a Realtor, ask them what specific actions they will take and what specific marketing plans will they execute in order to sell your home. If putting a sign in the yard and putting the listing on the MLS is the entirety of the plan, then they aren’t really doing much. Look for a Realtor that is going to put in the work necessary to get the best outcome.

Choose a Realtor Who Understands Your Industry

Look for a realtor who’s familiar with the unique needs of your industry, and forthcoming with bad news. Biomedical startups, for example, might need to ensure the property has adequate plumbing and fire suppression – which your realtor could get the previous occupant to pay for, but only if your realtor knows it’s something you need. A business taking over a space whose previous tenant was a dry-cleaner must ensure that their property isn’t contaminated, or at least get a commitment from the prior occupant to pay for the clean up. Otherwise you can get saddled with huge legal expenses under environmental protection laws. A realtor who warns you about defects in a property – i.e. it’s contaminated, or lacks plumbing – is a realtor you can trust. A realtor who says every property is perfect for your needs is either not telling you the truth, or has no idea what businesses in your industry need.

Find a Realtor Who Can Protect You From Litigation

People hire Realtors because they want results. But, most people stop there and do not look into what may be equally important. It is easy to find someone who sells a lot of properties, or is successful with tenants. It is harder to find a Realtor who will be able to protect you from involvement in litigation after the transaction. The number 1 complaint (and the one most damaging to reputation) with Realtors after the transaction occurs when one of the parties is sued, or needs to sue. Find a Realtor who: 1) works at the profession full time; 2) is connected with a “hands on” broker; 3) has a well-recognized real estate lawyer on call, to answer questions and draft language before a problem arises; 4) has a team of inspectors on call, and 5) is respected by other professionals in the area.

See How Well They Can Interpret Market Information

The best way to evaluate a potential Realtor is their ability to interpret meaningful real estate data. For agents, real estate data isn’t difficult to find. The key to success is how well they are able to analyze and interpret available data for their clients. For example, automated valuation models (AVMs) confuse many consumers. The number is often based on incomplete data and public records. Agents armed with the ability to interpret complete market information have an opportunity to showcase expertise in offering sellers a true market value of a property.

Visit Local Universities With Real Estate Programs

Visit or contact local universities that have a real estate program. Although it seems weird, this is perhaps one of the most effective ways to find a trustworthy broker. A lot of agents and brokers take advanced courses, whether for career development purposes or for “that piece of the paper”, and so it’s definitely a good place to start with. In addition, if you happen to have a few buildings in mind (i.e. wanting to rent from there or buying from there), definitely visit the buildings and talk to the receptionists or tenants in the buildings to get agent/broker recommendations.

Find Someone With Local Experience In The Property Type You Want

Selecting a broker that works with small business owners looking for 10,000 sq ft or less is difficult. With a smaller pool of commercial brokers available, recommendations from other business owners in the area and from chamber of commerce and attorney contacts is likely the best way to find a competent professional. Real estate is local and knowledge is specific to property type. Leasing an office is different than leasing a shopping center or industrial building. Finding someone with local experience in the property type you seek will get good representation.

Ask Them How Many Properties They Own

When looking for a realtor to rent your property or to use when buying an investment property, the best thing to do is flat out ask them how many properties they own. You want to make sure you’re working with someone who physically owns rental properties, not just sells them. That one question will knock out about 70% of realtors. Most agents that do rentals are new to real estate, and their brokers recommend rentals because they’re quicker and less knowledge is needed to rent than to purchase. It’s a hit and run transaction for them, but you’re the one stuck with a bad tenant.