- Experience Level
Sometimes you just can’t beat or replace the positives that come along with experience. Especially when buying or selling a home, you want to deal with a professional who has enough transactions under their belt to give you the confidence that you are making the right decision. If you try working with someone who has not been through enough transactions, you may unfortunately realize that your agent’s lack of experience could cost you thousands of dollars. Taking time to align yourself with an agent who has a track history of success can make your life a lot easier.
- What Feels Comfortable to You
The old saying of different strokes for different folks holds true. Although you may be working with an extremely intelligent and smart individual, you may not see eye to eye because of personality differences. Sometimes it helps to work with someone who you feel comfortable with. For example, some ladies prefer to work with ladies, or vice versa. Just keep in mind that being able to work with someone you feel comfortable with can make a big difference.
- Do They Know Your Market
You could meet with an agent who is extremely smart and experienced, but if they do not know the market that you are looking to buy or to sell in, you could be smoked. Make sure that the agent you are working with knows your area, neighborhood, and community. They need to have had some sort of experience in the area in order to form educated opinions on pricing, trends, and marketing approaches.
- Do They Have Experience in the Particular Type of Real Estate You are Purchasing
Having experience in the type of real estate you are buying or selling is about as important as having experience in your market. They need to know the insights that make the difference for your real estate type. For example, someone who specializes in condos may not know a lot about industrial real estate. Or someone who specializes in commercial may not know a ton about vacation homes in your area. Just make sure that the agent your dealing with has had experience in the type of real estate you are looking to buy or sell.
- Do They Have a Solid Marketing Plan for Selling Your Property
When all is said and done real estate agents are selling your property are sales people working on selling your property. Even if you have the most appealing home in town at the best price, if they do not have a solid marketing plan in place, your house could be sitting in limbo for a while.
- Will They Follow Up with You on a Consistent Basis
Communication is key. Even if you encounter a few setbacks in the purchasing or sales process, I have found that communication can help you feel better, especially if your agent is doing things to help overcome these setbacks. There is nothing worse than having an agent work for you that you cannot get a hold of. Make sure your agent will be able to communicate with you any updates and keep you informed of any progress.
- If You are Buying, will they Listen and do a Diligent Job to Help You Find what You Want
Sometimes clients who are looking to purchase will get lined up with an agent who just does not listen at all. Being able to work with an agent who can pay attention to what clients say, and knowing how to align their desires with potential options are all skills of a professional agent. In your encounters with your agent, pay attention to how good of a listener they are, and this can tell you a lot about how effective they will be in representing you in your next real estate transaction.
- How Good of a Negotiator is Your Agent
When they say, “You get what you pay for,” this adage could not be any more true in anything than real estate. You want to have a great negotiator on your side representing you. Beware of the agent who wants to give you part of his/her commission to get you to do business with him. Typically, if they are willing to do that it is because they do not have good negotiating skills to begin with, and will likely sell you short when he/she arrives at the negotiating table on your behalf in your next real estate transaction.
- Talk with Recent Clients
When you meet with an agent, you should ask him/her for a list of a few recent clients. You should call those clients to ask how their experience was with their agent. We even recommend that you ask them how they performed in the previously state categories. The past is the best predictor of the future.