It seems like a daunting task, hiring a real estate agent.
After all, there are over 2 million active real estate licensees in North America alone.
That’s a whole lot of options.
With so many to choose from, how do you go about shortlisting the best candidates? What criteria and credentials are most important? What type of questions do you ask? How does the hiring process work? Where do you even start?
Just thinking about it all feels exhausting.
Fortunately there are a few tips and tricks for finding someone to help you buy or sell your property.
Utilizing these techniques will help you navigate the real estate roadmap – landing you closer to finding a real estate agent, and closing the deal.
There are a few necessary things to consider, and an appropriate course of action to follow, to find the agent that is right for you.
Do your research
Type, price and location.
These are the three most important criteria when seeking out a real estate agent. Combined, they are also the simplest way to narrow down your initial search.
Ideally, you are looking for someone who specializes in buying or selling your specific type of property, handling properties within your price range, and who is actively engaged in your region.
The agent’s current and past listings should mirror this sentiment, so you know you’re dealing with someone who has adequate and relevant experience.
Real estate agents also hold designations, similar to professionals in other industries such as doctors or lawyers. Make sure to select a designation that suits your needs. Does the agent specialize in land, residential, or commercial properties? Single-family homes, condominiums, or office buildings?
Ultimately you want your agent to have a strong market presence.
A proven track record is important. Past successes such as awards and accolades also carry some weight.
You can gather all of this information online, through MLS listings, media endorsements, or through word-of-mouth.
Compiling a list of agents tailored to your property type, price and location is an effective way to funnel an ocean of real estate agents into a pool of candidates.
Referrals are invaluable
Take the time to ask trusted family members and friends about the real estate agents they have worked with in the past.
If the agent has produced positive results for them, chances are, they’re more likely to produce positive results for you too.
A respected agent, with positive relationships, is someone you want on your side.
Interview the agent
This is the stage of the process where you really want to hone in and narrow down your candidate list to approximately two or three substantial options.
It’s important that you interview all of them; look at it as if you’re conducting a series of job interviews. Meet with the candidates face-to-face and really get to know them.
Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of them.
Here are a few starting points:
- “Tell me about the other properties that have recently sold in my area.”
This is a simple tactic to uncover how knowledgeable an agent is about your location. Remember, you want to hire someone who specializes in handling properties in your specific region.
- “What is your unique value proposition?”
Commonly referred to as a UVP, a unique value proposition details the unique qualifications and value an agent brings to the table. Ensure their UVP is comprehensive, and includes thorough and accurate comparative market analysis. A knowledgeable agent will be well-versed in these topics, and should be able to simplify industry-exclusive terminology into a language you can easily understand.
- “Where do you live?”
While this may seem like an invasive question, it is also an important one. Who better to hire than an agent who works and lives locally, and understands the community’s pulse? They’ll also be better equipped to advise you on local market conditions. The agent’s exact address is not an important detail, but their general area of residence within the city is useful. They’ll have access to local resources, a network of connections and relevant insider knowledge.
Check the numbers
Ask your prospective agents for a list of the previous deals they’ve closed.
The objective in doing so is to compare the listing’s asking price versus its actual sale price. Which agent has delivered the most wins, financially, for their clients? An agent with a solid history has a more positive future forecast.
The next number you want to uncover is the agent’s hiring cost, how much they’ll be charging you for their services.
Investigate their fee structure and how it fits compared to their unique value proposition. You are looking for a fair and appropriate balance between an agent’s cost and their value.
Lastly, ensure there is an exit strategy built into your contract.
For example, at Knight Realty we have a cancellation guarantee if clients are unhappy with our services. A good realtor won’t need to lock you in just to keep your business. A good realtor will keep your business, and possibly even land an endorsement, through good work.
Trust your gut
The final consideration to make is more of an instinctual one.
Make sure you feel comfortable with the agent, and make sure you can trust them.
A busy agent carries a sense of legitimacy, but on the other hand, you also don’t want someone who is too busy and won’t be able to give you the attention you require.
Review things such as:
- Did the prospective agent do their homework for you? Were they thorough, diligent and attentive?
- Was the prospective agent prepared and professional throughout your interaction?
- Were they reliable and dependable in their communication?
Buying or selling a property is a hefty undertaking, and your real estate agent will be your right-hand in guiding you through this process.
It’s worth taking the time to make an informed decision; be diligent as you weigh your options and go through the process.
Consider the best practices outlined here, and the right real estate agent will make this milestone a positively memorable one for you.