“Not EVERY AGENT is for EVERY CLIENT.”
You’ve probably seen an add on your social media feed for a house and clicked on it to look just for fun. You’ve done a search in the “home search engine that shall not be named” (Hint: It’s probably starts with a Z* or a T*) and had the option to contact an agent. Maybe you were driving by a house and called the number on the sign. Hopefully it was the Agents number instead of the brokerage number.
You probably know that at least 80% of a real estate agents business comes from referrals, and you probably know at least 2 agents. So how do you decide which agent to go with? Here are four tips.
- Interview a few of the agents you know.
- Ask your close friends who’ve they’ve worked with.
- Go with your gut.
- Be sure to look at your contract paying close attention to the expiration dates, and commission.
- Interview a few of the agents you know, and ask them what their process is like. If they are doing their job right they will ask you to sign a representation agreement during the interview. Let them know you still have one agent to interview, what day you’ll be deciding, and expect a follow up call. Don’t make any decisions before you’ve asked around about that agent.
- Ask your close friends who’ve they’ve worked with and what that was like. When I was a massage therapist I had the saying “Not every therapist is fore every BODY”. It’s the same with real estate. Not every agent is for every client. Here are some questions to ask.
- Did the agent push for a great price? You want a negotiator in your corner!
- Were they quick to return messages and generally available? Agents can’t always answer the call right away, but if they return your messages within 12-18 hours they’re doing a pretty good job. Unless they’ve warned you ahead of time, or have a family emergency it shouldn’t take more than 24 hours to return messages.
- Were they respectful of their clients time? I once heard about an agent that that was calling and pushing for closing paperwork to get signed, while a loved one was literally breathing their last breaths. Yes, the agent knew this was happening. You want someone who will get the job done, but also know when to back up a little bit.
- Did they maintain the clients privacy? You want an agent whose going to keep the private details of why your moving and what your earning just that… private. In fact it is the agents fiduciary duty to do so, and anything different can result in disciplinary action.
- How busy are they? If your agent is closing more than 35 homes a year, they probably need an assistant, and if they have one then you’ve probably found a pretty great realtor. There are a lot of details to manage in the home buying process. While 35 homes a year only averages out to about three homes a month, it’s more work than it sounds like, and comes with some sacrifices if not managed well. Remember, homes take an average of 30 to 60 days to close, so the agent might be working 4-6 closings at one time, and showing homes for several more. If they don’t have an assistant you may want to choose an another agent with an assistant, or one closing around 2 homes a month on average.
- Did the client feel like a number, or an important client? You want an agent that’s going to get to know you, get to know your needs, and get to know your plans for the future. The last thing you want is an agent that’s pushing numbers, rather than taking care of individuals and families.
- Go with your gut. While one agent may be mentioned several times in your conversations with friends, your gut might not feel right about that person after your interviews. Go with the person that feels right, not just the one that looks right on paper. Some times it comes down to chemistry. You’ll be talking to and working with this person A LOT over the next few months and you want to be sure you will mesh well.
- Be sure to look at your contract paying close attention to the expiration dates, and commission percentages. When selling a home, the commission is negotiable to a certain extent. Price fixing is illegal and while a majority of brokerages have a set commission fee, you are welcome to shop around. Watch for unusually high, or unusually low commissions. Keep in mind that a lower commission fee may not necessarily be better, and I’ll talk about why in another blog post.
Ready to start looking for a home? Try searching here
Note: Home search engines like the ones mentioned at the beginning of this post, benefit from the work of real-estate agents listings, then charges agents huge amount of money to buy your lead back.