Choosing the right real estate agency is a lot like choosing a dating partner. You want to find an agent you like, but also someone you can trust. It’s part chemistry, part character and credentials.
Just like finding a good partner, you don’t want to pick the first agency you see. The best approach is to ask friends and family to recommend agents who work in your target area. Find out their experiences. Ideally, you’ll discover certain names continuing to crop up.
Once you have an agent or two in mind, call them up and ask 5 specific questions:
1. “How long have you been selling homes?”
The gold standard is that you should choose someone with at least five years experience. “Just because an agent hasn’t been in business that long doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t do a good job,” says Greg Solfanelli, Director of Marketing & Consumer Experience with Realty Network Group. “But, an agent with some experience has developed the skills to negotiate deals in a wide variety of circumstances. This is the type of person you want on your team when obstacles arise.”
Also, ask the agent in what types of real estate they specialize. If the bulk of their business is in multi-million dollar estates, perhaps they aren’t going to have much time to spend with a first-time buyer.
2. “What are your credentials?”
All real estate agents should be licensed by the state in which they do business. A large percentage of agents belong to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and, as such, must follow the NAR’s code of ethics.
Above all, make sure to choose a “full-time” agent. What we don’t mean is someone whose only job is real estate, because quite frankly there are many “part-time” agents in the field who accomplish much more business than certain full-time agents. Instead, we’re referring to the agent’s passion. Maybe they have another job, but they eat, speak and sleep real estate, and it shows! Buyers need someone who is aware of listings as soon as they come on the market. Sellers require an agent with the availability to show their home on a moment’s notice.
3. “What areas do you cover?”
Nothing beats someone local. An agent who knows the local schools, commute times, where new businesses are locating, etc., can be a huge asset to you. Furthermore, a neighborhood expert can be even more of an asset to homebuyers and sellers living in particular neighborhoods. They know what’s on the market and often have inside information about what’s about to come on the market.
4. “How many homes have you sold in the area, and what’s your list-to-sale ratio?”
Ask for the number of homes the agent has sold in your target neighborhood, including both the list price and final sales price. “An agent’s success as a negotiator is often judged by how close they can get to full list price,” says Mr. Solfanelli. “You want an agent who has a track record as a top negotiator.”
5. “How will you communicate with me?”
In a world full of noise and lack of communication, this is arguably the most important question to ask potential real estate professionals. Things move quickly in real estate. It’s important that you establish early on with your agent how often you’d like to be contacted and the best method for keeping you updated.
The agents at Realty Network Group know how important it is to showcase your home to buyers. For valuable tips on staging or on any aspect of buying or selling, count on Realty Network Group’s expert knowledge and advice.
If you’re interested in getting a FREE market analysis from a Realtor® who knows your area, visit RealtyNetwork.net or call 570-585-6880 today.