How to choose a great Real Estate Agent.

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Crossroads Real Estate LLC

I always say, "we could have the easiest job in the world if everyone would just do their job."  That goes beyond Real Estate Agents.  To bring a transaction to a successful closing it takes a team effort.  There are normally two Real Estate Agents, one representing the Seller side and one on the Buyer's side, who may or may not be representing the Buyer.  There is usually a lender for the Buyer.  Additionally there are title companies, an appraiser, in most cases an inspector, and of course there is the Seller and the Buyer.  Each has at least one job to do.  I will concentrate on the Agent representing the Seller.

Think about this statement;  the Real Estate agent will represent you.  Which means they will be the first contact in every step of the transaction.  That should give you a clue as to what to look for in choosing a personality that will best reflect your goals. If you want to sell quick at any price you may want an aggressive Agent. If you want an Agent that will negotiate for top dollar you may want an Agent with a more persuasive  personality.  One that will be more low key, that always has a plan B and C in place ahead of time, a personality that attracts people.

Choose a personality that you will get along with.

Choose an Agent who will present your property and interests in the professional manner you expect.
What are the Agent's marketing skills?  What imaginative marketing have they used for problem listings in the past?  Does the marketing change as the days in the market build up or does the Agent have a one time marketing plan?  In other words, is marketing a one day job and hope for the best in the future?

Do not be hasty to sign with the Agent promising the highest list price.  You set the price, they sell the property.  Three major conditions will determine how quickly your house will sell.  They are location, condition and price.

Look for an Agent that is open and honest with you.  Unless your house is mutinously maintained, has all the major updates and is spotless inside and out, a good agent should provide ideas for improvements to prepare your property for showings.  Pay attention to how they handle this situation.  Chances are if they are rough and vague in their communication they will also extend this type of personality to other Agents and every Buyer.  Listen and pay attention to how they explain the defects they find in your property.  Attention to detail is an important trait in a good Agent.

After taking the Agent through your home ask them how they would show your home.  In Real Estate, Agents make a living taking Buyers to homes they have never been in before.  For most Agents the first time they see a home is when they walk through the door with the Buyer.  Agents have to train themselves to think quick and point out the best aspects of the property.  After looking at your home they should have a mental picture of how to present your home to Buyers.  Ask them to take you on a tour of your house and pretend you are a Buyer.  This will show you how quickly they are able to think on their feet.

The best Agents will ask you to go out and view other houses in the neighborhood.  This will give you a chance to size up the competition.  Think about it, this is the only way to set a logical market price on your property.  You cannot judge the condition of the competition based on paperwork.  I have never sold a single property based on looking at the computer screen or a printed copy of the spec sheet.  Every property I have sold has been viewed by the Buyer in person.  You have to walk through a property to determine the value.  Every Buyer I have worked with has viewed a number of properties before they felt comfortable with a price.  Why would you set a price on your property without having personally viewed other properties on the area?  This is what every Buyer is going to do before making an offer.

Experience may not be a determining factor when choosing an Agent.  The Internet has been the preferred method for home shopping for years.  Make sure you choose an Agent that is familiar with the use of the Internet and has control of their own web site.  Ask where they will be advertising your listing.  Many of the younger agents may be better at using the Internet because that is all they have known.  They do not have old habits to break.  Look for an Agent who has a knowledge of this new technology and a passion to keep up with the changes.  You may want to ask them how this has changed their business plan and what changes they see for the future.

Take notes.  It is easy to confuse Agents and issues.

Question the commission.  A smaller company may be able to give you the same or better service at a lower price than a larger company.  The size of the company may seem like security for some but Real Estate Agents do not pose a threat of losing your money as a company doing repairs on your home.  In Wisconsin, Brokers will not generally ask for any money up front.  In all the cases I have seen the commission is paid at closing.  The only exception I have seen is the for sale by owner, where the Brokers require an upfront fee paid for their services. 

Ask questions.  The only stupid question is the one which is never asked.   This will give you an idea of how an Agent reacts to the general public. 

One other tip.  It never hurts to pray.

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Dennis Herman Realty Home Town Realty Home Town Realty,N3091 State Rd. 67 Campbellsport, WI 53010

Phone: 414-426-1784  Fax: 888-645-2580

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