How well do you know your REALTOR®? Does it matter?
Lately when I meet new clients I don’t spend much time talking about myself; they already know where I’m from, what I like to do, and how long I’ve been practicing real estate. Last summer I was showing houses to a couple I had just met. We were walking up to the front door of the second house when out of the blue he said, “So what made you join the Army?”
As you can imagine, there was more than a slight hesitation as my mind raced to figure out how he knew I was in the Army when I hadn’t had a chance to say a word about it.
Then it hit me: I’d been Googled.
This is becoming more and more common with the people I meet. Consumers today are doing their research online long before they make decisions about everything from cars to lawn fertilizer, and real estate is no different.
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 90% of home buyers used the Internet as an information source in 2009. Since you’re reading this article you probably fall into that 90%. While you’re looking up addresses, neighborhoods, and interest rates, let me encourage you to follow the trend and add REALTOR® to your research. In my experience, hiring the right one can mean the difference between closing and not closing.
As an example, consider this: Just about anyone can show you houses or list your house for sale. Closings come from successful negotiations. Your agent may know the market well, but how does he handle conflict? Gathering background information on your agent can help you determine that. Things can get pretty hairy during the course of a real estate transaction. Great agents don’t get caught up in power struggles. They stay focused on everyone’s common goal: closing.
When you hire an agent, you’re hiring a representative of you. In other words, you’re agreeing to have that person act on your behalf. She becomes your face, your voice, your attitude, your brain. Everyone involved in the transaction forms their opinion of you based on the actions of your agent. If your agent is professional and courteous, people think you are too. If not, well, they think either you’re not or you haven’t done your research. And they’ll treat you that way.
Besides Google, a good place to start your agent research is Zillow’s agent reviews. The feedback is pretty basic, but at least you’ll know if anyone is willing to vouch for the agent, and it gives you a way to contact the reviewers if you want to ask specific questions.
As you plan your next move, increase your chances of achieving your goal by hiring the agent that can get you to the closing table. Do your research… arm yourself with a great REALTOR®… and start packing!
For more help in selecting the right agent, call me at 843-870-0890 or see these posts: Today’s Real Estate: Longer Contracts, More Work. Better Hire a Pro, and Is Your Agent Working FOR You or AGAINST You?