Face it, when you list your home, you want it to be with someone who is as motivated to sell it as you are. If you call a couple of agents to interview them, the scripts are pretty much the same. I'm No. 1, I work for the best company, I've been doing this for 10,20, while you were still a toddler, years, and the list goes on.
So, how do you know who you are really dealing with? Check them out. I know that I do. Every single transaction.
- Check the status of their license: Most states have a resource for that. In California, go to http://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp. Type in the agents name. Click on all the links. Also check out the license of their employing broker. What you are looking for are any adverse actions taken against either the agent or broker.
- Social Media: Facebook (business or personal), Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, among many others. See how they present themselves.
Give them a call: Don't tell them you have a property for sale, or wish to purchase one. Ask a general real estate question. Then watch for the following:
- How do they answer the phone? With their name? Does it sound friendly and approachable?
- Do they listen to you, or are they busy interrupting you to try and control the conversation?
- If they don't answer, leave a message, just a general real estate one. See how long it takes them to respond. Is it right away, next day, not at all?
- If they happen to be busy, do they text stating that they will get back to you later? Of course that won't work when contacting someone via land line.
- Email them: Same as with the phone. See how quickly they respond. If they happen to be on vacation, the auto-responders of today let you know when they will return. If that is the case, see if they have given a secondary point of contact.
- Ask them to email you something: Perhaps a list of lenders, or insurance companies. Do they do it?
- Real Estate Websites: Do they have a presence? Can you find them on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com. Make sure to read reviews from past clients.
- REALTOR® or Real Estate Agent: Keep in mind that REALTORS® are subject to a higher code of ethics. However, that is not a guarantee of ethical behavior, although the consequences are more severe for REALTORS®. In addition, you do not have to be a REALTOR® to behave ethically.
Look up their previous listings: Check for the following:
- Spelling, capitalization, and grammar throughout the listing.
- Please.........don't let it be in all caps. Most people interpret that as shouting. I feel that it's just lazy.
- Do they paint a picture through words, or is it just a rattled off list?
- Click on the pictures and check out the quality. (My pet peeves are open toilets, pictures of corners, blurry pictures, and those that are sideways.) Are the subtitles under the pictures correct? Even better.....it's mid July and the main picture has snow on the ground. Pictures need to be current and relevant.
- Is there a virtual tour? This is typically expected on homes in the mid to upper price range.
- How many pictures are there? Only one or two? Find another agent. Note: Some MLS (Multiple Listing Services) have limitations on how many pictures are allowed. There should be at least 10.
Overall, you are looking for someone who presents your home in the best possible light. That first impression and those first 30 days are critical to the sale of your home.
Remember the 80/20 rule which is that 20% of agents do 80% of the business. Actually, I think the figure is a bit higher and closer to 90/10.
Coming to this blog in the near future............Sellers: How to Avoid $$$ Expensive Requests for Repairs