Friday, February 20, 2009

What I would look for when choosing a real estate agent

I’ve worked in real estate since I was 15 years old. One of the main reasons I wanted to open my own agency at the age of 21 was that I was aware that not all real estate agents are equal. Some are dreams, some are nightmares and many are in the middle. I get asked all the time – “how do I find a dream agent to sell my home?”, so this is what I’d look for in trying to find my dream agent.

The dream agent shows me the price
An agent who can SHOW me why they’re saying they can sell my home for a certain price. The way they would need to show me would be by showing me what comparable properties had sold within the past 3 – 6 months (I’d want to see addresses, photos and sale prices). Even better if they have personally or at least their company have been responsible for some of these sales.

The nightmare agent tells me the price
I don’t want an agent who:
• Finds out and then tells me the price I want to hear
• Finds out the other agent quoted prices and then quotes a selling price higher to get the business
• Plucks a price out of their head
• Bases their price on properties that are not comparable to mine

The dream agent’s marketing is first rate
I want to look at your website, your property presentations on real estate portals (like, your brochures, your sign boards, your newspaper advertisements and see:
• Consistency of branding
• Quality
• Readability
• Descriptive eye catching wording

The nightmare agent’s marketing isn’t flexible
I want options and I want to know why you recommend that marketing option for my property, not a one size fits all approach.

The dream agent talks with me
Their presentation is question based and they take time to find out about me and what I’m looking for. They know their stuff, but they find out what areas I’m most concerned about before launching into a recorded message-like presentation.

The nightmare agent talks at me
Their presentation is said at me and they speak more than 80% of the time.

The dream agent is a natural negotiator
I can test this out by asking them to drop their commission (if they don’t negotiate hard for their money, what are they going to do when it comes to negotiating for mine?). I can also test their negotiation skills if I’ve ever bought from them before – did they get top dollar out of me then?

The nightmare agent is a natural regurgitator
The other agent offered you 20% off? Well we can offer you 25%... The other agent said they’d do that? Well I can do better.

The dream agent cares
I can test this out by showing up 10 minutes before one of their scheduled open homes and watching them arrive, set up and conduct the open. I can test it by taking note of any promises they make (they’ll call me Monday, they’ll find that information out by Wednesday) and see if they live up to it.

The nightmare agent talks at me
The nightmare agent screams in at the last minute for an open home, doesn’t tell me their name and doesn’t follow up.

The dream agent has fans
And they’re more than happy to let me know about their fans by showing me testimonials (lots of glowing ones) and by allowing me to contact people they’ve sold houses for in the past month.

The nightmare agent has people fanatically trying to track them down
(to complain)

The dream agent remembers me
Long after the sale.

The nightmare agent develops acute amnesia
As soon as they get paid.

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