The process for hiring the right agent to represent you is the key to maximizing your sales price if you are a seller, and to weeding through all the properties for sale to find the right one if you are a buyer. Rarely do people actively look for the right real estate professional. They usually stumble over them or receive a recommendation from a friend or relative and hope it is a good recommendation. Hope in this case, is not a good strategy when you are talking about such a large investment.
Based on statistics from the National Association of REALTORS® 2011 Member Profile, over 38% of all agents make less than $25,000 per year and 21 percent make less than $10,000 a year! This is due in part to how many part-time agents there are, but it is also due to the fact that selling real estate is a very tough business. It’s difficult to get started and even more difficult to succeed.
So how do you hire the right real estate professional who is skilled, knowledgeable, an expert, and right for you?
- Hire an agent that makes their living selling real estate. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but there are very few exceptions. You need someone working for you who makes his or her living selling real estate. The more committed and motivated agents are, the harder they will work for you to represent your interests.
- Get recommendations – When you look to hire a real estate professional to represent your interests, you should not trust that the right agent will just appear. Ask your friends and neighbors. Also contact a well established and busy title company that is local and speak to an escrow officer. Ask them if they know and can recommend an excellent REALTOR. Do they know any that you should avoid? Ask for input, and consider all recommendations. This will help you make a better decision and increase the odds of getting a better agent than just randomly choosing someone.
- Hire a specialist, an expert. Not all agents are created equal. With real estate professionals, just like with doctors, there are specialists within specialties. Just as one doctor will recommend another doctor, a good agent will not hesitate to recommend another agent if he or she thinks another agent’s expertise is better suited to the task. Expertise also has to do with time in the business and credentials. Is the agent new to the business? It is not your job to help a new agent get started. It is your goal to get a great home and negotiate a great price. You want someone who is highly recommended and has been involved in a number of transactions. You want someone who can deal with complications and obstacles that are inherent in a real estate transaction and has a performance record of making and closing sales.
- Google the agent – You can find out a lot about a real estate professional by seeing what appears in a Google search. Do your homework here and you can determine if they have a website, a blog, recommendations, listings, and more.
- Do a blink test. Meet with the real estate professional and determine in a brief meeting if they are motivated, skilled, knowledgeable, professional, and make you feel important. If they pass your blink test you will know it and have confidence to move forward with that real estate professional. If you are hesitant about the results of that meeting, move on to the next agent that you’ve done your homework on. Don’t settle for second best. Hire the agent that is right for you.