While it may look cushy and easy, being a real estate agent involves more than just knowing the combination to a lockbox. It also means having sales and market experience and expertise, and the skills to negotiate and close a deal – all while making their clients’ interests their top priority.
With so many smiling, determined faces staring back at you from bus stops, billboards, yard signage, television and more, how do you pick the best real estate agent?
Here are a few best practices so you can make sure your every need is met – and then some.
Make sure your real estate agent is local. You need someone with knowledge of the neighborhood and surrounding areas who also understands its housing market, inventory, schools and more. Your BFF from high school may be a rock star agent in a town 30 miles away – but they probably shouldn’t be your agent.
Make sure you’re compatible with your agent. This requires some introspection and the ability to get a sense if you two will vibe well – or not. You must be compatible with whoever you pick. If you know that you’re someone who needs answers quickly, consider hiring someone who has a support team to meet that particular need.
Make sure you get referrals. In business as in life, it’s all about who you know. And when it comes to making a huge purchase or entrusting the sale of your home to someone, you want to be sure that the agent’s been vetted, preferably a few times over. And referrals are a big measure of how successful an agent is. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, 64 percent of sellers who used an agent found them through a referral by friends or family and of those, 70 percent said they would use that agent again.
Make sure you remember that sometimes friends, family and money don’t mix. A real estate transaction will likely be the biggest financial transaction of your lifetime – leaving no margin for error. Deciding against choosing a friend or relative may make Thanksgiving tense but imagine how much worse – and long-lasting – that tension will be if a deal goes south. So hire the most qualified person to represent you because if you don’t, next Christmas – and every Christmas thereafter – could be awkward, to say the least.
Make sure you don’t hire a ‘yes’ person. The best listing agent is not the one who tells you what you want to hear. Everyone selling a home wants top dollar, so it’s recommended that potential sellers vet at least three agents before picking one. And be careful to not pick the agent who suggests the highest listing price – without supporting that price point with local market data.
Make sure you hire a closer. There are career real estate agents and then there are those known as real estate ‘hobbyists’ – those who get a real estate license to represent themselves in a transaction, those who do it a few hours a day while their kids are in school, and those who do it as a second job to supplement their day jobs. While ‘hobbyists’ can be closers, be sure to ask prospective agents how many transactions they closed in the previous 12 months, making sure it’s at least one a month.
At DeLeon Sheffield Company, we’ve earned each and every client with our localized market experience, referrals, unparalleled customer service and our ability to get deals done. We will partner with you, every step of the way, until the ink is dry and – most importantly – you’re completely satisfied.
Because at DeLeon Sheffield Company, ‘We’re More Than Realty; We’re Family.’