Tips for selecting real estate agent
Sunday, October 15, 2006 10:29 AM CDT
As the housing market increasingly shows signs of slowing, and as record numbers of real estate agents enter the market, selecting the right agent is more important than ever, experts say.
In fact, even the National Association of Realtors reports 74 percent of sellers and 64 percent of buyers choose the first agent they meet, which may not necessarily be a good thing.
In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, Americans spend more time trying to pick out the right appliances for their home than they do in selecting the right real estate agent to help them buy or sell a home.
“Based on today’s market conditions, choosing the right real estate agent can play a huge role in determining whether the buying or selling process will go smoothly or not,” said Lane Barnett, president and chief executive officer of GMAC Real Estate. "The key to avoiding frustration - and not wasting time and money - is doing your homework up front to select an agent with the experience and chemistry to best meet your needs.
“The agent you choose should be someone who can offer great advice, counsel and expert customer service with attention to details to avoid problems or surprises,” Barnett said. To help consumers avoid the heartache and headache of choosing the wrong agent, GMAC Real Estate offers the following timely tips for selecting the right agent.
Avoid the temptation of letting family members or friends “give it a go.” Yes, it would be nice to help a loved one or friend get their foot in the door and a commission in their pocket, but you’re dealing with possibly the largest transaction you’ll ever make. You can’t afford to take chances.
Avoid part-time agents, those who practice real estate in their spare time. Real estate transactions are time-consuming, complex endeavors; you need someone wholly committed to your transaction and their career.
Find agents who specialize in your neighborhood and your specific home value range. Interview agents with specific experience that matches your needs and make sure to ask whether they have a comprehensive customer satisfaction plan in place. Ask these agents what their customer satisfaction rating is and whether they will put into writing - up front - what they will do for you.
Ask agents for a comparative market analysis: You need to be sure the agent you choose does his or her homework and fully understands the nuances of your market. Ask each agent for a detailed explanation as to how they arrived at the suggested list price for your home, so you’ll have the confidence of knowing it is realistically, and competitively, priced to attract potential buyers.
Ask each agent you interview to share their “list price versus sales price” percentage versus the market average; ask them also to disclose their listings’ average “days on the market” versus the market average.
How your home is marketed will, of course, play a key role in its sale. So, carefully compare the proposed marketing plans for your property/home that each agent presents to you. Also, be sure to pay extra attention to how your property will be promoted online. Why? Because, according to the National Association of Realtors, 74 percent of all potential homebuyers today use the Internet as part of their real estate transaction.
Ask agents for references from their last three clients. If they hesitate, then maybe they’ve said a lot without saying a word.
Finally, don’t forget to factor in the personality “click factor” - that is, make sure there’s chemistry, and that the agent you select is someone with whom you’ll enjoy working.