* The Agent brings the market to you. The market brings your price.
* The right Agent is the one who knows the market and can get you the best
price possible - not the one who promises you the highest price just to get you
to list with them!
Many of the same questions, hesitations and strategies connected with seeking
out professional assistance in any field - whether you're looking for a doctor,
dentist, lawyer or accountant - come into play when you're selecting a real
Some people find an agent through a family member or friend. This is often a
reliable approach. But you might not always find the most compatible assistance
this way. And in a transaction as important and intensive as buying and selling
a home, that can be critical.
A referral from a family member or friend doesn't guarantee a perfect match.
Just think of something as simple as a movie or restaurant recommendation. Your
close friends rave about a new Chinese food place downtown - so you check it
out. Could this possibly be the same restaurant they were describing? Mediocre
service. No chopsticks. Bland flavors. It's the same restaurant. Same cook. Same
waiters. Just different perceptions.
Regardless of how you get an agent's name, it might be worth interviewing at
least a couple before you make a final decision - or at least arming yourself
with some criteria to go over with any agent who has been recommended to
A few things to look for:
- If you're looking for an agent to list your home, be wary of anyone who
suggests they can get an unreasonably high sales price. An agent might use a
high listing price to secure a contract, only to seek a lower price later,
after little traffic is generated at the initial price level. Meanwhile,
you've lost what can be the most critical time period in selling a home - the
first weeks immediately after it's listed.
- Check on experience and productivity. As with most professions, experience
pays in real estate. Experienced agents know the market and the marketing
process. They'll have the best chance of quickly and smoothly helping you to
buy or sell your home.
The number of transactions an agent is handling monthly or yearly is going to
give you an indication of how committed the agent is to the profession. Is the
agent a part-timer who's just dabbling in real estate sales - or is the agent a
full-time professional whose livelihood depends entirely on an ability to
successfully and repeatedly close real estate transactions?
- If you're a buyer - does the agent offer buyer agency? More and more
buyers are deciding they want full contractual representation on the same
level as the seller. Be sure to discuss buyer agency with any agent you're
thinking about working with.
- Does the agent know the market? Is the agent active in soliciting business?
- Is the agent part of a national network? This can be especially important
you're selling in one city in preparation of moving to another. Your
selling agent can refer you to a professional, compatible agent in your
destination city - and keep in close contact with that agent so both your
selling and buying efforts are closely coordinated.
- And a final point: Does the agent seem primarily interested in sharing
expertise and market knowledge in an honest and straightforward manner? Or
does the agent seem more interested in telling you what you want to hear - or
spend a lot of effort trying to market additional products and services? The
worst time to secure the services of a "yes-man" or an agent who seems to have
a bit too many irons in the fire is when you're entering a transaction
involving something as expensive as your home. You need straightforward,
reliable information - even if it's not necessarily flattering regarding the
home you're selling - or very encouraging regarding a home you think you might
want to buy.