How to Fnd an Agent

How to find an Agent

How to find an Agent
Here are some helpful hints from experts in the field to expedite the process.

Here are some helpful hints from experts in the field to expedite the process.

Finding a knowledgeable real estate agent to list your property or assist you in finding a new home can be a daunting task. Not because there is a lack of real estate agents to choose from, but rather the exact opposite. There are so many agents in the housing market these days that the selection process has become much more difficult. So, with an abundance of agents to choose from, what is the best way to go about finding the right one? To guide you through the process, we asked the experts on how to find an agent to best suit your needs and to clearly define what an agent’s job entails. Here are a few helpful hints from the experts to aid you in your search for the right real estate agent to handle your next real estate transaction.

CREDENTIALS

Real estate agents must be licensed in the state where they practice. An agent can be licensed to do business as a “Realtor®”. This is an important distinction because Realtors® belong to the National Association of Realtors and are held to a strict code of ethics. Some other designations under the

National Association of Realtors are: GRI, Graduate REALTOR Institute, which indicates that a realtor has taken at least 90 hours of specialized real estate related courses, and CRS, Certified Residential Specialist, which is awarded to realtors who completed advanced training in listing and selling, and met rigorous production requirements.

FIND A LOCAL AGENT

You want to find a real estate agent who knows your local market or the area where you plan to buy a new home. This is critical to the selection process because “real estate is extremely geographically sensitive” says Ray Brown, author of House Selling for Dummies. He suggests asking an agent for a list of all the properties they have sold, reviewing the list of properties, to fi nd out where they are located. If all of the properties are outside of your area, then this would suggest they don’t know properties in your area. You want the agent you work with to have expertise in the local market. You might also want to check the local real estate magazines like “PREMIER”, newspapers for advertisements or conduct an online search for agents in a specific area.

WHAT IS THE JOB OF A REAL ESTATE AGENT?

Before you begin interviewing agents, it is a good idea to have a general understanding of the services real estate agents provide to their clients, the cost associated with such services, and the scope of the work involved in buying or selling a home. Clark believes that when evaluating the job of a real estate agent, the most important thing to consider is their seasonality. “An experienced real estate agent provides a range of services, but his or her interpretation of the real estate market along with expectations may well be the most critical and useful benefit or value to buyers and sellers.

Referrals

TOP AGENTS GET AT LEAST 75% OF THEIR BUSINESS THROUGH REFERRALS

Gather referrals from your neighbors, friends, family, co-workers and anyone else in your local area. Real estate agents depend on word of mouth for business so it will behoove you to tap your resources and network for recommendations. Bud Clark, CBR – Luxury Specialist, at Willis Allen Real Estate says “the preferred process and often fool-proof way to find an agent, is to ask a trusted friend, relation or business associate who has had a recent real estate transaction. If it was successful, ask if they would use their agent again. If so, contact that agent and introduce yourself, your intentions, and ask if they wouldn’t mind if you asked a few questions.

After all, customer satisfaction is the number one priority for a real estate agent and the top agents get at least 75% of their business through referrals.

INTERVIEWS

Dan Barry, the President and Broker of record, and the co-owner of BARRY ESTATES, Inc. recommends the following screening process:

1. How long have you been licensed in California?

2. How long have you worked in this area?

3. I would like to see your sales record for both last year and this year.

4. I would like the names and phone numbers of your clients that you represented in your two most recent sales.

5. Have you ever been sued, etc?

6. Do you show your listings, or do you have an assistant, or someone else, show them?

7. If you are preparing to sell a residential property, ask for a written comparative marketing analysis.

8. Ask for the number of houses on the market in your area.

9. Ask for a list of the residential properties that have sold within the last year.

10. Ask for both the agent’s and the company’s marketing program.

11. What is your impression of how well the agent presents himself/herself in terms of appearance, communication skills, confi dence, and knowledge of your market area?

If after the initial screening you receive a favorable fi rst impression, Clark advocates scheduling a follow-up meeting at the agent’s offi ce to reaffi rm your initial instincts and evaluate the offi ce. If possible, ask if the agent’s Offi ce Manager or Broker could be present for the meeting. Overall, Clark says “the most critical element in selecting an agent is agent’s level of EXPERIENCE.”

While searching for a reliable, knowledgeable, and well-respected agent can be challenging, it does not have to be overwhelming. Use these helpful hints from the experts to expedite the process. But keep in mind that the best agent for you doesn’t necessarily work at the largest brokerage, closes the most deals, or makes the most money. The best agent for you is an experienced professional who will listen to you, act in an ethical manner and knows your specifi c market. sdp

Pricing your home to sell

AN EXPERIENCED AGENT CAN HELP DETERMINE A REALISTIC SALES PRICE

Pricing a home can often be perceived as one of the most diffi cult aspects of selling a house. There are varying philosophies and approaches one can take, but according to Clark it boils down to one simple principal:

While involving a number of factors, pricing a home is always centered on the most basic principal of supply and demand, but with two crucial components. First the supply or availability of similar properties, AND second, the availability and supply of qualifi ed, ready and willing buyers.

In addition to the principal of supply and demand, Clark reiterates the importance of having an experienced, seasoned agent. “An experienced agent can fairly and accurately help determine a realistic sales price whether selling or buying a property, based upon the preceding principal coupled with an evaluation of the prevailing real estate market place.”

San Diego Premier