So the time has come for you to hire a professional to help you find a new house, sell your current home, or manage your investment rentals. Now what? If you don’t already have a good working relationship with a real estate professional, agent, or broker, then you’ve probably found yourself at the whim of Google, Yelp, or your mom’s hairdresser’s best friend’s cousin (and let’s face it, the last option has just one too many apostrophes to even consider a reliable source).
Being in real estate nearly a decade (which really isn’t that long considering some of my wiser counterparts), I come across this question quite often: How do I choose a real estate professional? There are so many factors to consider and facing the market for the first time can be very overwhelming (the jargon alone gets me every time… and I work here).
Below are my “go to” answers for my father-in-law, best friend in Louisiana, and even your mom’s hairdresser’s best friend’s cousin regarding “How to Choose a Real Estate Professional” – from one Real Estate Broker to you:
- Get to Know Your Area
Who is working in your neighborhood? Who is managing in your area? Who is selling houses? Call and talk to those agents. Find out their price and what services they offer for their fee. What’s your gut instinct when first talking with them?
A lot of neighborhoods have niches and certain agents know who is buying, who is selling, and who is renting in your area. I am a huge fan of having fun and getting along with your professional. An agent might be good at closing deals, but your experience might suffer if you can’t understand them or can’t get a hold of them.
I am a Realtor member, but I can’t ignore the value of the Zillow agent pages in your local area. It’s helpful for the general public to read and get a feel for who is working in your area. You can find it here: http://www.zillow.com/agent-finder/real-estate-agent-reviews/
- Ask Questions
Remember, you are interviewing them for a job. Don’t let them ask all the questions. Make a list of things that are important to you. How long have they lived in the area? How long have they worked as a Real Estate Professional? How long have they been at their current office? Do they work as a Real Estate Professional full time or part time? How many listings do they have? How many escrows have they closed? Do they have an assistant or will you be working directly with them? Ask them what they know about your house, your street, or your neighborhood. Whatever questions you have, ask them!
The answers to these questions will be valuable to you and you can assess the information to help you choose and hire the right professional for you. Don’t be afraid to tell them you are interviewing other agents to find the right fit for you. It takes all sorts of personalities to make the world go around.
- Get Reliable, Trusted Sources
Who does your professional work for? Are you hiring an agent who works for a broker or are you hiring the broker directly? How closely will the broker be monitoring the activities of their agent? Make sure you know who you are working with and who they are working under. Accountability is key in any industry.
Before you sign, verify their license status at the California Bureau of Real Estate website.
You can also find a member of your local Realtor board by checking the California Association of Realtors website.
In closing, sometimes the new professional in town will work harder for you than the one who has been working the market longer. Don’t discount a newer agent or broker because of their lack of longevity. Just make sure you do your homework and know what you are getting when you hire them. Also, don’t be afraid to work with a small broker office. Or the other side of the coin; an agent in a bigger firm. If you still have questions, I would be happy to help, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Bethany Luchetta, Feel Good Property Management Broker