It can be a challenge to find the right real estate agent. How do you know if you've found the right one? What qualities should you look for when selecting an agent? We've put together the ultimate list of 7 critical qualities your real estate agent should possess.
This sounds basic, but you'd be surprised by how many people market themselves as "agents" when they don't hold a valid, current real estate license. Licensed agents are held to the standards and responsibilities governed by the state's real estate commission. The laws for real estate vary by state but make sure that the person handling your sale is a qualified and licensed real estate agent in good standing.
How can you check? Ask for his or her agent number. Then you can double check the name and agent number on your state's real estate commission website. (You can find your state's real estate commission website by typing in "real estate commission" and your state on your favorite search engine.)
2. Readily Available
Real estate is an unpredictable business, and you don't want to lose out on a sale or closing on a deal because your agent wasn't immediately available when someone showed interest.
Consider hiring an agent who works within a team. If your agent isn't immediately available to respond to inquiries for some reason, another agent on the team can step in and not leave you hanging without an agent.
Great agents should be comfortable with constant communication and prompt replies. They should be willing to communicate via phone, text, or email, even after business hours.
Look for an agent who has a successful sales record in your area. Markets vary considerably and great agents know the ins and outs of your particular city or town. Even if an agent has years of experience, she or he may not have the local knowledge to be successful in your particular area.
Also, make sure that your agent specializes in the type of property you're handling. If you're buying or selling a residential property be sure to work with a residential agent. Your agent needs to be knowledgeable in the type of real estate you're dealing with because not all markets are the same.
4. Backed by Local Data
Your agent should know how to retrieve localized data and use it effectively. Local data points, including buyer demographics (who they are, where they are) and housing trends (top regions, average value of similar homes, home improvement spending), can be used to price your home competitively, market appropriately, and negotiate intelligently.
5. Well Connected and Reputable
Look for an agent who already has a list of prospective buyers or who works within a well-known and well-connected real estate agency. The more people and agents that your agent knows, the more likely they'll be to sell your home quickly.
Similarly, a well-connected agent can promote your listing to their network of out-of-state and international buyers. People buying from afar are more likely to purchase a home if it's recommended by someone whom they know, like and trust.
In other words, the size and quality of your agent's network can greatly expand your pool of potential buyers, by putting the listing in front of out-of-state and international prospects.
And don't forget to read the testimonials from previous clients before hiring an agent.
When it comes to selling your home, you want your agent to be brutally honest about what your home is worth and what you can do to raise the value of your home. Don't take it personally if your agent tells you to rip out that shag rug or repaint the neon lime walls in your home. They know what sells.
Also, your agent should be transparent about how he or she determined the price. You should be able to see which resources were used to estimate the value and how the amenities of the listing impact the price.
7. Tech Savvy
Gone are the days of people finding home listings through the newspaper or real estate advertisements. You need your agent to know the ins and outs of selling a home online. From Zillow and Trulia and every other real estate website in between, they need to have a strong online presence to sell your home.
Most buyers won't even come to see a home if there isn't a great online description, accompanied by both images and videos of the property. Look at your agent's portfolio of homes for sale to see how they represent their other clients' properties. You want an agent who creates HD videos and high-resolution images for prospective buyers to see.
Your real estate agent can make or break your home buying or selling experience. Always meet an agent in person before hiring one and ask tons of questions to make sure he or she has qualities of a great agent.