Choosing your Real Estate Agent
Having a knowledgeable Realtor is an advantage to buyers and sellers. You are looking for a person that is a specialist in your market. Do not hesitate to ask for their statistics. Where is their office located? Are they familiar with the neighborhood that interests you? How many homes have they bought or sold there in the last 12 months? How many properties do they currently have under contract? How many homes have they sold that are similar to yours? Do they specialize in a certain price range?
A Realtor with consistent sales in a community has market insight that can save you money. Your Realtor should be a walking, talking neighborhood directory of pertinent, and useful, information. They should be able to assist you in locating service technicians, a great salon or a pet-sitter. They should know the neighborhood’s history, the trends associated with it and where the locals grab a beer on Friday. They should be able to tell you what the average home sold for in the neighborhood and what comparable homes are listed for. They should be able to explain discrepancies in value.
You should look for a Realtor who has extensive information about the neighborhood: what school districts are good, zoning restrictions, the local density of sex offenders, which hospitals are close, commuting alternatives, recreational options, proximity to shopping, which neighborhoods are up-and-coming and which are rife with crime.
Top agents utilize technology to its fullest to help them stay informed and to communicate with their clients. E-mail, smart phones, electronic newsletters, websites, digital photography and video allow agents to share properties that they’ve previewed, provide feedback and keep clients updated on developments.
The internet is a powerful resource for buyers and sellers. The National Association of Realtors reported that 50% of home buyers look for property on the internet. If you are a seller, you need to have your listing and photos online. If you are a buyer, you need to search the MLS and FSBO listings. All real estate transactions are funneled through technology in some capacity.
What is your Realtor’s marketing plan (newspapers, magazines, a sign in the yard, online listings, etc.)? Check how your Realtor ranks in search listings for your neighborhood via one of the online search engines, i.e. Google, Realtor.com and Yahoo. Look at their listings for other properties. How easy is it to find their listings? How easy is it to navigate their website? Are the properties presented in an aesthetically pleasing, professional manner?
It is preferable to find a Realtor that has a support staff and extensive resources at their disposal. An agent with a network of professionals at their disposal can provide you with choices regarding a good handyman, insurance agent, mortgage broker, home inspector, real estate attorney, etc.
It is helpful when an agent has a licensed assistant, because you will often need to talk to someone when your agent isn’t available. The assistant should have knowledge of the pertinent facts related to your transaction. A Realtor with help will be able to handle your transaction more efficiently. They have more time to work and sell for you.
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