Wednesday, August 1, 2018 / by Robert Woessner
Choosing an Agent
Choosing the best real estate agent can be a problem. A friend might recommend an agent because that agent was able to sell his or her house at twenty percent more than he had hoped. Then there is also that neighbor of yours who always reminds you that he is a real estate broker.
There is also your brother-in-law who always insists that were it not for his cousin he would never have sold his house for the amount he sold it. All these are bits of advice from people who have dealt with one real estate agent or another.
Therefore, deciding on which agent to use is a real headache. It is important to understand that choosing the best agent can make the difference between selling your vacant house or still owning this house. Selling a house is one of the most expensive and mind boggling activities that you might ever have to undertake in your life. It is also a very emotional exercise because many people grow attached to properties they have owned for a long time.
Having a good agent can help you through that process, and you will eventually complete the transaction a happy person. The main question that remains is how to weed the bad agents from the good ones.
How can you get an agent who has enough time on his hands to answer some of the crucial questions that you might have regarding the sale? The best way to start the process whether you are buying or selling the house is to interview the agents that you might consider using.
The meeting does not need to be a formal one, and you can take the agent out for a cup of coffee and through the conversation learn a lot about the agent.
Later on, you can place follow-up phone calls which will give you a better understanding of how each agent operates. This will also give you time to know how the agents treat their clients. Through the informal interview, you will have the chance to understanding each agents' selling record and how the agent can help you sell your house.
It is also advisable to ask the agent how he would react if all does not go well in the middle of the process of selling the home. The point is to select an agent who is confident and who you can create a rapport with. The last thing you want is to have an agent who is a know-it-all because when all is said and done, no one knows everything.
When you are selling a home, and you do not have an agent, the deal might not go as you expected because there are very high chances that the buyer of your house will most likely be represented. However, if you are not represented by an agent, it is possible to have dual representation. That means that the agency representing the buyer might also represent you as well.
However, many real estate agents have always challenged the idea of dual representation. It is impossible for an agency to represent the interests of both parties since the buyer wants to pay as little as possible while on the other hand, the seller wants to net as much money from the sale as possible.
Therefore, the most logical thing to do for both parties is to have separate representatives. There is always a tendency for the sellers or buyers to gravitate towards agents with whom they are feeling most comfortable with. This might be as a result of shared interests such as football or the opera. There are several categories of agents.
There are those agents who are referred to as hand holders. These are the agents who are very good at anticipating the needs of the client.
They are good at catering to people who need a little more attention through the machinations of a real estate deal. Someone who is patient and a good listener can play that part, be it for a jittery first-time buyer or a high-strung owner who needs frequent calming down.
The other class of agents is the authority agents. While most people do not like being told what to do, some buyers and sellers respond better to a broker with a firm and definitive style.
Someone who knows the ropes and exudes confidence because of that knowledge can have that kind of authority. A seller can spot an authority agent by listening to some of his comments such as he has sold several homes just like the one you are selling in the last six months.
Then there is the local expert. These are the brokers who usually do not have an online presence. Their focus can be said to be very narrow. These agents are often referred to as building experts.
You can find these brokers by looking up the building websites as well as asking the owners or the doormen. The other group of agents is the team. Most real estate agents start out as individuals.
However, as the business continues to expand, these agents usually take in partners so that they may be in a position to take in more business. Some teams list as many as 9 or 10 agents, and clients may be disappointed when the marquee name who heads the team does not have as much time for them as they had hoped.
People who should choose a team are the kind of people who want a cast of characters to be able to handle all questions and appointments quickly. The final category of brokers is the legacy brokers.
Many brokers build their business through their networks of acquaintances, but some maintain those relationships so well that they wind up representing their friends, relatives, and children of early connections. One can get legacy brokers by scouring through their social circles.
So why do you need an agent? Some people think they can buy a home without an agent, but this is a challenging market with lots of moving parts.
You need a broker to help you manage it. You need someone who is invested in educating you about how to buy or sell a home and can help you interpret the local market while giving you some nitty-gritty advice like making sure you have some liquid cash available before you start looking at homes, so you don't have to wait to make an offer.
Buying a home is a four-part process, including looking for property, arranging finance, negotiating a contract and finally getting to settlement. An agent can provide advice and insight during each of those phases. Brokers can sometimes show buyers properties that they did not think they want to see, but work for them.
Brokers have the knowledge and connections to push an offer or to make sure it is written strongly enough to compete with other offers when there is competition.
When there is no competition for a property, an experienced agent can make recommendations about how much to offer formulated on evidence of the actual home value. Experienced, full-time agents see so many properties that they can help buyers understand the value in different homes and be realistic about the condition of the property and potential repair costs.
As a buyer and if you are looking for a Sale by Owner, it is even more important to have an agent representing you because you need to know whether the house is priced appropriately. If you plan to buy a new home, it is recommended to work with an agent who is experienced with new construction and familiar with local builders to represent your interests.
The sales agent, on-site works for the builder and your own agent, can help you with negotiations, inspections and choosing options.
In many states, agents are expected to explain agency rules to buyers at their first consultation, so they understand when and how their interests are being represented. Many agents work as buyers' agents and as listing agents for different transactions; some work with a team on which some agents work only with buyers and some work only with sellers.
Before signing a buyer-agency agreement, be sure you understand your responsibility under the contract and how either you or the agent can cancel the agreement. Some possible questions to ask an agent during an interview include:
· How long has the agent been in the business?
It is worth noting that there is nothing wrong with working with a new agent.
The new agent might even prove to be more useful than an agent who has lots of experience.
The determining factor here is access to agents who can mentor you as you go through the process of selling your house.
Newer agents may have a lot of time on their hands to serve your interests.
· How many transactions do you handle per year?
This is supposed to give you an idea of how fast the agent is capable of getting a deal.
A competent agent who has some experience in the field of real estate should have a respectable number of sales under his belt.
However, do not rate the agent according to the transactions per year, as you should also note that more transactions do not reflect the agent's capability.
An agent may have a lot of transactions all of which left the sellers or the buyers deeply unsatisfied.
· What is your experience working with first-time home sellers?
This is supposed to give you an idea of how the agent expects to handle your business.
If you think that the agent might not be resourceful as you thought, it is advisable to move on to the next agent.
· Can you fully explain the selling or buying process?
Any real estate agent should be able to explain the complete process of selling or buying a house.
If you happen to notice that the agent does not have a firm grasp on the idea of selling or buying a house, there is a possibility that that agent might land you in trouble in the long run.
· Can you explain the state, federal and local programs for first time home sellers?
This is a very important interview question. A real estate broker should understand all requirements whether federal, state or local.
The importance of this question is to ensure that all legal documents are properly crafted.
The agent is supposed to advise you on the point at which to hire a lawyer to handle the legal work.
The agent should even recommend the best lawyer suited to your needs.
· Which neighborhoods are your specialties?
This is also of importance since it will help you as a buyer to know whether the agent is capable of selling your house at the right price.
· What is your price range?
Some agents are very expensive.
Hiring such agents might be a problem for the seller because in the end the seller will have to pay the agent a huge chunk of the money received from the sale.
· Do you any references that you can refer to?
Asking for references is vital. It will help you understand how the agent treats his customers by talking to people who have dealt with him previously.
It will also give you a grasp of how capable the agent is in handling the transactions.
· How often can I expect to hear from you when am selling the house?
When you put your house on sale, it is important for the agent to communicate with you regularly.
This will give you an idea of the number of offers coming in as well as the amount of money potential buyers are willing to offer.
In the end, it will help you figure out the amount of money you can expect from the sale.
As mentioned earlier, choosing a real estate agent to help you sell your home is a headache to most people.
In any town, city or community, there are hundreds of brokers with impressive credentials.
In each state, there are different laws and these laws differ from one state to another.
If you happen by any chance to choose the wrong broker, then your chances of selling your house successfully drops.
There are many signs that you can look out for that can make you aware that you have chosen the wrong agent. Here are some of the mistakes that sellers make when choosing real estate brokers.
· Choosing a broker without asking for his references
As mentioned before, asking for a list of references and testimonials from the agent is one of the first considerations that should be on your mind.
This is perhaps the best way you can really understand how the broker works and how well he performs at his job.
Any self-respecting real estate agent should have a long list of references.
· Choosing a "yes" agent
There are always "yes" people in any profession.
These are people who are usually not ready to speak their mind and they usually go with the flow.
Choosing an agent who is not prepared to speak his mind and is always not ready to offer suggestions is a bad idea.
The agent is the one who should be offering guidance, advice, and direction to the seller.
Such an agent can even tell the homeowner that the house is ready to be listed even before checking whether there are some preparations that need to be done.
· Choosing a member of the family or a friend
There are some people who go for agents with whom there is some kind of a relationship.
The agent might be a friend or a family member. However, if this said agent will take months to sell your home and it will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to sell, then it is advisable to select a different agent.
If your friend or relative is an agent, it would be wise to explain to them that you will give them a chance by interviewing them along with the other potential agents. If the friend or relative proves himself or herself in the interview, then you can hire him or her.