Would you hire a home renovation contractor without checking their references and looking over their portfolio of previous work? Most likely not. Most individuals conduct research before hiring service providers such as roofers, plumbers, and general contractors to ensure that they choose a reputable company.
When it comes to choosing a real estate agent, however, this due diligence frequently falls by the wayside. Buying or selling a property, on the other hand, is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll make, and selecting the right individual to represent your interests is critical to getting the greatest bargain or the best return on your investment.
The procedure will go pretty smoothly if you hire the correct homes for sale in tulum. The wrong agent, on the other hand, can create havoc on a transaction and potentially cost you the sale. To put it another way, it’s a major decision.
What should you look for in a real estate agent, though? What should you look out for in terms of red flags? Here’s everything you need to know about finding a good real estate agent.
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What Kind of Agent Are You Looking For?
First and foremost: Are you looking to purchase or sell a home? This response is crucial in determining the sort of agent you require.
“Seller’s agents” or “listing agents” are real estate agents who help homeowners sell their homes. During the listing and negotiating process, these agents represent the homeowner’s interests.
“Buyer’s agents” or “selling agents” are real estate agents who work with homebuyers. During the showing and negotiation process, these agents represent the buyer’s interests. Some buyer’s agents only work with purchasers, which means they don’t list any property.
Because the terms “seller’s agent” and “selling agent” seem nearly identical, they sometimes generate confusion in the house purchasing and selling process. They do, however, represent several parties with varying interests. Seller’s agents represent the seller, while selling agents represent the buyer; nevertheless, they are only referred to as “selling agents” when the final contract is signed.
Agents with two identities
Some agents are referred to as “dual agents,” meaning they have committed to represent both the buyer and seller’s interests during the house buying process.
This is how it goes. Assume you walk into an open house and immediately fell in love with it. It’s a popular property, and you already know it won’t stay long. You haven’t hired an agent yet and have only begun your house search. The listing agent, on the other hand, is on site and would be delighted to assist you in making an offer on the home right then and there. You agree to work with her since you don’t want to wait for your own agency. In this situation, you’ve just begun a collaboration with a dual agent.
Dual agency is divisive because it requires agents to tread a delicate line and remain neutral throughout the process. After all, they’re representing a seller who wants the greatest possible price for their home and a buyer who wants the lowest possible price for the same property.
There’s also the possibility of a conflict of interest due to the commission. In a typical deal, the buyer’s agent and the listing agent share the nearly 6% commission, with each receiving roughly 3%. A dual agent keeps the entire commission, thus selling a home for the greatest price feasible is in their best interests. For the seller, this is ideal, but not so much for the customer.
Dual agency is a topic that many real estate agents are passionate about, and for good reason. Dual agents are not allowed to take sides in a transaction or provide confidential information due to legal restrictions. As a result, they earn twice as much money while giving less advise and guidance to both parties. Most of the time, the agent is the only one who benefits.
Only a few states, such as California and Texas, allow dual agency. Agents are legally required to declare their dual agency before signing a contract in states where it is permitted. Simply Google “Is dual agency legal in” followed by your state’s name to see if it is legal in your state.
How to Locate a Fantastic Real Estate Agent
There isn’t going to be an agent out there who is a perfect match for you. Even the most successful agents have drawbacks.
The top-selling agent in your area, for example, might have a sizable advertising budget and a huge team to assist clients. However, you may find yourself collaborating with a number of people throughout the buying or selling process. This agent might not be the greatest option for you if you’re searching for personalized service.
On the other hand, you might stumble across an agent with little experience but a personality that matches yours perfectly. You have a feeling that their desire to make you happy – and in turn receive some much-needed referrals and testimonials – is more essential than their experience alone.
When it comes to picking the ideal agent for your case, there are a lot of factors to consider. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
1. Make a short list of potential agents.
With a few keystrokes, you can easily find dozens to hundreds of agents in your area thanks to Google. A real estate website, on the other hand, will normally provide more thorough information on agents.
Zillow’s Agent Finder is a great location to start your search because it shows you a comprehensive list of area agents along with client testimonials and current listings. The option of recent listings is quite handy. To begin, you can use it to locate agents who have recently assisted sellers or buyers in the area you’re considering. It also allows you to compare how each agent photos and markets their listings if you’re selling your house. Is each listing, for example, professional and appealing? Is there a video tour available?
2. Pose a lot of questions
After you’ve narrowed down your list of agents, the next step is to meet with them in person. Yes, you can do an interview over the phone, but meeting in person is preferable.
A face-to-face meeting helps you to get a better sense of who this individual is, their values, and whether their personality would mesh well with yours. You need to feel comfortable talking with this person because they will be helping you through a difficult and financially significant procedure. You’ll also want to know if they’ll tell you the truth rather than sugar-coating terrible news. You also need to know that your core values are the same.
Begin with the following broad inquiries:
- Do you work full-time in the real estate industry?
- How long have you been a licensed professional?
- Is the National Association of Realtors (NAR) something you belong to? (Adherence to a strong code of ethics and additional training are required by the NAR.)
- Do you collaborate with others? If that’s the case, will I be mostly working with you or with someone else?
- How much of your business is generated by word-of-mouth?
- How many current clients do you have on average?
- What is your preferred method of communication? (For example, your agent may prefer short texts to provide information to you, whereas you prefer a phone call.) Make sure you’re on the same page here, because strong communication is essential for a productive working relationship.)
- Have you or your agency ever had a client file a complaint against you? If that’s the case, how did you address it?
- Have you received any professional honors?
- What type of contract do you have available? What if I’m dissatisfied with our working relationship?
- What do you enjoy most about your job as a realtor? What do you despise the most?
These questions are an excellent approach to start a discussion. Depending on whether you’re buying or selling, you’ll need to ask more questions.
If you’re selling a house, ask the following questions of potential agents:
- This year, how many sales did you make?
- In my neighborhood, how many properties have you sold? Were they around the same price as my house?
- How many of those residences sold for the list price or close to it?
- Do you require a mortgage company’s pre-qualification or pre-approval before displaying homes?
- What is the cost of your services? What other real estate costs will I have to pay? (Remember that real estate commissions are negotiable.)
- What kind of marketing plan do you have for a house like mine?
- Do you hire a professional photographer or stager for your home?
- What should I do to prepare my home for sale or improve its curb appeal? (They might have some remodeling ideas to help you raise the value of your home.)
- Do you have any open houses planned?
- What is your estimate for the time it will take to sell my house?
- Who is my ideal customer?
Consider the following questions while purchasing a home:
- How well-versed are you in the locations or communities in which I’m interested?
- Is there anything going on in this neighborhood or in this area that I should be aware of? Will these adjustments have an impact on housing prices now or in the future, if so?
- When are you available to do house tours?
- How frequently will you email me fresh listings that match my criteria?
- Can you recommend other professionals, such as a home inspector, that I’ll need?
- How long does it take you to complete a normal purchase?
- On average, how many homes do you show buyers before they make an offer? (This is an important fact since a smart realtor will know exactly what their clients want and will need to see fewer homes before finding the perfect match.) For everyone concerned, this saves time and energy.)
- Do you show up for every house inspection? (Agents who attend home inspections have the opportunity to ask the home inspector thorough questions, which can help them negotiate a cheaper price.)
- For the previous ten transactions, what is your sale-to-list ratio? (The gap between the sale price and the list price will give you a decent idea of how good of a negotiator this agent is.)
3. Speak with previous clients
After you’ve had face-to-face interviews with multiple agents, it’s critical to speak with some of their previous clients. Request that each agent furnish you with the contact information for at least three clients with whom they have worked in the last year.
Consider posing the following questions to these clients:
- What was your overall impression of this agent?
- What was your favorite aspect of this agent? What did you find the least appealing?
- How did your real estate agent market your home if you sold it? Do you think it was successful? How long did your house sit on the market before you sold it?
- Do you believe the realtor who helped you buy your home was willing to show you every property you were interested in? Did you get the impression that they understood what you were looking for in a home?
- Were they prompt in returning phone calls and emails?
- Is he or she a good listener?
- What was the list price and ultimate sale price of your home?
- Do you believe this agent got you the best deal?
4. Check Their Licence
It’s difficult to believe that someone would falsely claim to be a certified real estate agent, but it does happen. Fortunately, customers may quickly determine whether or not an agent’s license is valid. A searchable database maintained by the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) allows consumers to verify any agent’s license or registration.
Working with New Agents: Advantages and Disadvantages
If you’re thinking about working with an agent that has little or no experience, you should learn more about their current circumstances and long-term objectives.
Many agents, for example, begin their careers selling properties on the side while working full-time. While there’s nothing wrong with it, you should check to see if this agent has the time and flexibility you require. Consider the following:
- Will you be able to respond calls or emails during the day, or will you have to wait until the evening?
- Will you just be able to display houses on weekends?
- Do you have a mentor to whom you may turn if the negotiation process becomes challenging or unfamiliar?
- Have you recently attended any seminars or conferences? Which ones, if any, are you talking about?
Keep in mind that novice agents will lack the experience of more experienced agents; real estate is unquestionably a “learn as you go” industry. This inexperience can be a disadvantage at the negotiating table, particularly in complex agreements. Are you okay with becoming a part of this agent’s training?
New agents, on the other hand, are ravenous for both clients and experience, and as the adage goes, “the hungry wolf hunts best.” An inexperienced agent will almost certainly go out of their way to fulfill your demands and make you happy, and they will almost certainly have plenty of time to devote to you one-on-one. Before signing a contract, consider what you want and what you’re comfortable with.
Look for the following red flags:
According to ARELLO, there are around 2 million active real estate agents in the United States, as reported by NAR. That implies there are a plethora of excellent agents available. It also means you’re more likely to come across a few rotten apples.
Keep a look out for these red signals to ensure you locate the perfect agent for you.
1. They want to sell your house for a lot of money.
When it comes to selling a home, the first list price is crucial to a successful sale.
At the very least, you should plan on interviewing three listing agents. Each of these agents should be able to tell you how much they want to sell your house for. This list price is determined by a variety of factors, including your location, square footage, recent comparable sales in your region (also known as “comps”), and the age and condition of the home.
Because all of the agents you interview will be utilizing the same information to price your house, the estimates you receive should be quite similar. Be wary of an agent that offers a much greater price for your house than the other agents you met; this could indicate inexperience, greed, or both.
Many potential buyers won’t even look at your home if the price is too high, either because it’s out of their budget or because it’s simply too pricey for what they’ll get. Your home will sit on the market for months longer than a home with a more competitive starting price, and it may even sell for a lower price than it would have with a more correct starting price.
2. They don’t communicate well.
The most common criticism from people working with real estate brokers is a lack of communication.
In the house purchasing and selling process, clear and timely communication is critical. To effectively assist their clients and guarantee that this intricate process comes to a good conclusion, real estate agents must be excellent communicators. You may have to communicate with this person on a daily basis in some circumstances.
Examine a prospective agent’s emails to you, marketing materials, and website or blog thoroughly. Is their writing legible and error-free? Is it simple to comprehend what they’re saying? Did they respond to your call or email promptly when you first contacted them? Do they take the time to listen to what you’re saying during the interview, or do they cut you off and start talking?
Poor writing and communication abilities could indicate that the agent will fail to communicate vital information promptly or clearly, or that they are simply too busy to work with you. In any case, it’s time to move on.
3. They Aren’t Inquisitive
Great agents pay attention to their clients. They recognize that understanding what you want and need is crucial to a successful working partnership.
A good agent will take the time to learn more about your ambitions and desires. If you’re purchasing a house, for example, a competent realtor will want to know if you’re an investment or searching for a long-term residence. A competent agent will inquire about your timeline, pricing flexibility, and what you’re looking for in a partnership if you’re selling.
These are just a few examples; the idea is that a smart agent will ask inquiries to figure out exactly what you want. If the agent remains silent, find someone else.
4. They Have a Low Commission
Real estate commissions are paid by the seller and are usually included in the home’s list price. Typically, commissions are split between the selling agency and the buyer’s agent at a rate of 6%.
Be wary of any agent who offers you a commission of less than 5%. They may be attempting to attract your business by offering you a deal, but this ultra-low commission will most likely frighten away other agents who are unwilling to share such a cheap charge.