The coastal real estate season has already begun and there is a sense of optimism that this will be a strong year for home ownership. If you plan on being active in the real estate market then it is time to play catch up because the starting gates have already opened.
Let’s make no mistake, if you are selling or purchasing a home you are competing against others and like any competition you want it to end successfully. This would normally be the point where we talk about how important it is to use a real estate professional and the value they bring with their local market knowledge and industry insight, but I want to push the thought a little further while knowing that this may make some agents uncomfortable. So be it.
For many of us our home is our highest valued asset and it continually surprises me what little attention is given to the qualifications of the person you entrust to manage this money. Yes money, after all debts are paid you will hopefully walk away with a check that reflects the amount of equity you had in your home. The important question then is- are you doing enough in the beginning to help you maximize what you get in the end?
I have heard it said…“Realtors are a necessary evil… one step above used car salesmen…they do nothing to earn their commission” and I do concede that this characterization is occasionally deserved. However, it is important to bring to light that it is consumers in the driving seat and perhaps more can be done to evaluate the credibility of the agent who is trying to earn your business.
So in an effort to tilt the scales in favor of a better image I would like every homebuyer or seller to consider asking three simple questions when first meeting with an agent:
- Are you a full time or part time agent? – The answer to this question provides a clear indicator of how accessible the person will be to you and how responsive they will be to others when assisting in your home sale or purchase. This is not a reflection of quality but a simple gauge as to how much time they can devote to you.
- What have you done lately? – If you are working with a buyer’s agent ask them to provide you with recent client testimonials and reviews. Investigating what others have to say will be useful in understanding the level of service you can expect. If you are working with a listing agent ask them to share the results that they have had. Knowing the Realtor accomplishments will help you feel confident about their ability to successfully position your home for sale.
- Why are you the right agent? This is the most insightful question that can be asked. The answer will reflect the values, morals and business principles that the agent represents. An agent should be able to provide a clear explanation as to why you should work with them over any one else. There are over 1300 Realtors in Sussex County, DE and it is valuable to know the tangible differences that separate one from the rest. The journey of buying or selling a home can be overwhelming and the Realtor should be able to describe what they are going to do to minimize your inconvenience and maximize your success.
Most often real estate agents are chosen based on the simple fact that you know them or they come recommended which consequently means these important questions are not asked. As a Realtor the connections and contacts that I have will only provide an opportunity to get to the door, it is still on me to walk through it and win the business each and every time.
The power of re-shaping the image and credibility of the agent ultimately rests with the Realtor community. If you want an efficient and successful experience, then do yourself a favor (and me) and vet your agent. Not all Realtors are created equal and the only way to know the good from the bad is to ask the right questions.
Written by Nitan Soni