I’m sure that we’ve all heard the horror stories from friends or family members or even, gulp, from our own experiences of real estate agents going MIA, being too much of helicopter agents, or some variation in between. So how do you choose a good real estate agent?
Personally, I was very lucky during my first-time home-buying experience and ended up with a wonderful REALTOR® (shout out to Travis Redmon!) Working with him showed me three essential traits that you should look for when you “interview” your real estate agent, and these are all traits that I strive for in my own business as well.
Trait #1: Industry Knowledge
This sounds obvious because, of course you want to work with someone who knows the real estate industry. However, not all agents are created equal. One big and easy difference is that some are simply real estate agents whereas others are REALTORs®. Without getting into all the nitty gritty details (although if you really are curious, you can always check out the National Association of REALTOR’s® website to read the code of ethics,) a REALTOR® is held to a higher standard than one who is only an agent.
Also, keep in mind that “industry knowledge” doesn’t necessarily equate the number of sales that they’ve completed or the time in which that occurred. These are common sales tactics that listing agents will commonly use, but realistically, all of those sales could have taken place in a completely different area. For example, a listing agent may state that he/she will conduct open houses, and while those sometimes work well in high-traffic locations, they are generally not as successful in more rural locations. You want to choose someone who can prove that he/she knows how to best market your home if you’re selling or how to find you an ideal location if you’re buying. Be sure to ask questions and, if you’re looking to buy or sell in a pretty large area, give your agent time to research the area as well since it’s difficult to be an expert in every specific location.
Trait #2: Trust
When you hire an agent, you are hiring a representative for you. That’s why so many buyers and sellers rank trust very high in the list of what they want in an agent.
Do you trust that agent to represent your best interests? If you answer no to that question, then you need to try another.
Trait #3: Humor
I don’t know if sellers for moderately-priced homes, at least in Knoxville, Tennessee, really need this last trait in an agent, although it’s always nice, but I would argue that most buyers actually do. In my own experience, I always joked with everyone (including my REALTOR®) that I was playing whack-a-mole because a house would come on the market, and BOOM, it would go off the market. It’s frustrating when that happens, but that’s why it helps to have an agent who has a good sense of humor because you can laugh a bit (eventually) and then move on in the house hunt.
What would you rank as the most important traits as a real estate agent? Please share yours below.