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The Consumer’s Guide to Hiring an Amazing Real Estate Agent

Four Corners Real Estate Group

With the tagline “Five Star Experience” Four Corners is committed to excellence in San Benito County real estate, and beyond to the four corners o...

With the tagline “Five Star Experience” Four Corners is committed to excellence in San Benito County real estate, and beyond to the four corners o...

Oct 7 13 minutes read

When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s absolutely essential to work with an excellent real estate agent. Not just a professional, but an amazing agent and a true market expert.  But...how do you know you’re hiring an exceptional real estate agent?

Currntly there are more than two million real estate professionals in North America.1,2 With so many to choose from, how does a prospective home buyer or seller choose that amazing agent or broker? According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) the top deciding factors buyers and sellers use when hiring an agent are 1) trust and 2)reputation .3

Well, okay then.  But how do you truly measure trust and reputation ... and what criteria can consumers use to help make their decision?

In this blog, we've outlined the top attributes that amazing agents possess, as well as the questions you should ask to ensure you’re working with a market expert to achieve your real estate goals.

 

FIVE ATTRIBUTES OF A TRULY AMAZING AGENT

As mentioned above, not all real estate professionals are the same. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and information about working with real estate professionals to buy or sell your home. In fact, many real estate markets are over-saturated with agents.

To help you understand what makes top agents and market experts stand apart from the competition, following are five key attributes of an amazing agent:

1.  A Pricing Specialist

If an agent has a real estate license and a little training, they should know the basics of the transaction process. They know what contracts used for buying and selling a home. However, there’s a difference between knowing that process and navigating it for an ideal result. This ideal result generally means buying or selling a home for the optimal price.

For buyers, amazing agents have a in-depth understanding of current market trends, know the competition and possess the creativity to make your offer be stand-out attractive to the sellers. They help you locate and enter into a deal to get you the home you want within your personal budget.

When you’re selling a home, market experts  price homes optimally for the market, and create pricing plans to minimize amount of time the home stays on the market. This helps you sell for your best price in the shortest time, avoiding the costs of additional mortgage and utility payments.

Takeaway: Whether you are buying or selling a home, pricing is an art. Market experts navigate best-possible pricing strategies or secure your desired home within your own budget.

2.   An Effective Time Manager - For YOUR Time

Typically we underestimate the amount of time it takes to buy or sell your home. The average real estate agent  or broker may not be utilizing cutting-edge tools and technology to make the transaction both easier and more cost effective for clients. True market experts have effective tools and strategies to minimize your time in the process.

For sellers, market experts make sure you only deal with truly qualified buyers, not the “tire kickers” who will waste your time. We also use the latest marketing practices to advertise and price your home optimally to sell it quickly.

When buying a home, inexperienced agents might waste your time showing you homes not a good fit for you. A market expert knows how to help you prioritize your needs and wants to locate the ideal home in your budget. They spot “red flags” and guide you away from homes likely to have major issues in a real estate inspection, saving you both time and money.

In addition, a well-networked Realtor often gains access to the hottest listings before most websites do. Robust professional networks help him or her identify “pre-list” homes before they’re officially on the market. This is invaluable in the highly-competitive real estate markets we have experienced lately.

Takeaway: A well-intentioned , nice agent may not have the skills, tools or technology  needed to make the experience optimal for you. In a transaction, lots of hidden activities take up unexpected time. A market expert  totally saves your time and energy.

3.  A Market Insider

Most agents can pull market stats about a neighborhood, community or city (though you might be surprised by the number who can't even do that).  However, they lack the depth of knowledge to identify important trends or developments which affect your transaction. These might include the quality of a school, issues with a homeowner association (HOA), info about new or coming businesses in the area, zoning laws or current trends in home prices.

We market experts live and breathe our local real estate.  Pretty nerdy, but isn't that what you want?  We know the trigger points for buying and selling in our market. We  stay current on best-practices marketing and negotiation techniques, resulting in our impressive track record of success.

For sellers, we know which features of your home and of your neighborhood are assets in your selling process. And for buyers, we share a deep understanding of market factors, including school and neighborhood quality, crime statistics, current speed of sales and so much more.

Takeaway: Getting relevant and  very specific market knowledge can be difficult and time consuming, which is why many real estate agents simply don’t have it.   They can't do it, or don't want to spend the time if they can get it.  Whether you are buying or selling your home, an experienced, professional real estate agent is often the best source of information about a city, neighborhood, or even a certain street … we’re literally in the streets conducting market research every  single day!

4.   A Strong Negotiator

Amazing agents set themselves apart in their ability to negotiate.  This is such an important attribute someone who will be working with what is probably the single largest financial asset in your life.   Unfortunately, a large portion of agents don’t commit their full time to honing this key skill.

Real estate negotiations are often incredibly challenging, even for seasoned professionals. Skill, experience and a knowledge of how to fight for our client’s best interests are each required. Certainly any agent can negotiate to buy or sell a home, but he or she may not have mastered the effective strategies to finalize those negotiations with the winning result you want.

Experienced Realtors focus on these negotiation skills. We know what to do before entering negotiations (such as establishing the upper hand to set up the best outcome), as well as during the process (when to offer or accept a concession).

Takeaway:  Many agents stress  out during the negotiation process. He or she may agree to terms of the buyer/seller. Working with a market expert will ensure you get the very best deal, not just the easiest deal. 

5.  An Effective Closer

Closing a deal quickly is often a very good thing. For buyers, it means you found the home you wanted and made it yours. For sellers, it often can mean you avoid the additional expenses of mortgage and utility payments, and therefor allow you to maximize the value of your home sale.

But a real estate agent solely focused on the speed of a transaction can make some decisions not in your best interests. The best real estate professionals know how to not only help you achieve your real estate goals quickly, but in the correct way so you avoid potential pitfalls.

Just like negotiations, the paperwork and process of closing a real estate transaction are exremely complex. It can be overwhelming for the average agent without exceptional training who hasn’t handled a lot of transactions. Sales contracts, occupancy agreements, property disclosures and even lead paint records must be executed with precision. Your agent not only needs to be familiar with all of this, but must also stay current on any changes in requirements or regulations.

In California, over 2000 new pieces of legislation and regulation are introduced which affect the business of conducting real estate transactions.  It takes hard work to stay on top of the latest laws.

Market experts have a in-depth knowledge of all the real estate contracts, timelines, clauses and contingencies which affect the closing process.  In fact, avoiding pitfalls during the closing process is where sellers find the service of an experienced Realtor to be a huge asset.

Takeaway:  Many agents don’t have a deep understanding of real estate contracts.  Because the real estate transaction often involves a significant financial investment, even a seemingly small mistake can create serious trouble. Tjherefore it’s always best, and most responsible, to work with a market expert.

 

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL REAL ESTATE AGENT

So how do you know if you’re working with an amazing agent?

The first step would be to do your homework.  (Pardon the pun)  Many people work with the first agent they come across - often an agent sitting an open house - without a firm understanding of that agent's level of experience. It’s a good idea to interview a few agents before settling on one. If you’ve gotten referrals from people whose judgement you trust, you may only need to interview 2-3 agents.

How will you know what to ask in the interview process? Here are some good questions to help you qualify and choose the best agent to help you achieve your real estate goals:

1.     Can you send me information about yourself?

Look for overall professionalism and consistency. What are their professional accomplishments? Also  identify how they approach their work. Look for a business person with a viable strategy and a solid support system.  A newer agent can be an excellent choice if he or she has the backing of an excptional brokeraage with a strong structure of training and marketing.

2.     How long have you been in real estate?

The average Realtor has 10 years of experience4.   But while longevity could be important, even more telling are the number of transactions he or she has closed or been involved in. If someone has been a Realtor for 10 years and sold 25 homes, you have to wonder.  So feel free to also ask: “How many homes have you sold?”  You can also inquire about their support system.  Do they have a transaction coordinator, a marketing team behind them and a system of agent support which can extend to you?

3.     What will you do to keep me informed?

Do you want daily or weekly reports from your agent? Will this agent be willing to meet these expectations? Determine how much communication you want, and the manner in which you want it (text, email, in person) and find an agent to give you all the attention and time you want and deserve.

4.     Can you provide me with further resources I may need?

From the market reports and current pricing trends to local school performance and city crime statistics, top agents have resources they have cultivated. In addition, market experts have built strong relationships with their extended team of professionals, and can often get better and faster service or are able to ask for favors for you if necessary.

5.  Seller only: What is your plan to market my property?  Many agents will simply plant a sign in your yard, put your home in the MLS and pray for it to sell.  Your amazing agent should have a comprehensive plan to including social media, local networks, and more.  Don't assume your agent has a plan...look to see it in writing.

GET STARTED

Now that you’re armed with the Five Attributes of Amazing Agents and the Top Questions you’re ready to interview agents.

At Four Corners Real Estate Group, we have assembled a cadre of truly exceptional agents.  We offer a Five Star Experience to every client.  The brokerage also creates a Five Star Experience for each agent, so you know they are backed with training, support, legendary marketing strategies and tools to be wildly successful.  We’d love an opportunity to win your trust and business. Schedule a free consultation with us to find out how true market experts can help you achieve your real estate goals!

Sources:

National Association of REALTORS – https://www.nar.realtor/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics

Financial Post – https://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/canada-housing-bubble-agents/wcm/b49d4e3a-bd8d-4d1c-9566-bd3d80c8e23a

National Association of REALTORS –

                https://www.nar.realtor/reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers

National Association of REALTORS – https://www.nar.realtor/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics

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