Key Factors You Should Look for in the Best Local Real Estate Agents
Author: Madison Clifton
When trying to find a great real estate agent, it can be hard to know where to begin. You know you want a positive real estate experience, and your agent will play a significant factor in determining that. Follow the guidelines below, and you should be able to find an amazing agent who exceeds your expectations.
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Just like with any other good or service, there are reviews for real estate agents online. Knowing how past clients felt about their experience will give you insight into how your experience with an agent might be. When looking at the reviews, it is essential to note a few things. How recent are the reviews? Are they written by people in your area? Are most of them positive?
These are all important factors to consider when looking at the reviews, but remember that reviews alone do not always tell the full story. Reading reviews is meant to be a starting point. Unless they are overwhelmingly negative, do not stop there.
Consider asking the prospective agent to provide their most recent clients as references. This can help you get an updated picture of what your experience with the agent would be like.
Experience measured in years can be tricky. It is possible to find a terrible agent who has been in the industry for a decade. At the same time, it is possible to find an outstanding agent who has only been in the business for a few years. This can make it difficult to judge an agent’s experience. You obviously still want an experienced agent though, so how should you go about finding an agent with quality experience? The number of closed sales the agent has in the past 12 months, combined with how many clients had positive experiences, is a good indication.
If the agent is relatively new to the industry, but s/he has a quality number of closed sales in your area within the past year, it might be worth taking a chance on him/her.
Evaluate your needs and expectations when it comes to buying or selling a house. If you feel an agent with a decade of experience is a necessity, you should still look into his/her number of closed sales in the past year. Regardless of how you choose to evaluate the actual years of experience an agent has, it is always a good idea to investigate his/her recently completed projects.
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3. Social Media Presence
A social media presence not only shows how an agent markets himself or herself, but how s/he markets the houses s/he is trying to sell. Social media is a fantastic tool that should be effectively utilized by top-producing agents. When you see that an agent is consistently posting content related to real estate on his/her social media and the homes s/he is trying to sell, it is a good sign.
When an agent demonstrates quality social media skills, it shows their dedication, marketing abilities, and experience using technology. Looking for a social media presence may seem like a minor or secondary factor to consider. In reality, it can be a good test when trying to find a quality agent.
4. Member of the National Association of Realtors
When an agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), s/he is held to very high standards by the association. There is a strict code of ethics that every member-agent must follow. It is also a pledge of performance and professionalism to the standards s/he must meet.
Being a member of the NAR is not required of all agents, and it is possible to find a quality agent who is not a member. However, NAR standards hold the agents accountable for their work. So, when an agent is a member, it speaks to his/her commitment and quality as a real estate agent.
After you have researched the factors explained above, it is time to talk to the agents that you felt have met your expectations. When speaking to an agent you are considering hiring, be direct and ask him/her specific questions. At the end of the day, you are interviewing him/her for the vital job of assisting you in your real estate experience.
5. Local Knowledge
One of the key factors you want to know for sure is that your agent has a vast knowledge of the local area where you are trying to buy or sell a house. When you purchase a home, you are also buying into the community where the home located. What is the local school district like? Are there any nearby parks? How close is highway access? What restaurants and community events are available in the area? These are all questions that your agent should be able to answer about the community you are considering.
The same goes for selling a home. An agent should be able to effectively market to the community around your home. When the local area around the house is marketed correctly and seems appealing, it draws more buyers to the home. Having an extensive local knowledge is a standard that should be met by any potential agent you are considering.
Most communication these days is done by email or texting. That is likely the way that you will communicate with your agent most often. Due to this, you want your agent to be able to use these technology communication outlets effectively.
There is more technology involved in real estate than just email and texting. Many agents use eSignature platforms to collect signatures and store documents as well as transaction management technology, like Transactly, that provide an online experience for buyers and sellers. Ask your potential agent what kinds of technology they use and how those platforms contribute to a better experience for you.
7. Good Communication Skills
Lastly, while speaking to a potential agent take note of his/her communication skills. If an agent is able to have a clear and informative conversation with you before s/he is hired, it speaks to his/her quality as an agent.
The second, and often forgotten element of communication skills is his/her ability to actively listen. An agent should be taking note of your specific situation and expectations. S/he should understand your motivation behind buying or selling, as well as you time frame and budget.
These specifics of your situation should be taken into the utmost consideration by your agent. If an agent you are speaking with is not actively listening to your situation and responding to it accordingly, then you will want to consider another agent.
8. A Partner in the Process
Remember, when you are looking for a real estate agent, you are looking for a partner in the real estate process—someone who can guide you through the process and make it an enjoyable experience. If you investigate all of these key factors and find an agent who meets most of your expected criteria, chances are you will have a great experience with that agent.
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