May 11, 2016

9 Things to Expect from your Highland Real Estate Agent

By Griff Christensen

Professional

You want to do business with a professional.  Does this mean your agent needs to belong to the country club and considers anything less than the opera uncouth?  Of course not.  Fun, dry, educated, street smart, serious, goofy, tall, skinny, fat- professional agents come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. 

But there are a couple characteristics every professional agent will have. 

First, a professional agent will respect time.  Their time, your time, the other agent in the transaction and their clients time.  If an agent you’re thinking of hiring shows up late to your initial appointment, it’s a good indication they don’t value your time and are lacking professionalism.

Second, a professional agent will look professional.  They won’t roll up in a car that hasn’t been washed in months, wearing a t-shirt and workout shorts with their hair looking like they just rolled out of bed.  You want an agent that can represent you well. That means someone that looks the part and can be taken seriously by the other agent and their client. 

Honest

The agent selling your home is representing you and your interests so it’s vital that you trust them.  But how can you ensure the agent you’re considering doing business with is trustworthy?  It can be difficult to tell. 

One idea is to google search their name and see if there are any reviews for them on social media, yelp and the myriad of other independent sites that people can leave a review on. 

Another great idea is to ask the agent for 3 to 5 of their more recent clients (buyers or sellers) contact information.  Keep in mind this may take a little time as the agent is required to gain the permission of the client before handing over their information, so don’t get sketched out if they don’t get you the list the day you request it.

Once you have the list in hand, contact each of the past clients and ask them about their experience with the agent. Did the agent keep them completely up to date on the transaction throughout the process?  Did they feel the agent had their best interests throughout?  Did the agent have high integrity?  As you continue to talk, the past client will tell you if they harbor any concerns.

Proven and Experienced

A common method some people use to find an agent goes only as far as reaching out to their network and asking if someone knows a real estate agent.  And the first person that messages: “My cousin is an awesome real estate agent” gets the job.

Hiring your best friend or even your spouse’s brother’s wife’s sister is great for relationships but make sure you know they’re actually a great real estate agent before you choose them.  Find out:

  • whether they’re full time or do real estate on the side
  • how many transactions they do a year- or have done the past 6 months
  • if they have experience selling similar homes in the area

Agents have to start somewhere but an agent that’s been in the business 3 months and has been involved with one transaction is not going to have the same experience as someone that’s been in the business for 5 years and has dozens of transactions under their belt. 

Marketing genius

Many people believe selling a home is as easy as the agent throwing it up on the MLS and waiting for a full price offer.  Every agent wishes this were the case!  The truth is that every home is different and requires a different approach to marketing. 

Agents that understand how to showcase a home by taking awesomely unique pictures, use the property description to describing the property in a way that makes it come to life, and understand how to effectively use social media sites to market your particular home, etc are the type of agent you’re looking for.  Unfortunately, they aren’t around every corner. 

Strong Communicator

When you sell your home you need an agent that can effectively negotiate and handle the buyers concerns and attempts to whittle the price down.    

An agent that is willing and capable of entering uncomfortable and even conflict filled conversations with the other agent is someone that can maximize the price of your house in the least amount of time. 

Great reputation.  The Agent and his Brokerage

When you sell a home, you want to be represented by an agent and brokerage that have a good reputation in the area you’re selling your home.  It could be a national franchise and it might be an independent local broker to. 

In today’s age, it’s fairly easy to jump online and find reviews.  Spend some internet time researching the reputation of the agents you are considering working with as well as the brokerage they’re associated with.

It’s also a good idea is to drive the neighborhoods in your community and see which brokerage for-sale signs are most common.  This can give you a good idea of the go-to companies with great reputations in your community.

Regular interaction

You want an agent that understands the importance of keeping you 100% in the loop during the sales process. 

Selling a home can be stressful and working with an agent that doesn’t recognize the need to keep you up-to-date can add additional stress as you wonder if they’re even trying to sell your home anymore. 

Additionally, you want an agent that is willing to accommodate the way you’re comfortable communicating.  Whether it’s email, text, or a phone call, the agent should have no problem with it.  If you do get pushback from this, chances are you’ll be unhappy with the overall level of communication.   

Every time a showing occurs, you want an agent that will, in a timely manner, contact the buyers’ agent and then give you the buyers’ feedback.  Likewise, you want an agent that will frequently catch you up on how the marketing strategy is working and what kind of chatter the listing is generating. 

 Uses technology effectively

You would be surprised to learn how many agents do not market your home online.  You would be even more surprised to learn how many don’t utilize email and still use fax machines to send over purchase offers!

It’s a good idea to find out what technology the agent you’re considering uses.  There’s so many tools out there to help agents be more efficient that if an agent is still stuck in the 1980’s, you can be assured a frustrating ride, so don’t even get on.

Some technology tools that many agents find very helpful include some form of tracking system for clients, a smartphone with texting and email functionality, Dropbox, Evernote, and some kind of e-sign technology.   

A great marketing plan

Every agent will market your home a little differently and it’s important you get comfortable with their marketing tactics before you hire them. It’s not only important they have a great track record but also that they can lay out a marketing plan that can give you confidence they will do enough to sell your home quickly, at the best price possible.

Some agents still find old marketing methods effective like posting your listing in the newspaper or sending out printed fliers.  Many now utilize technology to market your home by posting the listing on their personal website, their brokers website, and on multiple social media outlets.

With the majority of buyers beginning their search online, it’s more important than ever that your agent has a strong online presence.  If your agent does not have a combination of being on Pinterest and Facebook, doesn’t have their own website to showcase your property, and doesn’t have an active blog with a following, they are leaving too much on the table to represent you well.

Conclusion

For an agent to make it in the real estate business, they must possess some form of all these pointers.  As you look for the agent that will list your home, I hope you find the tips in this post helpful.

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