We have our home listed with another agent and are unhappy with the service we are receiving. We can’t help but wonder what process we should have gone through to find the right agent. Any ideas?
When choosing a Realtor, it’s important to do more research than asking a colleague, friend or service provider who they would recommend. I often help my clients find an agent in the new city they are moving to, and I start online.
First, I look for agents who do a lot of business in the area my client is moving to. How many listings does the agent have? I look at her sold listings on Zillow and see how many she has sold, both in the area and in the price range my clients will be buying into to make sure she has the experience they will need.
I then look at her individual website for her certifications and qualifications. These credentials require extensive commitment to training by the agent, and training means the agent is best equipped to achieve the very best result for you. Much of this training requires years of dedication to learning and excellence. All agents are not brokers, for example. An Associate Broker’s license takes a minimum of three years commitment to additional learning and hands on experience. If you are buying or selling a Signature home, there is an even higher level of training available to an agents such as Distinctive Homes Specialist. Christie’s Great Estates Specialist. These programs add yet another level of skill and expertise to an agent’s repertoire.
I like to say “a monkey can stick a sign in your yard.” It takes years of training and experience though to sell real estate while making it look smooth and easy. By earning credentials, we learn how to price optimally, how to market strategically, how to use the latest technology for your benefit, the complex ins and outs of our lengthy Agreement of Sale (the intricacies of which are just waiting to ensnare the inexperienced), how to negotiate for success, how to navigate the rough seas of inspections and how to close on time. Every one of these skills inures directly to your benefit and your bottom line.
I also look to see how developed her website is (is it more than a simple blurb) and how many reviews/ quality of reviews she has on Zillow. This gives a sense of how committed the agent is to the business.
Finally, I interview the prospective agents to determine marketing plans, detailed knowledge of the area and their personal market statistics. So take the time – get to know our credentials – and make an educated decision when choosing your next real estate agent.
Continuing from last week:
We’re first time home buyers – where do we begin?
Hopefully after reading my article last week, you were motivated to get serious about buying a home and began the process. As I discussed last week, you should be saving your down payment, keeping your credit in excellent shape, getting pre-approved by a recommended lender and researching and selecting a Buyer’s Agent. So what’s next.? The fun begins!
Your Buyer’s Agent should set you up to receive new listings via email as soon as they become available. To streamline the process, it is a good idea for you to pre-screen these homes before going to see them. Check them out online and on google earth, do a drive by to make sure there is nothing that you would object to that is readily apparent. Once you have done your initial screening, go to see the home as soon as possible. Our inventory is at record lows. If you love a home you can be sure that there are at least a dozen other buyers considering the home and you will need to be ready to make an immediate offer. Along these lines, it is important that you have developed a relationship with your Buyer’s Agent and trust her judgment. When the right home becomes available you may have to pay full price to get it, and you need to be working with someone you feel you can trust on those decisions. In this market there is rarely time to test out the seller if it is a great house and is well priced.
When making the offer, allow about 2 hours to go over the contract with your Buyer’s Agent. You will want your agent to review the details with you and there are many decisions you will need to make when writing the offer.
You will need to work with your agent to decide how much to offer initially, how much hand money to put down, a closing date, the mortgage terms you plan to apply for and time periods for inspections. You will list the items that are in the house that you expect to stay there, such as dishwashers, refrigerators and window treatments. There are many other custom terms you may want to include – you may want to include an appraisal contingency. You may be looking for the seller to address certain deficiencies that you noted while walking through, such as cleaning gutters. All of the things that are important to you about the home must be written into the contract or they will not happen in the future. Oral agreements are not binding when it comes to the sale of property. Your Buyer’s Agent has hopefully paid close attention to everything you noted while viewing the home and will make sure that the Offer reflects all of your wishes.
Once you have signed the offer (and no, you can’t just make a verbal offer – as mentioned above, everything concerning land must be in writing) the offer will be presented to the seller and you will begin negotiations with your seller. Stay tuned as the process of buying your home continues to unfold next week…