Last week I proposed that it might be a good idea to get to know some things about your Realtor before you hire them to represent in you the largest dollar transaction you will have. Today I want to address the five things you need to know about your Realtor as a bare minimum. These questions could potentially save or earn you thousands of dollars.
The first question is “How Long Have You Been Doing This Business?” You notice I didn’t ask “How long have you been a Realtor?” or “When Did You Get Your License?” The answer to these questions aren’t important. Why, you may ask. I have been licensed since 1984. Impressive, right? Not really. I went in and out of Real Estate from 1984 until the year 2000 when I committed to my career and have been doing Real Estate since. So, although I’ve had my license since 1986 (31 years), I have technically only been in the business since the year 2000 (17 years).
Does this mean you shouldn’t hire a newer agent or you should only hire an agent that has been in the business forever? Not necessarily. Depending on the support system the newer agent has and the prior experience they may have, they may be a better choice than an agent that has been in the business for a long time. Why? A newer agent with a strong support system backing them up is like having a small army working for you instead of a single agent. Another reason why more years may not equal more experience is that there are some agents that have had one year of experience 20 times. in other words, although they have been licensed and have worked in Real Estate for 20 years, they haven’t done anything to enhance or grow their experience.
Which brings me to the next question, “What Are You Doing to Enhance Your Skills”. They may attend classes at their Association regularly. They may have received Real Estate Designations such as GRI (Graduate of Real Estate Institute), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) or SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist) to name a few. These show that the realtor has taken the time to learn about the business and how to properly service their clients. There is an on-going debate about the use of the designations. I say if you got them, flaunt them. (By the way, I have all of them and more).
An obvious question is, “How Many Deals Have You Done, Either as a Buyer’s Agent or a Seller’s Agent?” Notice the question is how many deals have you done, not how much real estate have you sold. Someone could have done $10,000,000 in sales and only sold 4 or 5 units or they have sold 20 units You can see the difference in the answer. You want an agent that has sold enough units that they can begin to see the potential problems even before they become problems and head them off.
The fourth question is “How Do You Get Along With Your Fellow Agents?” Believe it or not, there are some agents that other agents would prefer to work with and other agents they would rather chew nails then work with. You should be able to tell from the agent’s attitude about this question which category they fall into. There is enough stress in any transaction without having to worry if your agent is going to make someone mad. This an important but often overlooked question.
Last but not least, “What Do Your Previous Client’s Say About You?” Who can better speak to your agent’s ability to get the job done then the people for whom they have gotten the job done in the past. Ask for references, check them out on Yelp or Zillow. Better yet, ask a friend who they would recommend. A friend would never steer you wrong.