Choosing a real estate agent may seem simple. There's your friend, friend's friend or the guy on the billboard you saw last week. While any of these options might be ok an educated and well suited realtor can make a world of difference in the home buying or selling process.
You're not just hiring someone to file out paperwork; you are hiring someone to guide you through the biggest financial transaction of your life. You want to make sure the Joe Schmo down the street has the qualifications, tenacity, experience and personality to make the process a fruitful one. Before you hire an agent you want to consider the experience level and personality types you prefer.
Selling real estate isn't as simple as throwing a listing up on the internet and taking prospective buyers to see houses. One-third of agents transition in and out of the industry every year. While this figure can flood the industry with enthusiastic new blood it also means that one-third of current agents don't have the staying power to last another 12 months. With such high turn over prospective clients should really examine what makes someone worthy of managing their financial future.
The most obvious thing to consider is expertise. Expertise doesn't necessarily mean that young or lesser experienced realtors can't be valuable agents. They often bring innovative ideas and a fresh passion that can spark valuable ingenuity in your buying or selling process. On the contrary green agents without the support or resource of a more experienced agent run the risk of being a liability if your transaction becomes complicated. Real estate is wrought with nuances that if left unnoticed can at the very least cause headaches, but could end up costing you a lot of money. If you choose a younger agent make sure they have the support of a veteran agent. This way you get the benefit of new passion and the experience to assure all your bases are covered. With such high turnover agents that have been around for decades clearly have something figured out. The housing market can be a bumpy road and only those deft and resilient enough are able to stick it out for the long haul. These agents have seen everything the market and the process have to offer and have lived to tell the tale. Education is valuable, but there is no replacement for the venerable experience of living the process.
Another equally important factor to consider is personality. As with anything in life there are a wide away of personalities. Before selecting an agent give some thought to the type of personality you respond best to. Do you like someone direct and to the point? Do you want someone who is sensitive and emotionally aware? Figuring this out ahead of time enables you to ask prospective agents their personality style as well as keep a keen eye to how they initially interact with you. And beware! If an agent can't give you an immediate, clear answer on their style they haven't given much thought to the bare bones of their career. This could be a sign of complacency, which could greatly work against you if you want to aggressively sell your home or jump on the perfect offer. Knowing up front what you do or don't want prevents you from running the risk of emotionally or potentially financially draining bumps down the road.
Another important aspect to consider is motive. While all agents are held to a strict code of ethics not all agents are driven by the same guiding force. While we would like to think that everyone has a virtuous heart it's, unfortunately, not uncommon to find an agent more out for their pocket book than your best interest. You need an agent to be a voice of reason in an often emotional process. Buying the palatial colonial home with the view instead of the cute cap cod down the road can leave you financially strapped and resenting your new home. It's important to get to know prospective agents so you can get a better sense of where their heads and hearts are at. A good agent should be eager, not aggressive to help you through this process. Used car salesmen come in many forms; don't let your friend, family or especially the internet pressure you into choosing an agent. Speak to prospective agents first and always trust your gut. If something seems a bit off; it's better to cut ties now than risk crashing into a retaining wall after a bumpy ride.
Buying or selling a home is one of the most important transactions of your life. It's important to hire an agent who has the right combination of passion, experience, tenacity, personality and heart to guide you through this multi faceted process. A little research and time up front can save you a lot of heartache and headache down the line. Do your homework and always make sure to trust your gut!