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Ask an Agent - Are You Right for Me?

Trying to find a real estate agent? Want to ensure you choose the one that's right for you? Here's some advice that might help the decision making process.

Real estate agents are as diverse as the buyers and sellers they help, and because of this, you should do some shopping around before deciding which agent is right for you. And who better to ask for advice than real estate agents themselves—after all, if they decide a buyer or seller isn’t a good match for them, they too can turn down the opportunity to work together.

In addition to giving you our advice, we’ve asked other agents—here is what they had to say:

Communication and Trust are Essential

One of the biggest complaints both buyers and sellers have is, “I never hear from my agent,” or, “I can’t get my agent to call me back.”

Communication is one of the most important aspects of the relationship between agents and their clients. At Red Robin Group, we try to determine up front the best way to communicate with our clients. Is email, phone or text the best way to reach them? Do they have restrictions during the workday that prevent them from communicating?  What is the best way for them to reach us with something urgent? What about general questions? What is an acceptable response time? These are all very important questions to discuss prior to entering an agent/client relationship.

A lack of communication contributes to distrust between agent and client, and this, in turn, leads to an unproductive and unprofessional relationship. Open lines of communication are important and both parties should respect each other and agree on how to best communicate with each other.

Market Understanding

Having an agent who possesses thorough, intimate knowledge of your target market is essential. He or she will be better equipped to handle pricing and negotiations; will have relevant experience working with real estate located specifically in that area; and will have other agent, lender, contractor, inspector and stager connections that can help smooth the process of buying or selling a home. 

Tech Savviness

Technology plays a larger role in real estate today than ever before, and an agent who has not kept up with the ever changing industry will be at a disadvantage. Ask potential real estate agents, “How will you use technology to help me buy or sell a home?”

“From a seller’s perspective, working with an agent who is able to tap into the latest technology is important. Buyers are looking for homes on the internet, of course, but mobile technology and connectivity that allows an agent to quickly follow up with buyer inquiries is of paramount importance,” says Keller Williams agent Rob Smith.

“Particularly in a market of low inventory like we’ve seen recently in the intown Atlanta neighborhoods, it’s important for agents and their buyers to be on top of new listings coming on the market. Using tools that allow buyers to tap directly into the MLS and receive timely notification when new properties hit the market is essential,” says agent Tom Trimble.

Buyers and sellers alike want to be able to communicate with their Realtors remotely.  But it goes further than that. They need to know how online marketing, lead generation and social media networking will play into their buying/selling experience.

A Solid Track Record

This is not to say that agents new to the business will not do an outstanding job working with buyers and sellers—in fact, they may have the eagerness and optimism that’s right for you. But many people prefer to see a track record of closed properties, positive reviews and overall success.

“One of the biggest mistakes that buyers and sellers can make is to hire a friend or family member as their agent because they feel obligated. The decision to choose a Realtor is an important one because buying a house is the biggest financial transaction most people will make in their lifetime. Buyers and sellers owe it to themselves to interview several agents – then base their decision objectively on who they think can get the job done. I always say that I might expect a friend or family member to give me the opportunity to make a presentation for them, but I fully expect them to go with the agent who they feel is best qualified. If they don’t pick me, then I know I didn’t earn their business,” says Realtor Beth Boswell of Keller Williams Realty.

The real estate market has obviously been turned on its head and is now redefining and transforming itself into an industry we haven’t seen before. As such, real estate agents are altering the way they do business. As you should when hiring anyone to perform a service for you, you should do your research and shop around to decide who will do the best job. Take these few things into consideration when determining which Realtor is right for you.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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