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Top 4 Must-Haves For A Great Real Estate Agent

Marni Epstein-MervisApril 29, 2019

Choosing a real estate agent based on a friend’s recommendation can be easy and save you a lot of time doing your own research. But using a friend’s referral may not help you get the best deal on a new home or sell your current home for the most money.

Making an educated choice about your real estate agent – the person who could influence your family’s living arrangements and financial future for years – is difficult. There isn’t a lot of easily accessible public information about real estate agents, outside of ratings, and many agents seem to have five stars.

So, how can you be sure you’re selecting an agent who will deliver the results you’re hoping for? To find the perfect fit, focus on the following areas when you research and interview candidates.

Local Knowledge

For a home buyer, neighborhood information is gold. Most metro areas have a wide range of communities, and each one has its own pros and cons. That’s why it’s important to work with an agent who really knows the ins and outs of the specific area you’re interested in. From intimate knowledge about the housing market to insight about neighborhood schools, the more you learn about what it’s like to live somewhere, the better.

If you’re selling a home, you want a listing agent with local connections. Having an agent who knows how to reach buyers searching for a home in your neighborhood can make life a lot easier. It’s also nice to have an agent who can put you in touch with trusted, local professionals if you need a real estate attorney, a dependable moving company or some other service.

Communication Skills

One of the most frequent complaints from home buyers and sellers is about their agent’s lack of communication skills. Time is of the essence whether you’re buying or selling, so updates about a new home on the market – or a potential buyer’s counteroffer – need to be instant and clear.

Look for an agent with stellar reviews from clients on the topic of communication. Just as important, make sure your agent can interact with you on your terms, whether it’s by email, text, phone calls or in-person.

Negotiating Know-How

How well does your agent negotiate home price compared to other agents?

Even if you find your perfect home, you’d probably rather not spend all your savings on a house. The goal is to find a buyer’s agent who consistently helps clients buy homes for less than the asking price – or, if you’re selling, to find a listing agent who consistently sells homes for more than the asking price. Look for average list-price-to-sales-price ratios, so you can see if an agent is saving buyers money or getting the asking price for sellers.

There are also the matters of occupancy, contingencies and – as you negotiate after a home inspection –repairs. These are all parts of the home buying and selling process that can make or break your transaction. When you interview agents, ask how they’ve gone about getting the best results for their clients, and then ask for references.

Marketing Ability

The ability to market a home is a key trait for selling agents. Getting the best deal for your home and reducing the time it takes to find a buyer are important. Both of these goals can be accomplished by stirring up buyer interest quickly and generating lots of offers. The less time spent dealing with the headaches of showings, two mortgages or contract negotiations, the better.

Find out how an agent plans to reach potential buyers and convince them that they’ve found the right home. What advertising methods does the agent use – direct mail, social media, SEO, email? How will the agent prep your home for photos and showings? What’s the plan if buyers aren’t making offers?

Whether you’re in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, a good listing agent will have a proven marketing strategy to price your home properly and bring in interested buyers.

Choose A Proven Agent Based On Your Needs

There are a lot of real estate agents out there, but only a few really outperform the local market consistently. You might be tempted to go with a friend’s referral because it’s convenient, but you’ll have a better real estate experience if you choose the best fit for your personal goals and preferences.

Want to know more about how a real estate agent will help you buy or sell a home? Read more abou twhat you need to know when working with a real estate agent.

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    Marni Epstein-Mervis

    The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.