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How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

Top 10 Qualities of a Great Real Estate Agent

Why is it hard to find a great real estate agent?

It can be very hard to find a "GREAT" real estate agent. With a big decision like a home purchase, it is important to work with the best.

Everyone knows someone who is a part time real estate agent. We sit on our couch watching the Altman Brothers make commissions bigger than the average person earns in a year. Professionals like the Altman Brothers make the process look easy and fun.

The problem is that home buying is a huge, permanent decision. A bad home purchase can cause a family stress and can sometimes lead to bankruptcy. A family saves their entire life for their first home. In most cases, a 30 year financial commitment accompanies a house purchase.

What can go wrong with a bad agent?

With a BAD agent, BUYERS will:

  • Pay too much

  • Enter with the wrong expectations

  • Not see properties that are in the buyers’ criteria

  • Lose properties during negotiations

  • Not ask for realistic credits during inspections

  • Most IMPORTANTLY: not buy their dream home

With a BAD agent SELLERS will:

  • List with a unreasonable price (high or low)

  • Leave the marketing up to Zillow

  • Get details wrong or leave the important details out of the listing

There are many bad real estate agents selling homes. A few of the tale-tale signs are: lack of communication, pushing buyers into homes over their budget, and even convincing buyers to settle.

How to find a "GREAT" agent?

The first step is to hire a REALTOR. A realtor is part of the National Association of Realtors, but not all brokers or real estate agents are Realtors. A Realtor must sign a code of conduct and be responsible to a board. If a Realtor does not follow the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics, the local association will fine the Realtor.

The second step is to interview multiple Realtors from different agencies. Make sure that the realtors are currently full time or have a contact plan when they are not available. Many Realtors work part time and this may be okay for casual buyers. However, when selling or buying on a timeline you need someone who is available at all times during the day or weekend. Two agents will often help each other when one agent is not available, and this can be a successful plan if they communicate well. The next key item is to make sure the Realtor has the following qualities.

Top 10 Qualities of a Great Real Estate Agent!!

10 - Strong Negotiator

It is very important that the real estate agent is a strong negotiator. This will not only be

important for final price negotiation but throughout the entire process.

A strong negotiator will benefit the buyer and seller throughout the entire process.

A strong negotiator will...

  • Not be afraid to request what is needed to get the most value from your property.

  • Be known by the office staff and have their documents processed quickly.

  • Be known by the title company and processing will be smooth and fast.

  • Receive great rates with photographers and furniture staging companies.

  • Recommend how much to offer and counter offer and know why.

  • Save you the most money at closing.

  • Receive credits during inspections.

  • Value their abilities and charge a reasonable commission.

How do you know if a real estate agent will be a good negotiator? Negotiate against them. When the agent gives you their sales pitch, try asking for them to take a smaller commission. If the agent immediately agrees to a smaller commission, then you can assume that the agent won't fight to save you money. It is important to remember that you are paying for someone to negotiate for you and advise on objections.

9 - Determined

The home buying process can be frustrating for buyers, sellers and real estate agents. A weak real estate agent will wait for their client to tell them what homes they want to see. You don't need to pay someone to drive you around a neighborhood; taxi drivers are much cheaper than real estate commissions. A buyer or seller needs their realtor to relentlessly search for their new home or investment property.

A determined realtor will...

  • Find properties on the market before anyone else.

  • Convince a seller to open their house for a private showing for their buyer.

  • Market the property to brokers directly.

  • Not wait for a buyer on Zillow.

  • Hire the best photographer.

  • Straighten up or stage your home before showings.

  • Tell showing agents all about your home and, when possible, meet them for a tour.

  • Dress appropriately and tell prospective clients how and why they will be the best.

How do you know if your agent is determined? Ask the Realtor what they did for their last customer that led to their success.

8 - Maintenance Minded

Not only does a real estate agent need to know the laws and understand how to negotiate, the agent must also know what they are looking at and what to watch out for when buying a home. When you bought your car, the dealer knew how to change the oil. The real estate agent should advise the buyer about maintenance items that could be big surprises later.

Examples of what an agent should be aware of in Florida…

  • The difference between block construction and wood construction.

  • Requesting a sewage line construction test during inspections depending on the age of the home.

  • Estimated remodeling costs and when to bring in a general contractor prior to making an offer.

  • The lifespan of a roof and the cost associated with a replacement/repair project.

A good test is to ask the agent if there are any maintenance items that you should be aware of when looking at homes in this geographical area or age range.

7 - Problem Solver

Every real estate transaction has potential problems. A good realtor plans on bumps in the road and prepares correctly so that the client never knows the difference. However, a bump can seem like a mountain to a bad real estate agent, and the client will feel like they also climbed a mountain by the end of the transaction.

6 - Attention to Detail

According to every resume ever written, we are all detail oriented. Most of us are not naturally detail oriented. A detail oriented agent is vital to the successful sell and transaction.

An agent with attention to detail will:

  • Recognize all features of a home and market the features correctly.

  • Listen to you and provide you with what you want and need.

  • Run the transaction smoothly with solutions prior to problems.

  • Dress appropriately as expected by the customer.

  • Talk in a voice that the customer will hear.

5 - Market knowledge

Real estate markets are always changing. A great real estate agent will know what the market did in the past, what the market is doing currently, and have a good idea of what the market is about to do. The real estate agent should also be able to point out different areas that fit the buyers’ criteria.

The best way to know if your real estate agent knows the market is to request a price evaluation for your property or any property that you are interested in. You could have 10 great real estate agents and get 10 different values, but they will be in the same range. The price isn't what is key here, the key is how the real estate agent delivers the price. If the agent gives you an automatically generated price you may have a problem. A good agent will read descriptions and build a price range specific to your property and give you a starting price to list with.

4 - Understand Your Time Frame

Real estate is a business full of deadlines. The agent and the customer, buyer or seller, will all need to meet many deadlines. A good agent will give the customer a timeline so that everyone can plan to meet deadlines. Every lender is different, and sometimes the agent will not have a complete timeline to start with, but a customer should have a fair notice.

Customers will feel prepared when working with a great real estate agent who gives them a timeline that lets them know what to expect.

3 - Great Communicator

Today, technology has made communication very difficult. 20 years ago there were only four ways to communicate: in person, landline, facsimile and by mail.

Today, technology offers many ways to communicate:

  • In person

  • United States Postal Service

  • Landline

  • Cell Phone

  • Text Message

  • Instant Message (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, etc)

  • E-Mail

  • Video Conference (Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Messenger, etc)

Many times, different people prefer one type of communication over another or even one brand of technology over another brand. A great real estate agent is able to communicate with multiple technologies and uses them correctly.

Communication is more that just using technology. A great communicator uses words that are easily understood and that are comprehended by the audience. This means that the communicator needs to stay away from industry jargon and stick to common terms.

2 - Good Listener

A great real estate agent will listen to what their customers say. Many people act like they are listening, but in reality they are only waiting to talk and hear their own voice. Listening is hearing words, reading body language and combining both items to understand what a person is really saying.

A great real estate agent will listen and their customer will know the agent is listening because the real estate agent's actions align with the customers’ ideals.

1 - Honesty

Honesty is very hard to see in a person without knowing their history.

The National Association of Realtors has created a Code of Ethics to monitor honesty. A real estate agent can only call themself a Realtor after attending approved classes and agreeing to a very specific code of ethics. If a Realtor breaks the Code of Ethics, it is possible for them to be fined up to $15,000. As you can imagine, Realtors take the code of ethics seriously.

An honest real estate agent will:

  • Honor commitments as promised.

  • Show all properties that fit the customer's criteria.

  • Explain possible risks to the customer about homes and loans.

  • Naturally earn the customer’s trust allowing everyone to sleep well at night.

When you find an agent who meets all of these requirements, you will be one step closer to buying or selling your home. I strive to be the best real estate agent that I can be and I use this list as a guide for my business practice.

Please contact me if you are interested in buying or selling property. I have a great network of agents around the country, and if you are located in Brevard County, Florida, I can personally help you find exactly what you are looking for.

Written by:

Adam Maxfield

Sales Associate

Keller Williams Space Coast Realty

Mobile: (321) 423-8283


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