Years of Experience
Longevity is important. An agent who has more than a decade in real estate has seen different market cycles and trends and can guide you appropriately. The average agent has less than five years in real estate, they are less able to foresee and navigate changing markets.
Number of Sales
Look for someone who consistently sells a good number of homes each year. The benefit in hiring an agent who is a good, consistent producer is that there is almost no situation that they haven’t successfully handled for their clients dozens of times.
As a point of reference, according to our multi-list service, the average agent sold approximately 8-10 homes in Oakland and Macomb counties last year. By contrast, our team has averaged between 40-50 transactions per agent, per year, for over fifteen years. Having a top-producing agent on your side means they are not practicing on your sale and with your money.
This is hard to suss out. An agent who has sold a lot of homes is important, but it doesn’t mean that they’re good negotiators. They still could have left their client’s money on the table. Look for their designations. The agents on our team are expert negotiators, having earned their Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) designations.
If I had to rank an agent’s skill set by importance, their ability to negotiate the best deal for their client would be number one. You will feel the impact of your agent’s negotiation skill every time you make a mortgage payment. Don’t choose an agent just because they’re “nice.” Seriously.
Responsiveness and Availability
Nobody should work 24 hours a day, but you want an agent who responds timely and has great communication skill. When first interviewing an agent to represent you, ask about their hours of availability, days off and their support staff when they are out of the office. Never should a client be left hanging, waiting for information.
Sound Advice and Reliable Opinions
In order to be a good advocate, an agent should spend more time asking questions about you, your situation and your real estate needs than they spend talking about themselves.
A good agent will tell you the whole situation, good news and the not-so-good news. They will offer sound advice and even disagree with you sometimes. The agent you want to hire is one that freely volunteers their expertise and opinion so you can make informed decisions.
When finding a real estate agent, know that there’s no one venue to see all reviews in a single place; we receive flowers, gifts, cards, emails, online reviews on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Facebook, everywhere. Ask your agent for testimonials; we have a drawer full plus a good amount on Zillow. If you can’t find your agent online, move on.
Good research or referrals from friends are a great place to start, but you should interview for yourself. We offer one-hour consultations to make sure we are a match with our clients. Every agent should be happy to talk with you and not pushy for a contract. If you’re nervous, take a friend with you. It’s super important that you click with your agent and trust them.
Be a Savvy Buyer
Ask questions! When you interview, take this list with you. When you find an agent who has these qualities, good reviews and makes you feel at ease, reward them; hire them to be your advocate.
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