Would you hire yourself to represent you in court? For most of us, the answer is no. We’re not versed in the intricacies of law nor the nuances it takes to win a case. Real Estate is very similar. Although some people choose to represent themselves when purchasing a home, the majority of Americans use full-time real estate agents to make sure they are getting the absolute best deal possible when they buy a house. But with every Joe-shmoe out there selling real estate, how do you know you’re working with a real professional? Use these tips to get the best service out of your realtor.
Step 1: Pick competent full-time real estate agents
I bet you could name three people you know that sell real estate agent. It could be your crazy Uncle Vinny, your part-time real estate agent, part-time dog walker, part-time hair stylist cousin Sasha, your 18-year old nephew Carter, or your stay-at-home mom friend Abbey. What you’re really in need of is a full-time real estate agent that takes your dream home as seriously as you do. The aforementioned people may fit the bill, but if they don’t, don’t feel bad about looking elsewhere for a quality agent. See if Uncle Vinny has the following qualities:
Does your agent collaborate with you?
He or she needs to work with you in order to meet your needs. That means getting together with you to discuss everything you want in a house. It also means talking about the future to make sure the home will not only suit your needs now, but also work for you for the next 2-4 years, or longer if you’re the stay-put kind of person. Full-time real estate agents need to be real with you. What we mean is that they should be aware of homes that he or she must act as the guide, helping you understand what is realistically available in your prices range and in the market. You don’t want to paint a grandiose picture of your dream home for your agent only to find out a year later that those homes don’t exist in your neighborhood; or if they do exists, are so far out of your price range that you’ll be 10 years down the road before you’re ready for that size mortgage payment.
Will your agent teach you?
Buying a house can be complicated, intrusive, and time-consuming. Find an agent that is willing to teach you about the process. You want to work with someone that will not only answer your questions but will anticipate questions that you don’t know to ask. Be wary of agents that keep you in the dark. Chances are they either don’t know what they are doing or are too busy to give you the service you need in order to find the house that is right for you.
Does your agent have experience?
Real estate can be a tough business. There are numerous negotiations that go back and forth between agents when you’re bidding on a house. You want an agent that has experience himself or is working closely with a senior agent that can negotiate well on your behalf. You’re not looking for a bully who will put the sellers on defense, not willing to budge on any requests, nor do you want a wishy-washy agent that will give away the kitchen sink causing you to pay your closing costs as well as the seller’s closing costs, or any other ridiculous concessions.
Step 2: You both need to stay on top of things
Dream homes don’t stay on the market long, so it’s important to be on top of things when you’re in the market to buy – that goes for the agent and for you. When you’re working with full-time real estate agents, be ready to sign paperwork quickly – lots of it. Most people check their emails multiple times a day. If this isn’t you, either commit to watching your email like a work-a-holic until the transaction is complete or let your agent know so that he or she can call or text you when a document needs your attention.
It’s hard to give great service to someone that is too busy to respond to it. Be available.
Step 3: The Golden Rule
Also, be kind. Believe it or not, real estate can be a brutal business at times. Clients complain about the house the purchased. Sometimes they feel like they were well represented, or they had unrealistic expectations of how long it would take to sell or buy. Maybe there is controversy over what their house should be listed for, how long it should take to find a house. Additionally, full-time real estate agents are people so they have crazy lives outside of work just like you do. As in any walk of life, kindness can get you what you desire far better than a cranky or demanding attitude ever will.
This doesn’t mean you’re a pushover. Certainly, you should ask questions and expect great and timely service. If you think something isn’t going the way you think it should bring it up, but do it politely. The end result will be an agent that is passionate about helping you get in the home of your dreams. When you make them feel good, they want to make you feel good, which means better service, better house. For truly exceptional service, looking for agents working with high-quality brokers. For example, Century 21 Northwest has won multiple customer service awards. If you’re interested in working with one of our agents, you can find out more about them here.