Did you know that first time home-buyers and sellers usually partner with the very first real-estate agent that they cross paths with? This can be a costly mistake if you end up partnering with an inexperienced or incompatible Realtor®.
“Great news, I found the perfect home for you with that 3-car garage you’ve been looking for!”
While there are many great resources to research products on the internet…where does one turn to for help with selecting the right Realtor®? There really isn’t one gold-standard that differentiates a great agent from a mediocre one.
Arm yourself with these five questions so you can make an informed decision on who to partner with:
- What is the agent’s work schedule? Are they willing to work nights and weekends to accommodate your schedule? More importantly, is real estate their full-time profession? You’d be surprised at how many Oahu agents have second and third jobs. Are they available via phone and email while off island for business or vacation?
- How many transactions have they closed in the past year? There is absolutely no substitute for experience! The overwhelming majority of Oahu agents closed between 0 to 2 transactions last year. Why ask about the past year, you ask? The real estate industry is evolving at a rapid pace and what once was, is no longer. The last 12-months of productivity will give you a feel for how well the agent has adapted to the change in business practices and the market in general. The more transactions an agent has successfully negotiated, the more issues and challenges they’ll have faced and resolved. Many people want to know how many years a Realtor has been practicing, but fail to take it to this next critical step. Want to really put the heat on, or have reason to doubt their answer? Ask for a record of transactions closed and recommendations from previous clients…a solid agent can provide this with fairly short notice.
- What is their communication style and what technologies do they utilize? Do you prefer email, text message, or Facebook correspondence? Are you an international client that could benefit from Skype or VoIP conferencing? Does the agent get their emails instantly? More importantly, can you expect responses from them within the day? Will they use “e-signatures” and paperless documents both to conserve resources and to save you time? Do they have access to all the documents, contracts, and resources you’ll need on-the-fly via a laptop or an iPad with wireless internet service? Well-connected agents have access to their entire office wherever they go and this will contribute to high efficiency and productivity.
- What specialized training, education, and professional designations does the agent have above and beyond the basic real estate license? See all those letters after their name? They generally reflect expertise in specialties such as: representing buyer’s interests (ABR), short-sales and foreclosures (SFR), or even a particular market segment such as baby-boomers and seniors (SRES). Does the agent have a high school diploma (last I checked, this is not a license requirement) and have they attended college? Is this person an agent (RA) or a broker (R)? Acquiring a broker’s license requires additional coursework, years in service, and a higher score on the state examination.
- How well does the agent and their company leverage the power of the internet? This applies especially to homeowners, but buyers check this out too…you’ll be sellers soon! Take a moment to check Google or your favorite search engine…type in “Hawaii Real Estate” and see if their company’s site is on the first page of the results. No? Then the general public isn’t likely to see your listing either. No matter how well the agent speaks, or how pretty those photographs are…you can’t sell a home without attracting buyers. The more buyers that see your property, the more likely you are to pocket extra cash! Also “Google” the agent’s name…do they market themselves and can you find out more about them? If not, how can they be expected to properly represent your interests in one of the most important transactions of your life?