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Checklist: What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

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Choosing to sell or rent your home is a major life decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Finding the right real estate agent to best represent your investment is vital in order to maximise your returns and help you navigate the complicated world of real estate. The right agent will keep your best interests in mind, ensuring that you have a smooth, stress-free transaction while showing your property off to its best advantage.

Weighing all options carefully can point you in the right direction, as will this handy checklist of qualities to look for in a real estate agent. You can choose to register now at LocalAgentFinder to get started with the comparison process, and receive access to thousands of qualified real estate agents. As you start to receive agent proposals, you’ll want to keep the following factors in mind to find the right person for the job.

Experience

Like many other fields, experience is paramount to success in the real estate industry. An experienced real estate agent may be able to market your home more effectively, having sold homes like yours in the past. Although it’s certainly possible for someone new to the industry to perform well, choosing a real estate agent with experience can give sellers an added advantage.

When you are comparing proposals from potential real estate agents using the free service at LocalAgentFinder, you can see the facts clearly outlined for your benefit. As you get in contact with the agents who seem most promising, you will want to find out:

  • How long have they worked in the real estate industry?
  • What type of training courses have they and/or their team completed?
  • Do they hold a current license for professional real estate agents?
  • What was their sales volume in the past year?
  • How many clients are they currently working with?

It’s also helpful to ask for a list of the last ten clients’ houses that they sold, to get an idea of what their typical sale is like. Greater experience equates to greater knowledge, which is why it’s worth taking the time to verify that any potential agent is a true expert. With knowledge and experience, the real estate agent will be better able to put strategies in place to garner you the highest possible sale price.

To help you with the process of interviewing agents, LocalAgentFinder has put together a list of essential questions to ask your prospective agent.

Skill Level and Education

In addition to experience, skill is also important. Choosing an estate agent who is technically skilled at their craft will help you boost sales potential. Factors to consider when looking at a real estate agent’s skill level include:

  • Their knowledge of the small administrative details included in real estate contracts
  • Their knowledge of the more technical side of the industry, such as inspections, title deeds, and appraisals
  • Are they keeping up to date by changes in technology and real estate law by furthering their education?

This technical knowledge is important for any successful transaction.

Market Knowledge

Possessing general real estate knowledge is important, but when the time comes to sell your home you will want to work with someone who has specific knowledge of your property’s suburb. If your property lies in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda, you probably wouldn’t want to be represented by a real estate agent who typically works on the opposite side of the city in a northern suburb like Carlton.

By choosing a real estate agent who specialises in your region, you’ll benefit from having a professional who knows all of the comparable homes for sale and the history of the neighbourhood. A good real estate agent will have first-hand knowledge of the parks, schools, and other amenities that are particular to your district, helping them sell your property.

Honesty and Integrity

Assessing an individual’s level of integrity is hard to do online. As you peruse proposals and compare agents, you’ll be able to narrow them down to a select few to meet in person. When you meet with a potential real estate agent, pay attention not only to their experience and technical skill, but also their personality and how they make you feel. If you feel comfortable around them, chances are that buyers will too. If an agent is evasive during the interview process or says “yes” to most questions without backing up their answers, they may not be trustworthy. It’s ideal to find an estate agent who has your best interests in mind, and who will work hard to represent these interests.

You can ask questions like the following to help weed out shady agents:

  • How often will the agent be providing in-depth feedback during the selling process?
  • What charges can you expect to pay should the house not sell?

Taking the time to prepare interview questions in advance can help you steer the conversation to protect your best interests.

Work Ethic

Real estate agents must rise to meet the demands of a complex and ever-changing industry. This involves working odd hours at times to accommodate the needs of buyers, who may only be available to view homes on weekends or during evening hours. You’ll want to find a real estate agent who is willing to go the extra mile and work hard to sell your property.

Before signing any contract, it’s helpful to consider the following:

  • How prompt will the agent be at returning emails and phone calls?
  • Is the agent willing to base inspections and open houses around your schedule?
  • Can the agent be flexible should your plans change? If you become too busy for home visits, be sure that your agent will not try to push you around.
  • Will the agent take the importance of this transaction into account and treat it as a human priority rather than just another sale?
  • How busy is the agent with other clients and transactions? It’s best to choose someone who will have the time needed to give your property the level of attention it deserves.
  • What business hours does their office keep?
  • What processes are needed to be put into place to cancel the contract should you be unhappy with performance?

Although these may be uncomfortable subjects to bring up, they are important to make sure that your property is represented to the best of the agent’s ability.

Resources and Contacts

A major benefit to hiring a real estate agent is that they can give you access to their wealth of knowledge, personal contacts, and professional marketing abilities. The right real estate agent will have a wealth of resources to help you throughout the selling process. Some of these resources to inquire about include:

  • Do they have a website both currently online and regularly updated?
  • Do they use social media, blogging, or other online marketing techniques?
  • How many forms of marketing can they employ to make a sale?
  • How many photographs will be used to share your home with buyers?
  • What further connections do they have within the real estate industry? These could include marketing teams, other agencies, prior clients, or brokers.
  • How large is their sales team?
  • Can you see examples of current or previous advertising projects?

The right real estate agent will take a multi-pronged approach to your marketing needs, to ensure that the widest targeted audience of potential buyers has access to your home.

Attention to Detail

Detail is everything when it comes to real estate transactions. You want to be sure that your real estate agent is able to prove that they are well organised and able to spot the fine print that others could potentially miss. This includes attention to using time effectively, juggling multiple tasks, and drafting a contract that omits no details.

If a potential agent fails to follow up on an email, or shows potential buyers around your home unannounced, this could be a sign that more important details could be forgotten down the road. In this case, it may be a good idea to take a look at other agents before your sale is derailed due to incompetence.

By keeping this checklist in mind as you start your search for the right real estate agent, you can weed through the various options out there to find the best fit for your property’s needs. The first step is to register at LocalAgentFinder, where you’ll have access to a wealth of information regarding local real estate agents at your disposal. This no-obligation service allows you to request and review online proposals from multiple agents, which you can then compare with this checklist. Register now to get started.

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