3 Qualities to Look For in a Real Estate Agent

by Keri Shull

If selling your home is one of the most important decisions of your life, then it’s essential to make the right choice when deciding on the right real estate agent to represent you throughout this complicated process.

This is a common question we get almost every day from clients interested in selling their homes, and we want to expand on the traditional advice to focus on the key factors to consider when selecting a real estate agent to sell your home. In this post, we’ll identify 3 essential qualities of a good real estate agent, and tell you how to look for them when you’re searching.

Getting Results - A Closer Look

Naturally, one of the most important measures of a good real estate agent is their annual home sales numbers, which gives you an idea of how many clients they have served, and how well they’re doing in their market.

You have to look closer than just annual sales numbers! Ask your agent how many listings he or she currently has active or has recently sold. If the agent has a large amount of listings relative to the competition, they are probably doing more effective marketing, have better market knowledge, and can access a larger and more targeted client base of potential buyers for your home.

Be aware that, in a strong seller’s market like we are seeing recently, it is easy for agents to seem like they have strong sales numbers even when that’s not quite the case. Ask prospective agents, on average, how many days their listings are on market is and how that number compares with the market average in your area. You also want to ask them what their average sold price to list price percentage is for the homes they sell. Ultimately, you want an agent with a record of giving good price recommendations up front and then selling homes quickly at or near that price, not one who lists a lot of homes and eventually sells them by convincing the seller to drop the price.

The Team and the Back End

Real estate is a complex industry that involves several different job functions. You’ll mostly interact with your agent, but behind the scenes the agency needs to handle administration; customer service; marketing; recruitment; negotiating; and more. Some agents are generalists in all these areas, some specialize in particular areas, and, unfortunately, some do not strike a good balance between the two.

Having an agent that excels at all job functions in real estate might sound good, but for the few who do so, they run into the problem of scalability. An agent that is good at all of these tasks will eventually get too busy.

This is where a team approach can make a big difference. Choosing a well-run real estate team means that someone is always available to help you, so you’ll never miss out on hot leads and useful contacts. Working with a dedicated team also means that your agent is more likely to have access to critical networking and support services you may need in the process of selling your home.

Track Record

These days, you probably wouldn’t even buy a toaster without reading customer reviews of people who have actually used the product. The same should be true for finding your real estate agent. Start by searching for reviews, testimonials, and success stories on the agent’s website, but be sure to also check independent sources including Trulia, Zillow, or Yelp.

Don’t be afraid to ask the agent directly for a client referral - a good agent will have a long list of satisfied clients who are happy to share their experience. Finally, if there’s anything in the agent’s reviews that concerns you, be sure to bring it up with the agent so you can get a better perspective on the situation.  

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