According to the National Association of Realtors, 51 percent of people found their home online in 2016, testament to the huge amount of useful information available out there. That’s doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a real estate agent, though. Agents handle every aspect of the negotiation process and curate that stack of paperwork you need to sign at closing. They have access to superior data and analytics, ensuring that you don’t overlookany suitable listings.They also have well-developed personal networks that, in many cases, let them know about properties before they even hit the MLS.
So how do yousort through the multitude of information to find the right agent for you?
Figure out Your “Must-Haves”
The best agents operate in well-defined niches.Before you start looking, you should know parameters like price range and desired neighborhood. Are you a stickler for professionalism? You might only want to workwith the 57 percent of agents who are Realtors, or members of the National Association of Realtors. Unlike other real estate agents, they are bound by a code of ethics that standardizes their behavior.
You should also make a list of non-negotiable items, likeschool district, number of bedrooms, amenities, and property type. A good real estate agent can steer you toward those priorities and help you stick to themeven if the pressure to buy starts clouding your better judgment.
More than most industries, the real estate profession is driven by networking. Successful real estate agents rely on their networks to gain business and often stay in touch with clients over the long term.
Ask friends who live in properties like the one you want to buy, trusted work colleagues, and professionals in your target neighborhood if they have an agent they like working with. Chances are, that agent will work for you as well.
Read Reviews Online
Online reviews can be difficult to interpret unless you know how to read past generic superlatives and marketing lingo. Search agent profiles for quantitative information, like years of experience in the market, number of houses sold, average price range, and certifications and awards.
Testimonials and reviews are another important source of information. Don’t just go by the number of stars given! Read the feedback for qualities you want. Is the agent a good negotiator? Do they listen to client’s specifications? An agent who inspires detailed feedback, rather than vague praise, will deliver more detailed attention to your needs.
Check the Agent’s Listings
A sometimes overlooked source of vital information is the listing page on a real estate agent’s website. Looking at how they present the listings can be just as meaningful as seeing the location and general price range. An agent who takes quality photographs, writes clear descriptions, and stages the home in an inviting way is an agent who cares about their clients.
Attend an Open House
Open houses are a great way to interact with prospective real estate agents, and they can be an especially good way to screen agents if you are thinking of listing your home. Watch carefully to see how the agent interacts with people who come to see the house.
What sort of marketing materials are available? What is her level of knowledge about the home’s features? Is she a compassionate listener who makes each person that comes into the home feel welcome? These are the same qualities she will bring to your working relationship.
Choosing the right real estate agent means finding someone whom you can trust to help you make one of the most important decisions of your life. When you invest time and effort the process, you are far more likely to get the results you want.
About Century 21 Peak
CENTURY 21 Peak serves the real estate needs of greater Los Angeles, with offices in Granada Hills, North Hollywood, Upland, and Warner Center. Our team of experienced real estate agents use the SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER. ® asset spectrum to deliver innovative solutions and maximum value.