How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

How To Choose a Realtor

There are a lot of real estate agents in Los Angeles. You probably have friends or relatives who are real estate agents; but are they the right one for you? Here’s what you need to do to find the right person to work for you:

Interview several real estate agents. You might be wondering, “Where do I get these agents from?” You can get referrals from your friends or professionals like your CPA, mortgage broker, or attorney. You can look at those “just listed” and “just sold” postcards you get in the mail to see who’s doing business in your neighborhood. You can also drive around your neighborhood and look at the “for sale” signs to see who’s actually selling in your area.

During the interview process, consider these three things:
1. Integrity and honesty. You want someone who you can trust with this huge investment decision.
2. Local area knowledge of the market place.
3. Good communication skills. Communication skills are going to be very important as you enter into this transaction, exchange information, and need to be updated. Also, are you to communicate with the realtor directly, or someone else on the realtor’s team? You may not want to get passed off to someone else after the realtor has signed the listing agreement with you.

There are 3 phases in selling a home: 1) Marketing the home, 2) Negotiating the deal, 3) Shepherding the deal from acceptance to close of escrow. Does the agent you’re interviewing understand these three phases? Have they spoken about them, without you bringing it up? Are they an expert at all 3 phases? If the realtor is not an expert at all three, you are at a handicap for the negotiation and sale of your property.

When you’re interviewing your realtor, also make sure that they have an action plan, or a commitment, to you. It’s best if they have it in writing and will leave it with you, that way you can look at their action plan when selling your home, check off the boxes, and make sure they’re doing the things they said they would do. We all know about people who have had experience with other people who promised the world and didn’t deliver, by having an actual plan in writing, you’ll be able to point to specific items that were promised you and make sure they get done.

Local market knowledge will allow the realtor to estimate the realistic sale price of your home. Their previous experience will let you know how many transactions they’ve done, what type of transactions they’ve done, and if they have been in your local neighborhood.

One of the key things you’ll be talking with a real estate agent about is pricing your home. Pricing your home is quite important, because statistics show that the closer we are to the market value of the house when we put it on the market, the quicker we’ll sell the house, and the more money you as the consumer will end up with in your pocket.

After you establish a pricing strategy, you’re probably going to discuss commission with the real estate agent. It can be a touchy subject at times, but what I’m going to tell you is, you get what you pay for. If a real estate agent is willing to cut their commission and cave on the negotiation with you about their worth, what do you thing they’re going to do when it comes to the price of your home?

When you are paying a full commission, you will have expectations that the marketing is going to be on a higher level and that the agent is going to hire professionals to assist in the marketing of your home, such as:
• A professional home photographer and a marketing person to create printed pieces to get the information out about your home
• You might actually have a website dedicated to your house
• A Video on YouTube
• Recommendations on how to create extra curb appeal or interior staging

These are the types of things that a discount agent is not going to be able to offer because they won’t have any profit left to take home. Also, the likelihood is that if they’re making less money on your home, they must complete a lot more transactions in order to make a living. Therefore they’re not as interested in you as an individual, as they are in getting your home listed, getting it sold, and getting it out of the way in order to move on to the next sale.

Selling or buying a home is a big transaction. You want somebody who cares about you, about the sale of your property, making sure that you’re being represented well, and getting paid the true market value for your property.

Does this realtor have a plan for communication and does it involve direct communication with them or someone else? Do they have a day that they’re going to speak with you every week and give you an update? What’s the plan? How and how often do you like to be contacted?

I hope this is given you some good information to think about. If you would like more information or have questions, feel free to contact me at whit@whitprouty.com, and I’ll be happy to send you some written material, answer your questions, and I’ll even send you some questions you might like asking a realtor when you’re interviewing them.