How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Buying and selling real estate is complex, and it’s imperative to select a competent, honest agent who will skillfully represent your best interests throughout the entire process of selecting, negotiating and closing on your property.

Here are several things to look for and consider when selecting the real estate professional to represent you in a transaction:

Experience

Real estate is a learn-by-doing process, an experienced agent should have at least 3 years experience and be closing at least five to seven property transactions per month. Every transaction is complex, and each agent obtains new and relevant “training” on each deal. So ask prospective agents — how many transactions they’ve closed in the past 12 months and several years. Also consider the difference between a part-time real estate agent who sells a few properties for friends and relatives and someone who treats it as a full-time business venture. There are a lot of part-time agents out there, these agents can’t provide the level of service that someone who is doing this day in and day out can provide.

Reviews

You also want to get references from the sales professionals’ recently closed transactions. The best way to do this is by Googling the agent’s name and searching for online reviews on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow.comTrulia.com or Google (these sites solicit buyers and sellers for these reviews upon completion of their transactions and are reviewed for authenticity). You will learn a lot by reviewing what agent’s past customers have to say. If you wish to learn about potential candidates on a more personal level you can also check sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

Time to work with you

An agent who has too many clients may be too busy for you. While many agents attempt to wear multiple hats assisting both buyers and sellers, this is an inefficient business model and one that benefits the agent at the client’s expense. Ideally you want to locate an agent that has a team with agents specializing in both sides of the business and exclusively assist either buyer or sellers. Under this model the team includes both listing agents, and buyers agents and individuals with the skill sets, training, and the experience (in the areas you’re looking) to best serve your needs whether you are buying a home, selling a home, or both! Your listing agent will focus exclusively on marketing and selling your home, while your buyer’s agent will spend all of their time working to locate your dream home!

Location and Property Type

For buyers’ and sellers’ agents, neighborhood expertise is key, because neighborhood markets can have different quirks. Make sure they know the location in which you want to buy and/or sell. Some agents are going to be familiar with the entire county and can talk to you about each neighborhood. Find a sales professional who is very knowledgeable about your targeted location, as well as the property type and price range you are considering.

Help you protect yourself

Will they help you make smart decisions? This is the largest purchase you are ever going to make, and your real estate professional should be well-versed in and advise you on how to do your “homework” when buying a property. Does buying make financial sense? Steps to buying and/or selling? How will they market and sell your home? Where will your property be listed and how many websites the agent participates in? Who should you hire to inspect the home? What about financing… who should you work with to finance your purchase? Have you looked at the HOA documents, title abstract or plat? Are you procuring the right insurance for the proper amount? A good agent can guide you in these areas and protect and represent your side in a transaction.

How Much

Ask potential agents how much they think they can sell your home for. If two agents say $600,000 and the third says $700,000, think hard. It’s likely the high bid is an exaggeration to attract your business. In the trade it’s known as buying the listing. In the end, you’ll be the one who pays because the high price will scare away potential buyers before you inevitably drop the price.

Less-than-scrupulous real estate agents know that a high price is music to a seller’s ears. And in the worst case scenario, they may lure you into signing a contract, knowing they’ll still get their commission once you’ve been forced to drop the price to a more reasonable level.

A good agent, on the other hand, will help you set a price that reflects the market. Conversely, if an agent has consistently sold homes for less than their listing price, it’s worth finding out why. Homeowners should ask agents about sales stats including the average number of days their listing are on the market before they sell, as well as their average list to sales price ratio (ask the agent for this figure expressed as the original list to sales price ratio as opposed to the list price at the time of sale to sales price that agents will present).

The sales professional you use should be someone you trust and feel can do a great job helping you market your home and ensuring you get top dollar for the property, and if you’re buying to evaluate homes and get a property under contract. They should also help you navigate the escrow and closing process and negotiate in your best interest, whether it is the price, repair requests or other contract terms.

If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling a Home in Columbus, Ohio please contact The Opland Group. We offer professional real estate advice and look forward to helping you achieve your real estate goals!

The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in; Bexley 43209 Columbus 43201 43206 43214 43215 Delaware 43015 Dublin 43016 43017 Gahanna 43219 43230 Grandview Heights 43212 Hilliard 43026 Lewis Center 43035 New Albany 43054 Pickerington Powell 43065 Upper Arlington 43220 43221 Westerville 43081 43082 Worthington 43235

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