Chances are, you already know someone in your social circle who is a real estate agent, and you may think that connection is reason enough to give them your business. However, real estate transactions are especially complicated in today’s housing market. Just because your college roommate’s brother happens to have a real estate license does not mean that he’s the best fit to help you sell your home and find the next.
Be prepared in this housing market
In today’s wild market, homes are selling fast; many sales happen in just days. It’s vital to ensure you have a realtor in your corner that has the experience to recognize when a real estate deal may not work out. A skilled agent can help you avoid painful traps in the process.
What to look for in a realtor
So, what should you look for in a real estate agent if you can’t rely on your social connections? Here’s a list of must-haves for a realtor to ensure your needs are best represented during the home sale process in today’s market.
1. Experience structuring real estate deals in complicated circumstances
We’ve studied housing market trends in the area, and we’re seeing 1 in 4 deals fall apart. For a home seller, that means that their agent selected a buyer that was not ready or structured a deal that was not in the best interest of the seller.
The best realtors have the skill to review a home offer and know what to look for in making sure that the deal gets all the way to closing with the most money in the seller’s pocket. For the Young Team, more than 90% of the seller’s we represent make it to closing. Overall, the team is able to sell homes 2.5 times as fast and typically for 3% more than most other Northeast Ohio agents.
2. Equipped with strategies to reduce risk – before the house hits the market
Your realtor should offer ways to ensure a smooth sale and reduce risk through creative strategies. This may include structuring to eliminate challenges that arise with inspections, financing, appraisal and other contingencies. The more guidance that is provided for these risk variables in the contract, the better the position for the seller. You’ll want to work with a team that is experienced in looking for "icebergs" in the home selling process before you are in danger of hitting them.
3. Handles a high volume of real estate transactions
It’s common knowledge that the more you do something, the better you’ll be at it. When you need surgery, you look for the doctor that has performed the surgery you need the most times. It’s the same in real estate. You want to work with a team that has experience handling a high volume of transactions. This enables them to see 10 moves ahead, anticipating challenges and ready to overcome them.
4. Has a strong realty support staff
You may not realize it, but most real estate agents work as solo entrepreneurs. There are more than 180 tasks to complete in every home sale. Most agents are handling all of these – on the home buying and selling sides – on their own. Real estate teams are better equipped to handle the fast-paced nature of this work. The team consists of specialists in each area of the home sale. Having a dedicated team on your side to not only get the house sold but keep the sale on track and stay on top of the deal from buyer to lender to title company is a huge advantage.
5. Ability to adapt quickly
How swiftly can your agent identify issues with a buyer to enable them to pivot to the next best home offer? Negotiations in home sales move lightning fast. You will want a highly experienced realtor to help you discern when to pull away from an offer before things go south, costing you time and money.
Trust is paramount. Throughout the home buying or selling process, you’ll communicate personal financial and family information to your agent, and you want to ensure that the agent will keep them in confidence. Additionally, you will need to trust that your agent will look out for your best interest throughout the transaction.
7. Strong communication skills
Your agent must be someone you can speak openly with and who will give you straightforward, honest answers in return. It’s a good idea to meet with several agents to see if you can communicate well with them rather than simply agree to work with the first agent who picks up the phone. If you don’t feel like you can express yourself openly with someone, move on.
8. Local housing market knowledge
Your agent should be an expert in the area in which you’re looking to buy or sell a home. Not only will a local expert know all about home prices and styles in the area, they’ll know the best ways to market your home to attract the most buyers.
Choose an agent who replies to texts quickly, answers your phone calls, and follows through on their promises. If they say they’ll do something, expect that it will get done, and if they do not follow through, move on. Timing is critical in this market, and if you can’t trust your realtor to reliably follow through, your home sale may fall apart.
10. Strong reputation
Find an agent with an excellent reputation, whether by asking your friends and family for recommendations or reading online reviews on Google, Zillow, or Realtor.com. Look for an agent with at least 50 reviews and an average rating above 4.5 stars.