#1 Knowledge of your market
The MLS stores data on your market such as comparables and cost per square foot. These are great things to know but, these data points are not the gold when working with a Realtor.
You want someone who knows the exact market you’re thinking about buying or selling in. When they live, eat, breathe real estate in that area, they’re going to know things other Realtors don’t such as:
Pocket listings are listings that aren’t on the market right now. A lot of the time you can get a great deal from these but, it’s rare for any agents to know about them that don’t work in the area.
Realtors who know the market also know the people selling the homes, personally. Maybe it’s from doing an open house in the neighborhood before or from door knocking it. The key here is that if they know who the homeowner is, they’ll have some insight onto what their motivations are behind selling the home.
Maybe the seller isn’t that serious in which they won’t take a cent below offer because they don’t really care if it sells anyway. Or maybe the seller has to move quick and that means that they are willing to take a lot less because they just need an offer quick and to get out of the neighborhood for a job relocation or whatever. You can start to see how having someone experienced in your local market is a huge advantage.
Experience of the agent selling the home
When agents talk to other agents, it’s a war. Your agent is trying to get you the best deal possible on that home and their agent is going to try to get them the best price possible. Crazy situations occur often in real estate and when you have a seasoned vet who has seen it all, you can get some of the best deals that way.
An experienced agent can call bluffs and also probably has ran into the Realtor selling the home before so they know their selling style. Don’t risk paying more for a house because you want to work with a friend who just got his/her Realtor license.
#2 Experienced with internet marketing and technology
The internet is moving faster and faster. Most buyers start their search online today. If your house isn’t on the platform that they’re searching on then chances are your house won’t sell. Thankfully most offices are now pushing internet marketing onto all their agents which means that you probably won’t run into a problem running into someone that still doesn’t have much of a clue about internet marketing.
On top of that, if there is some type of new technology that can help your Realtor be more efficient, you want to make sure they are going to be aware of this. Something like great real estate flyers is a simple way to make sure that your listing doesn’t turn into an expired listing.
#3 Great at networking
If your agent is good at networking, obviously that means they probably have a huge network! What’s that mean for you though? More likely that they might have / know someone or know a friend of a friend that was searching for a house like yours for sale a month ago and gave up because they couldn’t find anything on the market.
Those types of deals happen all the time and the only way you can get access to them is from Realtors who have built a very big network for themselves. Working with a top agent has never been more important.
If you’re a buyer and not a seller having a network is still equally important. As mentioned before pocket listings are listing that aren’t on the market yet. If their not on the market how can you Realtor know that they’re going to be available next month if they don’t have the network that gives them access to this type of quality information? They won’t. Make sure you’re working with a Realtor who is great at networking.
#4 Been in business for a while
The longer they have been in business means the more seriously they take their craft. Becoming a Realtor isn’t the hardest thing in the world and for that reason you get a lot of people who try it out for a year or two and don’t really get anywhere.
These type of agents will do everything in their power to convince you that there is no difference between a seasoned agent and themselves. They will tug at every heart string you have. Do not give in.
It sounds harsh to say but, not everyone was cut out for real estate and the agents that want to sell your home will never admit it. Their mind is on one thing: Commission.
#5 Selling volume over awards
Another great trick Realtors have is awards. One of the things about awards is that they came from the office they work in. Of course the office wants to make their agents look as good as possible. This is just a trick to make them look like they have accomplished more then they have. If they have received rookie of the year and there was only 2 other rookies, what does that even mean?
Ask your potential Realtor what their selling volume was over the past two years. This is the best way to see a direct stat on what type of results they’re putting out there. If they only sold 1 million in volume which was only 1 house, clearly they are not as good as they would have you believe.
Be careful when choosing your agent, once you sign that contract you’re locked in for a certain amount of months to work with them. The longer your house is on the market, the less attractive it gets and the lower offers you will get because people know it’s not selling. Be rigorous when interviewing real estate agents.