In a decade of Real Estate experience I have seen the good, the bad and the REALLY ugly. Here are the top 5 aspects you need to consider when choosing a Realtor.
5. Brand Recognition – While you might consider the brand a Realtor works for a moot point, it really is more important than you think. Think about the credibility of the brand your agent has decided to align him/herself with. In different countries and even in different parts of Canada, various companies have varying amounts of the market share. Individuals interested in making sales and purchases happen (ie. really serious Realtors!) gravitate to these companies due to the reputation and respect those companies have earned. In Hamilton, Remax Escarpment Realty Inc., Brokerage, sells a whopping 47% of all Real Estate transactions (based on dollar amount). Now that's a company that can make sales happen!
4. Area Specialist - A great Realtor must know the area well. Here in Hamilton, the value of a home can change by 25% simply by crossing one single side street. There are many, many different factors that affect the prices of homes. A great Realtor will know the different areas and the best areas available to you within your price point. They know how to price your home for maximum exposure. Area ignorance could cause overpricing, one of the most frequent mistakes homeowners make. An agent who does not know the area and simply pulls up a few comparable homes online cannot take into consideration all the factors that go into properly pricing a home.
3. Full Time – To receive the best possible experience when buying or selling, choose a Realtor who has made Real Estate their full time job. These are the people who spend every minute of every day living and breathing Real Estate. Would you hire a surgeon who just does surgeries 'on the side'? You are doing yourself a major disservice by leaving your largest asset in the hands of someone who is not spending every moment of every day in the world of buying and selling homes.
2. Experience! - Time in the business is not the only factor in creating an experienced Realtor. While a Realtor's knowledge and competency increases over the course of time they have been in business, the number of transactions your Realtor has competed in that span of time determines if they have 'earned their stripes.' Complex situations often arise during a transaction, for example, after the home inspection. How will your agent deal with any issues that arise? Did they anticipate the issue? Do they know if the issue is legitimate or if the other agent is 'blowing smoke?' Can they help resolve the issue for you? An agent simply cannot know how to deal with these situations if they have never encountered them before.
1. Superior Negotiating – In each and every transaction, tens of thousands of dollars are in play – to keep in your pocket or to slip into theirs. Do you want an agent who knows when he can continue to push the bounds of the sale or purchase price? I've experienced Realtors who will bring a full-priced offer to a sale that has no competing offers, not even attempting to negotiate for their client! I've encountered others who say, “My people are flexible,” or who timidly apologize for an offer stating, “My people wanted me to bring this offer.” The bottom line is this: Do you want a poodle or a pit-bull as your negotiator? This is critical! There are thousands of dollars at stake! A great agent will be able to read other agents, their clients and will know instinctively when and how to maximize the benefits for their buyer or seller.