I’ve been in and around the real estate community for 25+ years. I’ve never been a real estate agent but I’ve worked with hundreds of them. My wife and I have purchased and sold a dozen or so houses over the years and have used a real estate agent on every transaction.
Bottom line: I’m a big fan of the real estate agent and the industry.
My kids are all grown now and entering into the home buying season of their lives. I know they probably won’t ask me quite this candidly but, if they were to, this is what I’d say if I was asked “Dad. What should I be looking for in a real estate agent?”
Here’s my answer.
Hey there. I think you’ve asked one of the most important early questions in the home buying proces. Congrats! As you know, good questions clear away the clutter and this is a great one! The agent you choose to work with is a big deal.
What I look for in a great agent are these things; Competency, Communication & Connection. The 3C’s. Here’s what I mean by each of them.
Compentency. They need to know their stuff. They need to have good systems supporting them. They don’t necessarily need to have been an agent for a long time but they need to be in an office that supports their growth. They should be great learners and committed to continuing to grow in their education in all aspects of their craft and trade. They should be seasoned in their market and know plenty of detail about the neighborhood you are considering, current competitive sales activity and historic trending of the area.
Communication. You have to love how they communicate, how available they are, etc. You guys will be spending a lot of time with your agent, on the phone, on email, texting, at showings, inspections. Are you comfortable with them? Do you feel like their style fits yours? Listen to any red-flags that come up. The agent advocates for YOU so make sure you have a good sense that you feel that in how they communicate, how responsive they are, etc. Keep in mind; they have lives too. Don’t make the leash too tight on them so that they have to respond to your every text after hours. Some will, I know, but I’d encourage reasonable expectations when it comes to communications after hours.
Connection. Your agent should be well connected in their office and to a local MLS system. Your agent should be connected to the community through service programs and activities that impress you. Your agent should be connected well to past clients such that they can provide referrals (social proof) proving that others have had a great experience using them. I would highly advise asking folks in your circle of friends who they’ve used and why they’d refer them to you (or not). If you don’t know anyone in the town you’re moving to, I’d suggest connecting with high-trust community folks to get a start that way. Good agents connect well! Make sure they’re connected to folks, systems and activities that are important to you.
There are some amazing pros in this real estate business. You want one of them working for you. Once you find them, stick with them. Don’t bounce around unless they don’t meet up with the 3C’s I listed above. If they do – you’ve got your person. Enjoy their professionalism. They’ll likely become a friend and you’ll likely become a great source of encouragement to them.
This is an exciting time for you! I’m excited for you guys and will do whatever I can to support you, as always! *please don’t ask me to co-sign the loan though…