Whether you’re buying or selling a home, one of the most critical decisions you will make is deciding which real estate agent you want to work with. You’ll be forming a close partnership in a very small amount of time for one of the biggest transactions of your life, so you need to be smart when it comes to this part of the process.
Here are several things to consider before making a final decision:
Characteristics of good real estate agents
Good Real Estate Agents Are Responsive
In a large transaction, nerves and stress are part of the equation. The best way to combat these emotions is to connect with an agent/broker who is an excellent communicator. They either answer the phone when you call more times than not, or quickly return phone calls, even at very early or very late hours of the day.
Good Real Estate Agents are Outstanding Negotiators
Most real estate deals involve compromises to reach an agreeable price. Knowing what is flexible in a deal and what’s not are critical to getting the deal done. Understanding the value of certain trade-offs, what home repairs cost, the implications of a leaky roof or bad pipes, foundation problems and more can either protect you or leave you exposed to bad experiences down the road if your agent doesn’t effectively negotiate solutions up front for you.
Good Real Estate Agents Understand Underlying Motivations
When a realtor understands why someone is engaged in a real estate transaction, it can make it easier to leverage that knowledge for the good of their client. Is a divorce part of the equation? Is this an investment property? What are the plans for the property (a fixer upper, a tear down, etc.)?
Good Real Estate Agents Pay Close Attention to Time Frames
If you are selling to buy, there is a critical timing issue that may be involved. Understanding this motivation can mean the difference between moving on without wrinkles, or losing out on a deal that you really wanted to make. Time frames are tied into flexibility. The more time you have, the stronger negotiating stance you can be in. When an agent understands this, they can either hold the line or explore concessions to get the deal done.
They are full-time professionals
Some people in real estate are “weekend warriors” or not especially aggressive due to other commitments in their lives. You want someone who is always on and at the top of their game. They’ll be more plugged into to the local market and can do a much better job on your behalf.
Questions to ask before choosing a real estate agent
- How long have you been selling real estate in St. Louis? If you’re in a suburb, then localize the question to include Kirkwood, Town and County, Frontenac, Webster Groves or the community that is specific to your situation.
- What is the average number of days your listings are on the market?
- Do you primarily work with buyers or sellers?
- What areas in St. Louis do you sell houses?
- How will you communicate with me during the home selling process?
- Are you a full-time real estate agent? For how many years?
- What kind of home buyers do you prefer to work with?
- How many other buyers or sellers are you working with right now?
Test your agent’s knowledge of the place you are moving
A good agent will not only work hard to complete your real estate transaction, often times they’ll be your first and primary contact moving into a new community.
Be sure to ask about schools, even if you don’t have school aged children. Home prices are highly dependent on the quality of the education system in the neighborhood. This is important not only when moving into a neighborhood, but also when you go to sell a home too.
Transportation is another important quality of a neighborhood. How close are freeways and highways? What are traffic patterns like at various times of the day. What will your commute to your job be like? Are lights on major thoroughfares timed to speed traffic during crunch times? Are there problem intersections where accidents take place with frequency? And if public transit may be a part of you or your children’s new lives, be sure to ask about that as well.
Perhaps the most important question to ask an agent is about crime, police and fire protection. You want a safe neighborhood in every way possible. Is there a Neighborhood Watch in place? A high incidence of porch pirates? What about homeless people? Drugs? Vandalism? Graffiti?
Quality of life amenities are important too. Ask about grocery store options, the nearest post office, mail delivery, malls and if there are any special taxes in place to pay for these things. You should also have an overall understanding of how property taxes will impact your new home purchase as well.
Trust your gut when choosing your real estate agent
After you’ve done your due diligence and before you’ve made your final choice about which real estate professional to work with, listen to that little voice inside of you. It will help you make the right decision if you don’t have a clear cut choice in front of you.
If you haven’t done so already, conduct an online search of your agent. See if there are any reviews you can access. Check with the State Board of Realtors to see if any complaints have been lodged and that the agent is currently in compliance with a valid license.
In addition, ask the real estate agent for references of many of the recent deals they’ve completed. Of course, this might be a little skewed in the agent’s favor since they’re not going to tell you about any bad experiences, but you might be surprised at how frank and honest former clients are about the good and the bad of working with this agent.
Find a realtor that manages risk and isn’t afraid to tell you the truth
You may not always want to hear what a real estate agent has to say, but once you figure out that they are protecting you from the wrong deal, you should have no problem with how they manage risk on your behalf.
Search Real Estate Agents Near Me
This may seem simple, but it’s an incredibly easy way to find real estate agents that are in your area that you can speak with.
To do this is simple, just go to google and type in “real estate agents near me” and you’ll have tons of options.
For all the obvious reasons, we think you should give us a chance to help you buy or sell a house in St. Louis. If you don’t choose us, we won’t hold a grudge, we might just shed a tear 😉
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