When buying or selling your home, the REALTOR® you choose to work with will make or break your experience. While this may seem like a dramatic statement, experienced buyers and sellers know that there is a serious disparity among real estate agents. Owning a real estate license doesn’t automatically make an agent excellent at what they do. Many first-time buyers and sellers learn this the hard way, whether through a personality clash or a loss of money. Rather than make you go through one of those harrowing experiences, we thought we’d give you the inside guide on finding the best REALTOR® for you.
You’ve heard that “communication is key” in relationships. Little did you know that this concept might serve you best in the real estate world! When choosing an agent, be on the lookout for matching communication styles. You and your agent should strive be on the same page at all times. He or she must be a quality communicator. This means being a good listener…able to really hear your desires and requests and put them into practice. A good REA LTOR® listens to you, presents their honest opinions and recommendations, and leaves the major decisions up to you. Quantity communication matters as well. Your agent should be reachable and attentive, returning your calls and emails in a timely way. Ideally, your schedules will mesh well and you will develop a good system of conversation. They should also keep you well-informed, calling and communicating when necessary. A relationship is a two-way street, and a good agent will know how to remain balanced!
Obviously, a good REALTOR® is licensed by the state…at the minimum. Further real estate credentials make your agent even more reliable and knowledgeable. Other credentials include specialty training in luxury home sales, farm and ranch, commercial real estate, etc. If your home or property has unique qualities, you might be better served by a real estate agent who’s been trained in your area.
3. Area savvy
One of the most important pieces of advice we can give you is this: choose a real estate agent who knows your area. While area knowledge may seem arbitrary, it makes all the difference. When choosing a REALTOR®, zoom in as much as possible. This doesn’t just mean a REALTOR® who knows San Antonio…it means a REALTOR® who knows the North East side or the Outer West side or the 1- 10 corridor. If possible, it means a REALTOR® who is well-versed in your specific neighborhood: Alamo Ranch, Alamo Heights, or Stone Oak. He or she should be able to tell you about the market trends in your area, what similar homes have been selling for, what’s been happening in the area around the neighborhood, etc. Ideally, he or she will have made consistent sales in the community. The more specialized and familiar your agent is with your neighborhood, the better. This means they will have valuable local knowledge and connections.
Personality is an important characteristic in a REALTOR® for several reasons. First, you are going to be spending a lot of time with your agent. This means that you want to get along with them! You should enjoy talking to your agent, spending time with them, etc. Your communication styles will hopefully mesh, and you’ll be able to develop an enjoyable professional relationship with him or her. Besides these purely personal reasons, personality is important as your agent negotiates with potential buyers or sellers. A good RE ALTOR® is personable and approachable, able to work with all types of people.
While some part-time real estate agents are excellent at what they do, full time agents gain the competitive edge when working with clients. A full time agent will be able to devote their full attention to their business, without balancing other jobs, commitments, etc. They are also more likely to be knowledgeable and up to speed on market trends, simply because they are working with more clients and homes. These agents will be more reachable and able to communicate more often and effectively, simply because they’re devoting more time to you as a client.
In today’s day and age, technology plays a huge role in real estate buying and selling. If you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll probably list it or look for it somewhere online. Home profiles might include photos of the home, information on its background, etc. Though it seems easy to slap a few photos online and write a quick description, online marketing isn’t quite that simple. There’s a lot of skill and expertise that goes into the online real estate market. Your agent should have a basic, if not fluent, knowledge of sites like Trulia and Zillow, as well as the ability to market your home via social media. He or she should know how to take high-quality, strategic photos and present your home in a way that draws in potential buyers.
Integrity might seem like the first thing you’d look for in a real estate agent…however, it can definitely be the most difficult to find. Your home sale is one of the most important, expensive endeavors you can embark on. Not only are you dealing with a large sum of money, you’re also either buying or selling a home that you’ve invested in. Look for an agent who is honest and trustworthy. This agent should be a team player, always looking out for your best interest, not their own. Find out if he or she is well respected in the real estate community…a good reputation/rapport is always a good sign. If your agent is excellent at online marketing and returning your calls, but only looking for a good commission, they might not be the agent for you.
8. The Extra Mile
Finally, the thing that sets an excellent agent apart is their willingness to go the extra mile. This type of agent displays passion and enthusiasm, going above and beyond your expectations. This type of forward-thinking agent displays creativity and innovation, taking your home sale to the next level. This could include doing details with excellence, giving you an extra call just to calm your nerves, or putting in extra hours of market research. This type of REALTOR® loves what they do, and it’s obvious to you as a client.
Ways to Spot Your REALTOR®
So you know what a good agent looks like. Now how do you find them? Talk with recent clients who have worked with different agents. See if their experiences were positive, what they wish they would have done differently, etc. You can find an agent’s licensing and credentials online. Be sure you look at their social media presence. Are they able to present themselves well? Look at their current home listings to observe home marketing skills online. Ask about their knowledge of an area…what have homes nearby sold for recently? If they aren’t knowledgeable, gauge their honesty and willingness to learn more about an area you’re interested in.
As you can see, a lot more goes into being a high-quality REALTOR® than a license! Thankfully, Keller Williams San Antonio has an incredible staff of well-trained REALTOR®swho live up to these standards. Contact us today to find the agent wh o’s right for you!