What differentiates an “OK” realtor from one who is worthy of your highest referral? Well, there are questions to ask and a guide to determine the best from the rest. A great realtor has an important set of skills and traits which when combined make all the difference. A great realtor has not only the ability to navigate the marketplace—even in a down market — but the intuitive ability to tailor-fit the experience for each client’s specific needs. First and foremost, besides the obvious credentials, a realtor must be a good listener. If not, the partnership with the client is ultimately doomed. Below are several questions to ask as a well as guideline of must-haves so you choose the right realtor for you.
- A REAL-ly Great Communicator
A realtor must be a great communicator – a people person. Communication skills and an affable personality will go a long way. More importantly in terms of communication, your realtor should have the knack for really listening. A great realtor will meet with you, know the right questions to ask and then really listen! This skill allows the client/broker relationship to flourish. The realtor will drive the entire process from soup to nuts which can include finding the right home to buy, staging a home for sale, or matching the right buyer to the home. There’s a lot to do well, from the start to close and the results can all teeter on one thing: did the realtor listen well?
- A Side Gig or Career: Who Is Your Realtor?
Find a realtor who has lived, bought and sold in your community for enough time that you can assess his or her track record. If this simply happens to be a side gig for someone, your results are going to reflect that minimal effort. You should seek out a realtor who has lengthy experience and who lives and works in the community. Says an article on MSN, 7 ways to avoid a crummy real-estate agent, this step is incumbent on the potential buyer/seller to determine at the first consultation. Pat Vredevoogd Combs of Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt in Grand Rapids, Mich. tells MSN:
You really need to ask them where they work most of the time: Where do you live? Where do you work? What area of town are most of your transactions in? Consumers should look for agents with extensive experience in the area where their transaction is taking place.
- A GREAT Realtor Knows the Market
A great realtor knows how to navigate the market – any market. How do you find this? Simple: choose experience every time. Author and CNN financial editor and author of Home Rich, Gerri Willis sat down with Robyn Moreno of Howdini.com. She says choose a realtor with at least 8 years of experience to offer. In this way you are guaranteed that they have learned to navigate in a down market. Who would you rather represent you, one that just became a realtor during a housing market boom or one who has weathered all kinds of markets and is still successful? Willis tells Moreno in the informative video interview:
I think right now you should be looking for someone who has been in the marketplace for at least 8 years. That means they have experience in a down market so they know what to expect right now.
- Web Savvy
Last but not least, don’t forget the importance of technology. A top real estate agent must be on the cutting edge of web marketing technology. Newspaper ads are good but they won’t do the entire job in today’s technology-driven market. A realtor who’s not technologically-savvy, simply can’t compete today. Ask about this. S/he should be very good with photo listings – presenting the “best” online photos is crucial for a sale. S/he must be good “on the go” which requires web-savvy skills, answering emails, using the Ipad for meetings on the fly, Skyping if necessary – whatever it takes!
There are a lot of good real estate agents out there and a few really great ones. It’s all about asking the right questions to find the perfect one for you! Whether you are selling or buying, educate yourself, ask for references and ultimately, make the right decision for your needs.
Lydia Gable was ranked 2nd in Keller Williams in 2013 as a Top Performing Individual Agent, with high customer satisfaction. She lives, works and plays in the Conejo Valley. If you want to keep up with what’s happening in real estate and around Conejo, contact Lydia Gable today!