A real estate agent will guide you to – and through – the most important decision of your life. How do you know, for sure, that he will act in your best interests?
How do you know if he will really work for you? Is he too busy for you? What of his personal integrity? How much effort will he expend for you?
You will want to feel very comfortable with the real estate agent that you choose, comfortable enough to be able to say ‘no’ to the bargain of the month and ‘no’ to the almost perfect house.
He must not be intimidating to you, yet a business-like attitude and assertiveness are qualities you will want in a professional acting for you.
Often when you are choosing a business professional, the outcome is not so critical, but who wants to lose their dream property? Choosing a real estate agent falls into the same bracket as choosing a medical doctor or a lawyer.
The interview and short listing process is really all about finding one that you feel comfortable with. Real estate agents usually have a ‘presentation’. This is usually a very business-like procedure and if they are having an off day, the presentation may click in automatically.
However, you will need to get past the ‘rehearsed’ person and get to know the real one. Most real estate agents will have integrity, they have their reputations to think about, but you need to feel that you also have one that understands you and your wants.
Some real estate agents have amazing sales records, so ask about sales history. Ask if he would mind giving you some recent sales to choose references from. Gather up at least half a dozen and then choose your own references to phone. Before you phone, ask the real estate agent a few questions.
For instance: How long was each house on the market? How many were reduced and why? How many times and by how much?
Some other questions could be: Will there be a marketing plan drawn up for the sale of your house? Will it be carried out? What guarantees do you have? To see if the agent is keen and enthusiastic, ask him if he has taken any extra real estate courses.
See if you find his voice or tone very monotone; if so, do you find it relaxing, or would you prefer a lively voice generating a more energetic feeling?
Finally you must try and gauge the quality of his negotiating skills. Ask about commissions; in a house sale it will be necessary for you both to be able to discuss money amicably.
Observe the way the real estate agent explains things when you try and negotiate a lower rate. If he can convince you that his fee is fair and that he will have to work hard to earn it, then he can convince others to listen to his viewpoint when he is working for you!
All this discussion will give you enough time and a good basis on which to judge the personality of the real estate agent. Then the bottom line is that you have to pick someone that you feel you can trust.
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