Working with your Real Estate Agent

Selecting the right real estate agent to help buy or sell your home is essential to a smooth transaction. For the best possible experience, you should consider a professional’s background, personality and responsiveness. Here are some tips to help you choose and work with your real estate agent.

What to ask in the interview:

  1. If selling, ask the real estate agent how he or she would establish a listing price. Request a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) which shows the market value of similar homes in the area that are for sale or have recently sold.

  2. Ask the agent how he or she would market your property. Understand that some agents may prefer to first tour your house and then put together a customized marketing plan to present at a later meeting. But if he or she can’t suggest a strategy when asked, you might consider interviewing other candidates.

  3. Ask the agent how often you should expect to hear from him or her. Know how and when you will communicate to avoid unrealistic expectations.

  4. Ask how long the agent has been licensed and how many buyers and sellers he or she has helped.

  5. Pay attention to credentials. This will help you determine areas of expertise. Ask about designations. There are dozens of designations pursued for continuing education, so identify one or more that fit your needs. Interest in continuing education is a strong indicator of motivation and professionalism.

  6. Pay attention to the agent’s listening skills. Does he or she cut you off before you’ve finished a sentence? There’s nothing worse than looking at homes you have no interest in because the real estate agent has not listened carefully to your needs, or having your house on the market too long because it’s priced incorrectly and the wrong buyers are being targeted.

  7. Ask the agent about his or her fee structure. Does he or she require a percentage of the sales price or work for a flat fee? Will the agent be paid another way?

  8. If you are unsatisfied with a prospect’s plans or personality, thank him or her for taking the time to meet with you and repeat the process with another real estate agent. It can be time-consuming, but it’s worthwhile.

Once you’ve found the right real estate agent to represent you, hold up your end of the relationship. There are simple things you can do to help your real estate agent get you the best deal.

How to work with your real estate agent:

  1. If you are selling, create an information sheet that lists your house’s features and best qualities, especially those that others might overlook. Your agent may be able to use the information when marketing your house.

  2. When selling, talk to the real estate agent about cosmetic improvements. Your house may need fresh paint or new carpet.

  3. If selling, keep the house clean. Eliminate cobwebs and dust. Keep the bathroom counters and mirrors wiped down. Vacuum and sweep daily.

  4. If buying, be clear about what you want. Make a list of your priorities numbered 1 through 10. You can always revise the list, but give your agent something concrete so that he or she can research available listings more efficiently.

Food for thought:

  1. Hiring a REALTOR® will give you a strong advantage. Although many practitioners work part-time, RE/MAX Agents are full-time professionals who provide their complete attention and expertise.

  2. Your real estate agent is an authority you hire to help you make the right decisions, but you have the final word.

  3. Your residence is likely to be the biggest single investment you’ll ever make. Buy and sell wisely.

  4. Office environment can say a lot about a businessperson. Is it clean and organized? Do the office hours make it easily accessible? Are staff members pleasant and helpful?

  5. Remember that home values fluctuate with the economy.