What to Look for When Hiring a Realtor
In order to be happy with the realtor you choose, you need to know the right questions to ask and what to look for when hiring a realtor. You already know to check for experience and past results, but how much experience is considered good? How do you accurately analyze their past results? And how do you know they’re the right match for you? Continue reading for the answers to these questions and more.
Knowledge of the Area
Realtors with knowledge of the area will have learned important things that assist in selling homes. They won’t have to spend as much time on their own research in getting to know the area. Since just about every major city has its own cluster of suburbs and subdivisions, the more niche their experience, the better.
For example, buying real estate in Scottsdale, Arizona is much different than buying a home in Phoenix. Another great example is in dense urban areas like Manhattan and its surrounding suburbs. A home in White Plains and a high-rise apartment in the Financial District are two completely different experiences.
Having knowledge of the area also gives them more confidence in selling your home. When showing the home to potential buyers, their speed and confidence in answering buyer questions matters.
What Type of Marketing Do They Do?
Listing your home on a website is a non-negotiable, but they need to do at least a few other types of marketing too. Marketing gets more eyeballs on your home, which means more opportunities to find the right buyer. If your realtor does a lot of marketing, you will probably sell the home faster compared to a realtor that does little to no marketing.
Types of marketing that’s good for real estate are:
An open house allows for numerous prospective buyers to look at your home during a set period of time. The more people you have looking at your home, the faster you’ll sell it. Open houses provide additional benefits for you. Buyers may mention the things they like and dislike about the home, which can help you in staging the home better.
Digital marketing puts your home in front of potential buyers online. Examples of digital marketing are those advertisements you see when you search something on Google or scroll on your social media accounts. This type of marketing is referred to as pay-per-click advertising, paid advertising and PPC. Social media PPC may be called social media advertising. It’s all the same thing.
Other forms of digital marketing are SEO (search engine optimization), email marketing and virtual tours. SEO helps get potential buyers onto the realtor’s website where they can come across your home for sale.
Email drips are multiple emails that your realtor sends out to prospective buyers who have signed up for their email newsletter. Engaging subscribers helps them convert and can bring attention to your home for sale.
Access to Well-Vetted Vendors
You should know if the realtor has access to well-vetted services like home staging companies, inspectors, appraisers, contractors, mortgage brokers and moving companies. Although those new to real estate may start out being the only one in the business, they should expand into hiring employees and gaining connections they can rely on to help them successfully sell properties.
They can connect buyers with relevant services they need, making the sale go more smoothly. Check that the professionals they work with are reputable and positively reviewed. You should also inquire about any terminology involving “affiliated.” Ask the realtor if they receive compensation from the vendor.
A lot of people feel uncomfortable asking a realtor what their problem-solving capabilities are like, but this is a good question to ask. You will receive reassurance that they are good at solving problems. They may have attended workshops and seminars or learned through experience in the industry how to effectively solve problems they may come across when selling real estate.
Attention to Detail
Your realtor should have attention to detail because errors in paperwork can interfere with a deal. You can get clues as to whether or not they have good attention to detail by looking at their website and checking reviews. If clients had a bad experience due to their lack of detail, you may find out about it through reviews. Remember to take reviews — both positive and negative — with a grain of salt. They shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when choosing a realtor.
Good Communication Skills
Choose a realtor who’s known to keep in touch with clients and respond quickly to their concerns. You don’t want to have a frustrating experience of poor communication when trying to sell your home. A lack of good communication skills affects their ability to sell the home as well.
Ask the prospective realtor how they communicate with sellers and at what frequency. Do they send email updates twice a week? Do they call you twice a week for sharing updates? Choose a realtor whose communication methods and frequency are in line with what you expect for an enjoyable, smooth experience working with them.
Good Negotiation Skills
A sign that a realtor has good negotiation skills is when they typically close sale prices at close to their list prices. Negotiating when selling real estate is a bit more difficult than when buying real estate. Ideally, a realtor will have at least 4 years of experience selling real estate. They should be very knowledgeable of the market prices. If they’re not knowledgeable about market prices, it’ll be more difficult for them to negotiate good deals. Realtors with at 10 years or more of experience have likely experienced selling during bad times, making them the most desirable.
When you check a realtor’s sale-to-list ratio, the higher the better. A ratio above 100% means they get more than the asking price. As a seller, you want the number as high as possible since it means you’re getting as close to or more than your initial asking price. If you don’t see the sale-to-list ratio on their website, you can ask them what their average asking price and final sales price are. Divide the final sales price by the average asking price to get the sale-to-list ratio.
If you urgently need to sell your home, then the average time it takes the realtor to close a deal is important. If you’re happy with the possibility of waiting a while to sell your home, then this factor won’t matter as much. Remember that there’s no guarantee for how fast a realtor will sell your home, but choosing a realtor who regularly sells homes fast will help.
A good realtor knows how to negotiate, pays attention to detail, communicates well and has a problem-solver mindset. Checking their sale-to-list ratio, reviews, and companies and contractors that they work with will clue you in to how good they are. Ask them the important, difficult questions as well to determine if they’re the right match for you.
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