Best of Luck,
Experience should be a key factor when choosing an agent. So far in 2012, a total of 361 different agents have completed a home sale in Palo Alto. Three of them have completed more than 10 sales in Palo Alto this year (yes, I'm one of the three). 240 agents completed only 1 sale in Palo Alto this year. Look for the top agents but not just those who are the top in your desired city.
All top agents get help so that they can spend their time doing what is most valuable for their clients. Some agents choose to limit how they spend their time by only representing home sellers. If you are both buying and selling in the south bay area, choosing one agent who regularly works with both buyers and sellers can be to your advantage. I believe representing both buyers and sellers provides the best education an agent can get.
Your agent is the face to your credibility in a real estate sale. Choose an experienced top agent.
Juliana Lee, MBA, LLB
Top 3 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty
Over 1,000 homes sold in the South Bay
Over 20 years experience
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
1. Adapt to the ever changing markets â€“ this is important because real estate is drastically different that it was 5 short years ago â€“ many agents have bailed out because they canâ€™t cope with the constant changes and remain relevant. Those who have stuck and come out on top are the ones you want to work with.
2. Sell a large number of homes each year â€“ this is very important because it means experience in a volatile market â€“ today you need experience more than ever before. Donâ€™t hesitate to ask any Realtor for written verification for the number and locations of homes theyâ€™ve sold in the past few years. 85% of agents in the Bay Area sell 6 or less homes a year â€¦ you can make more selling shoes at Meryns â€¦ (oh wait â€¦ theyâ€™re out of business too â€¦)
3. Have a large number of raving past client fans who will refer without hesitation â€“ this, in my opinion, is the most important. As an example, even though I have taken the time to earn a number of accreditations/designations (CRS, CHS, Fine Homes, etc.), they are not as important as the dozens and dozens of letters from clients who were totally delighted with the process and end result and took the time to write about it.
In fact, Iâ€™d like to see a new designation: TRF (Totally Raving Fans) â€¦ youâ€™d need at least 50 to qualify â€¦ :)
A good, experienced, competent agent that listens well to you and responds to your needs is a great agent. In addition, this agent demonstrates knowledge of market trends, and inventory. A great agent communicates well and often with his or her clients. These are the things that make an agent great, not a course.
First of all, I must say that my peers have outdone themselves! Each answer touches to the heart of your question, and then some.
The only thing I might add to answer the question of accredition, would be to seek a professional who is accredited in the area that suits your needs. If you are short selling a home, then you would want an agent with short sales training. If you are relocating to another state due to a job transfer, you may want a relocation specialist or if you are selling a luxury home you would want to consider someone who has a luxury home sales desigantion. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Truth be told, not all designations are equal. Some carry more weight than others. I think the more important qualities and considerations in hiring an agent have already been stated below.
Best of Luck,
More importantly, Amallard, is if you want a great agent - be a great client. Communicate clearly, have your finances in order, have realistic expectations, and be respectful of an agent's time and expertise.
All the best,
They are there for reason. Because an agent took the time to do additional education and provided proof of experience to get those letters after their name. I do agree that they should not be the only thing you look for but it does make for a good start.
Keep in mind that most real estate agents get their licenses with a few weeks of education to past the test. How does additional education hurt? Experience is a definite most in this challenging market. You need more than an average Realtor. I would interview at least three local agents. Below is some questions to help you out in your interview.
1. How many years have you been in the business?
It's not to say that someone that doesn't have years of experience couldn't be a good candidate but they should have at least a few years under their belt to have the knowledge and know how to deal with difficult transactions if they arrive.
2. How many homes did you sell last year?
Just because an agent has been in the business for a while doesn't mean they've been successful. It's important that they are closing deals even in tough markets. The average Realtor only sells 4 houses a year. You need an above average Realtor selling at least 24 houses a year.
3. Are you a full time Realtor?
Having a Real Estate agent that works full time is very important. If a Realtor has to depend on another job you have to ask yourself why? Whether you're buying or selling you will grow frustrated if an agent isn't there to find or protect what is usually your greatest investment. REALTORSÂ® are real estate professionals who belong to the National Association of Realtors. They subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are committed to ongoing education in the real estate industry.
4. How do you communicate with your clients?
There is nothing worse than not being able to get a hold of your agent, with questions, for updates, and for feedback. In today's modern world of technology, there is no excuse for them not to stay in constant contact. Ask what plan of action they use to stay in touch with their clients.
5. How do you negotiate offers on my behalf?
Ask how they have strategically gotten offers accepted in a tight inventory market or how they negotiated an offer to the client's benefit. How do they think outside of the box?
6. Do you have other networking connections?
When buying will they be able to refer you to contractors, mortgage lenders, moving companies, landscapers, pool maintenance crews, and references like that. This will be especially important if you are new to the area. Also when selling do they belong to any Real Estate networks with colleagues from other companies besides their own.
7. Do you have a personal assistant or partner to help you with the detail work?
A producing Real Estate agent usually has an assistant or a partner helping them with all the detailed tasks on hand with getting clients buying and selling. A really good agent also has a ready available title officer, escrow officer, mortgage lender, and notary.
8. What designations and certifications do you hold?
Beyond holding a real estate license, agents can opt to expand their education and skills. There are a multitude of courses and programs available. In general, these certifications mean a more specialized agent.
9. Are you willing to share the names of all of your current clients as references? Past clients?
Ask the clients how their experience was? Did they listen to your needs and put your interest first? Did they do everything they promised?
The only time that I believe accreditation makes a big difference is if you are buying a short sale or REO. These types of sales are not like traditional sales and specialized education is needed. Otherwise, being a Realtor is essential, but most agents in this area are, as opposed to other areas of the country. Once you spend some time with an agent you will get a feel if they are able to meet your needs. What you are looking for in a seller's agent may be different from what you want in a buyer's agent, but the bottom line is there is no substitute for experience, hard work, a level head, and great communication.
Keller Williams Realty
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
At your service,
Certified Distressed Property Expert
Personally, as much as letters after the name do represent that the agent has been keeping up on his/her education, it does not speak to their ability to make you happy in a transaction.
Ask your friends, family, coworkers who they worked with and why they liked them.
This may be an antiquated way to find an agent, but it will find you the BEST agent for you.
All RealtorsÂ® are licensed to sell real estate as an agent or a broker but not all real estate agents are RealtorsÂ®. RealtorsÂ® belong to the National Association of Realtors and pledge to follow the Code of Ethics, a comprehensive list containing 17 articles and underlying standards of practice, which establish levels of conduct that are higher than ordinary business practices or those required by law. Less than half of all licensees are RealtorsÂ®.
If you have an agent in mind the first thing to do is simply Google their name. A good agent will likely have dozens of pages with infomation you can review. Then visit their website and look for testimonials and additional information regarding their careers.
Referrals from a trusted friend or business colleague are a great resources.
You are welcome to contact me directly at Deborah@TheHerridgeGroup.com 201-400-2980
if I can be of any further assistance I would be happy to help you in any way. Best of Luck!