With around 15,000 actively licensed real estate brokers and agents in Palm Beach County, finding the right one for you and your family can be daunting. Unfortunately, the consequences of making the wrong choice can keep you from reaching the closing table.
How do you know if the real estate agent you’ve chosen was the right one? Here, we offer some suggestions for choosing a Realtor we think you would do well to abide by.
Trust but verify in the recommendations and reviews
The single biggest source by which new clients step through the doors of Copeland & Co. is through a personal referral from a previous or current client. That should be true of any service-based professional or company worth it’s salt, whether you’re talking about a Realtor, a dentist, or a plumber.
You can nab yourself an excellent referral by asking your friends, family members, and co-workers. If you know three people, at least one should know a Realtor. If you ask five people, your bound to be get at least one person who raves about their Realtor. If you’re moving to a new town, consider relying on a neighbor.
Don’t consider a recommendation to be a substitute for doing your own legwork, though. Vet the recommended Realtor by finding their profile on Zillow, and Google. Zillow reviews are helpful, but they are almost 100% rosy. Try to find a Google My Business page for the Realtor, and read those reviews. Google Reviews show up on the Google map entry for the Realtor’s office. People tend to be more honest about a service on Google, over Zillow.
If your Realtor has anything but all 5-star reviews on Google like Copeland & Co., you may want to just keep looking until you find one who does.
Interview the Realtor like you’re hiring for a job – because you are!
Whether a Realtor you’re considering is refereed to you, or whether you find a Realtor you like on your own merits, always interview your Realtor before you begin working with them. This is especially important if you are considering hiring the Realtor as a sales agent to sell your home.
Approach your initial conversations with the Realtor just as you would if you were hiring a new employee. Appropriate and insightful questions to ask:
Get to know the candidate. These questions are intended to help you discover how knowledgable the Realtor is about the area you are buying or selling in.
These questions are intended to help you qualify a Realtor’s experience. You want to hire a full-time Realtor who has been in real estate at least two years. There’s nothing inherently wrong about hiring a newly licensed agent, if the agent comes clean to your questioning. In fact, a new agent is sometimes more hungry and motivated that those who have been in the game for decades, and therefore will work twice as hard to earn your business. That’s a plus. But, an agent who is dodgy or short with your questioning is waiving a big red flag.
Always ask this very important question: How many transactions did you close last year, or this year-to-date? Serious agents know this answer to an exact number. If your agent hesitates, or says something vague like “a few!”, then that’s your cue to pass.
Feel for the “gel” between you and your agent
This analysis is the least scientific of all, but it’s our most important suggestion. Just like when you meet any stranger for the first time and you “feel them out”, you should get an inherent instinctual gut-feeling about your Realtor, and it should be a good one. Are you “clicking” with this person? Follow your intuition, particularly if it wants to lead you away and to another agent.
Why is this so important? Because you and your Realtor will be embarking on what is generally considered to be the single most important financial purchase of your lifetime. Real estate transactions are complicated. They are messy. Things go wrong. Sometimes the consequences of those things that are sure to go wrong are minute, and easily overcome. Sometimes they are not.
The key is usually the experience, skill, and understanding of your Realtor, and their ability to focus on problem-solving. If you’re not “geling” with your Realtor, then you’re not going to trust them. And without trust, the complicated financial transaction could fall apart, resulting in a loss of time, money, and sanity for you.
If you’re currently working with a Realtor, ask yourself some hard questions:
–Do I trust in my heart of hearts that my Realtor knows what they are doing?
–Why did I hire this Realtor? Because someone told me to? Is that enough?
–Would I be friends with this Realtor outside of this transaction?
If you sense some doubt in the answers you come up with, it may be time to cut-and-run. You can always start over with a better agent – so long as it’s before it’s too late.