If you are like me, you might live in a city that is flush with real estate agents. Like those big-brands-that-shall-not-be-named coffee shops, there are probably at least two REALTOR®s on every street corner with a few more “up and coming” ones waiting in the wings.
So how do you sift through the seemingly endless options out there to find that “really good one”?
You can go off recommendations from friends, family, co-workers, but ultimately you should still be asking a few key questions no matter who is referred to you or who you pick randomly out of the proverbial “yellow-pages” (i.e. The Google).
Here are questions for determining if the agent before you is really a good match for you in this, inveitably, life-changing experience.
Keep in mind that these questions are geared towards the non-transactional client; the person who cares to know and trust their agent rather than simply hiring someone to complete some paperwork, shake their hand at the end and then never see them again.
1. DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO AND WHY DO YOU DO IT?
This might seem like a strange or odd question to ask when interviewing real estate agents, but you will know instantaneously if the person really does enjoy their work and want to be in their industry, and, consequently, if their attention, heart and focus will be “in it” while they work with and for you. I am not saying that this is a fool-proof question for knowing if they will do a good job for you or not, but it is a darn good way to find out if they are still passionate about their career or if they are just ‘putting in their time’ until something better comes along.
2. DO YOU HAVE OPERATING HOURS (I.E. BOUNDARIES)?
This question is rarely asked in real estate, if ever, but it is important and here is why. There are two sides to the coin of working with a workaholic, someone who has no boundaries and no operating hours. On one side, you know that they are always available, always… any day, any time, at all hours; this fact is great if you want the freedom to text and call your agent at 2-3-4am when you cannot sleep and you just thought of that one, ultra, can’t-possibly-wait-until-morning question. On the other hand, it might also mean that your agent is burning the candle at both ends (you are likely not their only client who calls at all hours). They may not be taking care of their own health (i.e. eating, sleeping etc), which in turn reflects on their quality of work and may impact crucial aspects and elements of your transaction with them; the devil is certainly in the details in real estate.
When I hire a professional, I find a great deal of trust and respect for them when I know that they are taking care of their health and that they know their priorities; it reflects in their work. Which brings me to the last and final question, which, like question two, is rarely asked, but can be very telling.
3. WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
These questions are not meant to be a grueling test for your potential agent, but rather a gauge to understand where you fall in their list of focus (assuming that they even have a list). Here is what I mean by a list of focus; for me, family is number one and I tell all my clients that when they hire me.
What does that mean in practice? It means that early Sunday morning, we do not do showings. Sure, I might take phone calls, negotiate offers and answer emails if they are time sensitive (I’m not throwing my clients out the window when they NEED me), but unless it is 121% the house of your dreams and we have the offer written before we get there, there is not a showing-emergency that cannot be done Sunday late-morning, afternoon or evening. Sunday morning is family time and I am physically present in all aspects for that. Family first also means that if there is a family-emergency, I will be there, and entirely appreciate when that scenario crops up for my clients as well; life happens, we deal with it. Next up my priorities are health and then work because I know that without proper sleep, nutrition and exercise, my work suffers. I consider taking care of myself to be an investment into my business and my work to better serve my clients. I have discovered with most of the successful professionals I work with that the theory is the same and the results speak for themselves.
There are plenty of great agents in your city and each have their merits for why they may be a good match for you to work with. These questions are part of determining a “good fit”, but they are not exclusive or final, they are a starting point for a conversation. I would also highly recommend asking your agent about their service package (buying) or marketing plan (selling) and make your determination from there.
If you do not care who your agent is so long as they ‘get the job done’, disregard the above questions and just go with the first name in the phone book ( or last name if you feel like giving that poor guy at the end of the list a crack). If you want to trust and know your agent, consider asking the questions that will help you make an informed and educated decision about the person who is going to help you spend/make a boat load of money.
If you would like to chat further with me about my service package or marketing plan, feel free to reach out and contact me via email (email@example.com) or through my website by clicking here.