Thursday, February 28, 2013

Looking for a Real Estate Agent? This may help...

 Picking a real estate agent to represent you these days can be pretty stressful since there are so many to choose from.  Some may think one is as good as the next but that is certainly not the case.  I see differences on a daily basis while dealing with other agents so why don't we discuss a few so you know what to expect..

1) Unavailable Agents - these are agents who get to things on their own time.  Easily recognized - they are slow returning phone calls - if at all.  These agents  tend to limit their access and usually have voice messages stating that calls made after a certain time will be returned the next business day.  On the surface you may think that sounds reasonable - until the day you stumble across your dream home at 6pm while out and about and cannot reach your agent.  Unfortunately - the home sellers are reviewing offers that very night and your agent will not be around to help you get your offer in.  Oh, well... maybe next time. If you have this type of agent representing you on the selling side, you may want to consider the possibilities as well.  Can you really afford to have an agent responding to calls the next day?  Let's say you have interested buyers just steps away from your front door but they were unable to reach anyone for an appointment.  They would have written an offer on your home if only they had gotten access.  Luckily for them, they did find a home that night - your neighbor's home down the street. Their agent answered the phone and got the buyers in that night.

2) Bull Dog Agents - this is my name for overly aggressive agents.  Everyone would ideally want these types representing them since they are tenacious.  They are the ones proudly telling their clients how they are protecting them by fighting for every nickle.  Getting the best deal is not even good enough for they want their side to win and the other side to lose.  You may be wondering what can possibly be wrong with that?  Nothing - until you find out no other agent wants to deal with them.  
Let's say you and another buyer make an offer on the same home.  You have your bull dog agent chomping at the bit to get you the best deal.  Perhaps he or she even calls the listing agent to set the tone - explaining all the various reasons why their seller's home is overpriced and how they should feel lucky to have such a well qualified person as yourself submitting an offer. The competing buyer has an agent who also fights for clients but chooses a softer approach.  He or she may also call the list agent, but only to say how much their buyer appreciates the home and how they would love the opportunity to get into escrow.  Money wise - both offers are close or possibly your offer is even higher.  Unfortunately for  you the other offer is chosen. You may find this to be the trend but you never understand why?  Many do not realize that their agent's approach can be the deciding factor.  Offending the other side or giving an impression that any potential deal will be a fight to the very end can be a negative. Overall everyone wants to feel they negotiated a good deal so successful agents will structure their approach to facilitate the sale while still protecting their clients.

3) Tell Me What I Want To Hear Agents - The last type of agent we'll talk about are those who regularly take overpriced listings - telling homeowners they can secure for them whatever price they want.  These agents beat other agents by selling hope of a better payday over the realities of the market.  Selling hope is not a bad thing in itself and sometimes it may even work out but most times it just brings problems for the sellers.  For instance since the homeowner is convinced they can get an unrealistic amount, they may turn down fair market value offers. Days begin to pass and potential buyers start to assume that something is wrong with the home.  Eventually, any offers received may be less than market value since remaining buyers are afraid of dealing with potential issues so offer less to protect themselves. 
Even though pricing is not an exact science, there are ways to tell if you are in your general range.  Agents should always be able to provide comps of recent sales within a close proximity of your home.  If none are available, then either their search area or timeline will need to be adjusted.  Everyone wants the highest amount for their home but one must still be realistic.

Before assuming all agents are the same, take the time to investigate your targeted agent's knowledge and availability.  Expand your criteria and don't rely on any specific area. If you are only looking for the most experienced agents, you may find ones who are the most burnt out.  Looking for enthusiasm may bring the greenest agents who are still developing knowledge of the industry.  Deciding that you will only work with the biggest agents in the area may result in your taking a backseat to higher priced clients or being passed onto assistants who are still learning the ropes. Your
 ideal agent should have a good range of knowledge and availability.  Granted, not everyone will pick up their phone on the first ring or return your email immediately but they should be able to regularly get back to you within a reasonable amount of time.  Before signing with anyone - try contacting them at different time of the day and ask plenty of questions about the buying/selling process to check their knowledge. That should help you find out who'll represent you the best because not all agent s are the same.