|As CEO, you must recruit the best talent. Buying or selling a house is just like a business deal – and you need the right lieutenant to get the job done. Agents should be familiar with neighborhoods and selling trends. You want someone who will go above and beyond to make things happen in this slow real estate market.
One of the best ways to find a good agent is to ask friends and family. They often can provide names of people they have worked with and liked. Checking newspaper ads, going to open houses and writing down agent names listed on For Sale signs in your neighborhood (especially ones that say “Sold”) also might help you locate agents.
But the process doesn’t stop there. Once you have a list of names, be sure to interview the candidates so you can determine which one will best meet your needs.
“The purpose of the interview is to feel comfortable, to know it’s a person that you can work with and trust,” said Pat Vredevoogd of Coldwell Banker AJS Schmidt in Grand Rapids and the 2007 president of the National Association of Realtors.
Vredevoogd suggests that potential buyers and sellers ask agents about advanced real estate classes they might have taken. That can indicate how experienced and dedicated the agent is.
“This is a huge investment, and you want to be sure they have all the knowledge to protect you,” Vredevoogd said.
Jessica Veitch and her husband, Jason, worked with three agents before settling on Chris Courtney of Remerica Hometown in Plymouth.
They closed on a 837-square-foot, three-bedroom ranch in Berkley on Friday.
“He took time with us and was willing to work with us,” Veitch said. “He didn’t care that we were not looking for a real expensive house.”
Here are other questions to consider:
*How many years has the agent been on the job? You may prefer someone who has been selling homes for years. Or you might prefer the fresh perspective and energy of someone newer to the field. Ask for a resume and references.
*How compatible are you? Don’t underestimate the importance of personality. Buying or selling a house is often stressful and emotionally challenging. Comfort and trust are key.
*Does the agent know the neighborhood? Local knowledge is crucial.
*What level of customer care will you receive? An agent will be your partner in a huge financial undertaking, so you want to choose someone who is always ready, willing and available. The communication needs to stay open and your phone calls need to be returned quickly.
*For sellers, what is the marketing plan for your home? Ask for a list of ways the agent plans to market and advertise your house. That can include print ads, Internet marketing, flyers, postcards and direct mail. Ask for samples to see the quality and professionalism of the presentation.
*What about commission? Traditionally, a seller pays around 6% in commissions; 3% goes to the seller’s agent and 3% to the buyer’s agent. Commissions, however, can be negotiated.