Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent is Your Most Important Step in the Transaction
Every time the real estate market is doing well, people rush to get their real estate licenses. For years the media has fed civilians a false illusion that selling real estate is a simple task. I do not intend to speak ill of others and criticize people for deciding to pursue a new career path. I applaud you and am extremely proud of people who take control of their lives. While this is true, it is prudent to be candid and understand that this can be extremely dangerous for consumers.
Real estate has and continues to be the single largest and most meaningful investment the average American makes.
I intend to help the consumer understand that not every agent is created equal. Now more than ever, it is essential to be very careful and do your due diligence when selecting an agent to represent and guide you through the real estate transaction.
Educational and Career Background
Current licensing laws require people only to take a 60-hour course followed by two exams and be able to work with consumers from that day forward!
I recently closed a sale in which I represented the buyer. The property was originally listed for $465k, but after a market analysis and property walkthrough, I concluded that the property was undervalued. The buyer ultimately bought the property for $480k. The property was appraised for $560k. When most buyers have to offer an appraisal gap, this buyer was able to move into a property with $80k in equity!
The moral of the story: the listing agent’s lack of due diligence and effort cost the seller over $80k in profits.
Make sure to select an agent who has the work ethic and educational background to understand statistics and pricing trends. They should be able to speak with data and research and not just opinions.
On average, about 20 people are involved in the real estate transaction, and the real estate agent is perhaps the most involved. A capable agent should be guiding and keeping their customers on a timeline.
“The actual number of real estate agents in Florida is likely somewhere in the high 200,000s to low 300,000s.” Everybody claims they can help you, but please be sure you are not just hiring them out of pity or empathy. If your best friend just got licensed, DO NOT be afraid to ask that you meet the team supporting them and ensure that your best interest won’t just be adequately represented but also professionally managed. Missing small details or deadlines could cost you thousands.
It is falsely assumed that all brokers are involved in the daily operations of their offices. When selecting a real estate agent, it is not enough to just like them. You must examine their team.
My third transaction as a real estate agent is perhaps the most memorable. My lack of experience and support from my broker cost my buyer roughly $5,000. My buyer was unable to obtain financing just days from closing. The listing agent, an agent in the office I was with, bullied me into believing that my buyer had to give up her deposit. This behavior and the sad outcome of this transaction pushed me to switch offices immediately. With my current experience and knowledge, I am confident that this loss could have been avoided.
As a broker, I cannot help but continue to blame my broker for this deal. He neglected to stop the wrong behavior of another one of his agents. I would have stepped in and mediated the situation, and I would not have allowed a buyer who could not obtain financing in their good faith and due diligence to suffer such loss.
One trait that almost always goes overlooked is the agent’s personality and social skills. Being able to work well with others is essential.
Realtors are sometimes known as the managers or messengers of the transaction. The stories I can tell you of when the buyers I was working with walked away from deals because of a bad listing agent are plentiful.
A lively, growth-minded, communicative individual should be among the things on your checklist of what to look for in a real estate agent.
If you are a civilian, I write this post with your best interest in mind. You should not pay the price for somebody else’s inadequacies. Please do your research and interview agents, and ask the difficult questions up-front. Do not be bullied into working with a family or friend just because they want a new hobby. Work with them only if they truly have the passion for helping you and have a strong team and broker supporting them. Do not let your empathy cost you thousands. I assure you that the stress and anxiety from working with an unprepared agent are not worth it.
If you are a real estate agent reading this, please do as Maya Angelou so wisely put it, “When you know better, do better.”