It can be a challenge to find the right real estate agent. In areas like Nevada County, there are so many different companies and agents to choose from. How do you know if you’ve found the right one? What qualities should you look for when selecting an agent? We’ve put together the ultimate list of 7 critical qualities your real estate agent should possess.
This sounds basic, but you’d be surprised by how many people market themselves as “agents” when they don’t hold a valid, current real estate license. Licensed agents are held to the standards and responsibilities governed by the state’s real estate commission. The laws for real estate vary by state but make sure that the person handling your sale is a qualified and licensed real estate agent in good standing. How can you check? Ask for his or her license number. Then you can double check the name and agent number on the California real estate commission website.
2. Readily Available
Real estate is an unpredictable business, and you don’t want to lose out on a sale or closing on a deal because your agent wasn’t immediately available when someone showed interest. Make sure that your agent is ready to focus on you when you meet for an appointment. You don’t want to have to deal with an absentee agent who doesn’t answer your calls or emails. Great agents should be comfortable with constant communication and prompt replies. They should be willing to communicate via phone, text, or email, even after business hours. Make sure that they are just as committed to selling your home or buying a home as you are.
Look for an agent who has a successful sales record in your area. Markets vary considerably and great agents know the ins and outs of your particular city or town. Even if an agent has years of experience, she or he may not have the local knowledge to be successful in your particular area. Also, make sure that your agent specializes in the type of property you’re handling. If you’re buying or selling a residential property be sure to work with a residential agent. Your agent needs to be knowledgeable in the type of real estate you’re dealing with because not all markets are the same. Lucky for you, all of our agents are great at what they do. That’s whey we’ve been voted the best in the county so often!
4. Backed by Local Data
Your agent should know how to retrieve localized data and use it effectively. Local data points, including housing trends (top regions, average value of similar homes, home improvement spending), can be used to price your home competitively, market appropriately, and negotiate intelligently. You want an agent who knows why they are pricing your home at a certain price and has the research to back it up. You also want a buying agent who knows how to negotiate a deal on your behalf.
5. Well Connected and Reputable
Look for an agent who already has a list of prospective buyers or who works within a well-known and well-connected real estate agency (maybe one with four offices located around western Nevada County). The more people and agents that your agent knows, the more likely they’ll be to sell your home quickly. Similarly, a well-connected agent can promote your listing to their network of out-of-state and international buyers. In other words, the size and quality of your agent’s network can greatly expand your pool of potential buyers. And don’t forget to read the testimonials from previous clients before hiring an agent. Take those reviews with a grain of salt. Ask people who have worked with the agent before what it was like working with them.
When it comes to selling your home, you want your agent to be brutally honest about what your home is worth and what you can do to raise the value of your home. Although it seems like a dream, you don’t really want an agent that just sells your home as is with little to no fixes. They want to sell your home as quickly as possible, which is why they might be a little harsh with the critiques. Don’t take it personally if your agent tells you to rip out that shag rug or repaint the neon lime walls in your home. They know what sells. Regardless of what type of market we are in, you want to make sure that your house is in tip top condition when it hits the Internet and local market. Also, your agent should be transparent about how he or she determined the price. You should be able to see which resources were used to estimate the value and how the amenities of the listing impact the price. Like the section on backed by local data, you don’t want an agent to slap a price on it. You want to make sure that there is an honest evaluation of how much your home is worth that will help it sell quickly.
7. Tech Savvy
Although many people in Nevada County find home listings through the newspaper or real estate advertisements, your agent should also have other ways of reaching out to buyers. You need your agent to know the ins and outs of selling a home online. From Zillow and Trulia and every other real estate website in between, they need to have a strong online presence to sell your home. Some buyers won’t even come to see a home if there isn’t a great online description, accompanied by both images and videos of the property. Look at your agent’s portfolio of homes for sale to see how they represent their other clients’ properties. You want an agent who has videos and great pictures of your home for prospective buyers to see. If you notice a trend of bad pictures, lack of posts online, or not even being featured in the local paper, you might need to ask them more questions about how they market their properties.
Your real estate agent can make or break your home buying or selling experience. They can either help make the process smooth, or they can make it so terrible you’ll never want to sell again. Always meet an agent in person before hiring one and ask tons of questions to make sure he or she has qualities of a great agent. Remember, you will be spending many days with them whether you are a buyer or a seller. Make sure the person you decide to work with is someone you like and can spend a lot of time with.