Buying or selling a home is no minor transaction, and many people like to improve their odds of a positive experience by involving a real estate agent. But despite knowing their realtor will manage critical tasks, such as marketing and price negotiation, most buyers and sellers don’t spend much time getting to know potential candidates. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that in 2016, more than 65 percent of homeowners interviewed only one real estate agent before listing their home.
Word of mouth recommendations are a smart way to identify possible agents, but it’s still wise to compare a few options before making a final decision. Consider your primary motivation for engaging a realtor: Do you need someone to talk you through each step of the process? Are you unsure where to find motivated buyers? Do you need an assertive negotiator on your side? Once you’ve identified what you’re looking for, you can use these questions to find the right agent for the job.
1. How long have you been in the business?
We all start somewhere. New agents provide fresh energy and motivation, but there are some things that simply must be learned on the job, so rookies should be surrounded by experts willing to help tackle unexpected challenges. Talking with a veteran agent? Follow up with a question about professional affiliations. If they’re part of NAR, you’ll know they keep up with continuing education and have agreed to certain ethical guidelines.
2. Which neighborhoods do you work in the most?
Get more specific than just the greater Nashville area. If you’re considering a move to Franklin or selling a home in Germantown, discuss the agent’s familiarity with those distinct locales. Listen for how many homes they’ve sold there recently or what success they’ve had negotiating nearby.
3. What shopping or marketing strategy do you suggest for my needs?
Your agent’s approach to selling or buying becomes your approach, so be comfortable and confident in their strategy. They should be able to discuss details relative to the local market, such as an approximate timeline, specific online marketing platforms or a plan for competing with other buyers. Also, know that some agents specialize in certain price ranges, locations and types of homes. If, for example, you’re an urban-only condominium dweller, a realtor who focuses on that niche may be more valuable to you, especially if you’re shopping on a tight schedule or budget.
4. Can you put me touch with a few references or recent clients?
Good agents will have positive reviews and testimonials. Prior to an interview, you can check an agent’s website and talk to local homeowners, but if you’re moving to a new city or can’t find anything online, it’s okay to ask.
5. Who will I work with throughout this process?
Agents may work independently or be part of a larger office. In the latter case, a realtor may bring in other colleagues for support, and you might be interested in meeting them ahead of time, especially if they’ll be showing your home or accompanying you when you look at properties. Working with a team can be beneficial and expedite the process, just make sure you know what to expect.
It may initially feel awkward, but starting a conversation with an agent is a great way to learn how they can add value to your personal sale or purchase. If you’re ready to make a move in the Nashville area, reach out to one of our agents at The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty. They’ll be more than happy to answer all your questions.