An agent is like a business partner, there is a lot more than the fee or charm that will play out as
a factor in possibly the biggest financial decision in your life. The difference between the right
agent and the wrong one can be thousands of dollars. This amount is not what you pay in
commission but rather what you pay in mistakes. For that reason, it is essential to focus on
finding the right agent for your objectives and not just the one that is right on paper or because
of the impressiveness of their pitch. For many buyers and sellers, selecting a buyer's or seller's
agent is often complex. However, to help you, I’ve broken this process down into five parts
based on methods proven to work.
Get to Know Your Agent
Considering how much time you will be spending with your agent; you need to have an agent
whose personality complements yours. If you need a strict regimen to feel calm and in control of
the transaction, be sure you hire an agent that understands those traits and supports them. If
you need an agent to take the reins and guide the process, you need to find one comfortable
doing that. The most important aspect of choosing the right agent is understanding that hiring an
agent is about partnership. As long as your agent is either helping you buy or sell a property,
they are the closest ally you have in the process and should advocate for your benefit.
In the instance you are searching for a buyer's agent, it is also good to choose an agent that
picks up on your cues to avoid having awkward conversations while touring a property.
Assess Their Track Record
Due to the transactional nature of real estate, you aren't restricted to searching through your
agent's resume to determine their level of experience. Instead, a far more accurate gauge of
their experience is the number of successful transactions they have managed. You can ask your
agent how many transactions they’ve successfully chartered. If the number is less than you
expect, enquire about it, likewise if it is more.
Some agents won't have as impressive a catalog because they choose to make the experience
a bespoke one and rather want to work with only a handful of clients at a time. Others may have
honed their skills – or rely on a capable team – to such an extent that they can conduct
hundreds of very successful transactions annually. It all boils down to strategy. What should be
most concerning is if your agent doesn't have any rhyme or reason behind the number of
transactions they are completing annually.
Discuss Their Availability
No real estate agent is going to talk their skills or ability down and risk losing clients. But one
way to determine if the agent is the right fit for you is to ask about their schedule. How busy are
they for the next month or two?
Availability is critical, especially if you want to avoid receiving several “sorry I only saw this now”
emails and messages. Availability will also ensure they can dedicate more of their resources to
Research Their Brokerage
Behind every great real estate agent is an even greater brokerage. Knowing that your agent is
part of an unrivaled team gives you peace of mind that your agent has a level of commitment
and service you won't receive from other agents. Besides, many bespoke brokerages want to
uphold their distinguished name or, in the case of newer brokerages, want to develop a good
reputation. Therefore, you're almost certainly guaranteed a detail-orientated experience if you
choose a better brokerage with a meticulous team.
Determine if Their Skills Meet Your Needs
What is your agent great at? Most agents have similar commissions, so why not find the best
one if you will be paying the same?
To find the best agent my advice is to ask about their real-world experience dealing with specific
situations. Doing this gives you an accurate sense of their capabilities and skills and helps you
determine how comfortable they will be handling your needs.
If you're a buyer, ask them about situations where they got the buyer a home where they may
have offered below the asking price. If you're a seller, discuss their approach to days on the
market, focusing on how their strategy may change as the home remains on the market. As a
seller, you should also take a keen interest in their pre-listing strategy.
Agents are naturally confident, charming people. It’s our job to make you feel comfortable. But,
to find the right agent, I would encourage you to dig beyond the facade. Doing this guarantees
you are hiring an agent that is as invested in meeting your goals as you are.