If you are planning to sell or rent your property, you may want to consider working with a real estate agent to help you navigate the process and eventually find a buyer or renter for your property.
Working with professional real estate agents can save you a whole lot of headache by having an agent interfacing between you and the buyer or renter (for instance, you won’t have to be the one receiving the calls from interested buyers/renters, arranging for inspection, etc).
However, finding a good real estate agent is not that easy. While you may have a relative or neighbor who is into real estate, it is advisable you critically consider if the person is the right person for the job. You don’t want to loose money due to someone messing up with your valued property.
The following are 5 key things you should consider before you hire an agent.
- Local Expertise
Local expertise is key because real estate markets differ from city to city with sharp differentials even within very close city or neighborhoods. So you need to know the area the agent covers to determine if the agent has the local knowledge about the real estate market where your property is located.
One way to go about this is by contacting an agent and first asking which areas they cover without first disclosing where your property is located. You can then make your decision accordingly. Better still, you can use Hutbay Agents Directory to search for agents that covers the area your property is located.
One added advantage of working with an agent who has local knowledge of an area is that they have more informed opinion about the true monetary value of your property and can help you avoid a situation where your property is sold below its true price or your property end-up staying too long in the market without a buyer because its price is above the value of similar properties in that area.
- Years in Business
We advise you work with only real estate professionals. They will be more professional but may charge you a higher fee. Ask how long the agent has been actively selling or renting out properties. The more experience they have the better. Specifically, you need an agent who is more experienced selling/renting properties in the area where your property is located.
- Read Reviews or Recommendations
If an agent is experienced, he or she will have clients that have been served in the past. Ask the agent you’d like to see the reviews or recommendations by past clients. You may ask the agent to provide you list of some properties he/she has sold in the past and the phone number or email of their clients. You want to know what the asking price of the each property, the sales price and the time each property spent in the market before they were sold.
Agents have profiles on Hutbay where you read their reviews. Ask the agent to point you to his is her profile page on Hutbay where you can view in detail reviews by past clients, current listings and properties agent have sold or rented in the past.
- Test the Agent
A professional agent will know about most if not all available properties within the area where he or she covers. It is normal for agents to know about other properties that are available in their area off the top off their head. You can test the agent’s local expertise by bringing up conversation about a recently sold property you know off that is in the same area as your property. If the agent recognize the property and can give you a some details, then you can safely assume that the agent knows your area.
- Breakdown of Fees
Agents live on commission which is a percentage of the price a property is sold or rented. That is, they make money only when they are able to sell or rent out a property. And you need to discuss this early with the agent. Ask the agent to give you a breakdown of what he or she is going to charge you upon closing. If you think there are huge demands for your kind of property, you have some negotiating power to bargain for reduced commission; however, you will need to be careful that you don’t bargain too far so that the agent is encouraged to get you optimum results.
If an agent charges far below normal commission rate, that may be a flag or pointer to a possible shoddy dealing by the agent. Some bad agents have been known to connive with a buyer to buy a seller’s property at a price far below the asking price with the secret agreement that the buyer will give the agent a percent of the difference between the correct price of the property and the price the seller bought the property.