The EXIT Key Advantage
Whether you are buying or selling your home in the Shapleigh area of Maine, a qualified real estate professional will help you successfully navigate the process of a real estate transaction, regardless of the complexity. Searching for the right real estate professional can be a daunting task and when trying to decide what to look for in a good agent, the following topics and ideas should be considered.
Personality is not a good substitute for skill, nor service.
Training/Education. It's commonly known there simply is no substitute for age and wisdom. They go hand in hand. When considering "hiring" a professional to assist or handle your real estate transaction, experience is important but continued professional training and education is a strong indicator of an agents dedication and commitment to their profession.. Agents who take the initiative to continually improve their knowledge, and those who train into specialties and receive special designations, are agents that should make the cut. Aside from the State of Maine requirement of only 8 hours of continuing education every two years, study initiative and the determination to be a good professional separates the knowledgeable haves from thehave-nots. Knowledge is key to everything in real estate, and together with experience and wisdom, is the formula for success. It is this success factor that is in the customers and clients best interest.
Experience. Ever purchase a car without a test drive? Probably not. Choosing a real estate professional without a sufficient level of expertise is probably not wise either. While length of professional service alone is no guarantee of professional excellence, it is generally believed that the more experience one acquires, the more experiential knowledge they hold. To consumers in the selection process, this becomes the most important element of qualification. Left unchecked, an inexperienced agent can cost you and most often, without your knowledge.
When choosing an agent with a less than desirable level of experience, request references or ensure that the agent is under good tutelage or mentorship.
These are not skills that are perfected by classroom study. They are indeed a skill set learned and improved over time and with actual experience.
Availability. Now here is a tough one. Some of the best agents you can think of are, well, usually not available when you need them. Good Buyer's agents are busy, usually with buyers. Listing agents are busy because that is what they practice. They list properties. An abundance of listings is by design and is what makes them successful. With this abundance, an agent relies on the odds of selling and most often equates to their top production status (especially through the consumers eyes). It is a percentage game, usually at the cost of good customer service. Choose a busy listing agent and the likelihood of receiving good customer service is greatly diminished. They will market your home the most convenient and efficient way they know as they continue to pursue more listing inventory.
You should always choose a professional that will provide you full-time availability and whether you choose a Sellers or Buyers agent, they should provide you with a commitment of service.
Service Ability. Related to and in contrast to Availability, good customer or client service is an important attribute of a good agent. They are good time managers and stay in contact with you, providing you with accurate and timely information about the housing market, enabling you to make smarter marketing and buying decisions, as necessary. Good agents are tuned into their market and their clients. They will stay the course with you and be available when you need them.
- Will the agent you use to market your home take you from beginning to end?
- Will they handle all the marketing aspects and advertising for your home? Or... will they drop off your file with company "staffers" who handle all the details of marketing, the sale, and the entire transaction? (Always ask an agent about their "process". There is as much individually here as there are agents.)
- Will your Buyers Agent spend the time with you to help you determine the right home?
- Will they provide you with a "complete" interpretation of information and the right resources?
- Will they willingly show you all the homes that meet your criteria, or just those in their inventory? Buyers' agents should disclose the commission they will make on any particular home of interest.
Technology Resources. Here is where the 'NOW' rubber meets the road. The agent you choose must possess more than just good knowledge of the area or friendly customer service. They must be technology proficient. Are they techno-resourceful? Can they deliver all of the above expectations with-and-by today's standards? Technology is well upon the real estate industry and has led to the creation of a new genre of top producing agents (techno agents, E-agents, internet agents, etc.) while other agents continue to operate their business as usual. Agents that embrace and implement new technologies spend more money in the marketing their properties and in making that information available to their clients.
It has become personal again!
Some large companies have technology and tools available to their agents for a cost, and for the most part, technologies are available to most agents, but agents must be willing to spend the money and extra time to effectively understand and leverage these tools. Many companies simply do not train their agents to be techno-savvy. This qualification or talent is usually acquired through a level of self-determination and is most evidenced by a strong website or internet presence and whether they employ additional tools or internet syndication methods in their listing marketing plans. A good agent will offer value added services in addition to what their company provides. Here is where agents can make their grade:
- Implemented Technology
- On-line Active Social Networking
- Internet Marketing, Syndication
- Multiple Visual and Virtual Tours
- Multiplex Communications
- Leads Generation and Capture Systems
In summary, the agent representing your real estate interests should be examined closely. Ensure that they meet or exceed your expectations AND industry standards. Summarizing their qualifications using the above guidelines will help ensure that you will be comfortable with your agent choice. A good agent should not hesitate to provide you with a resume (and you should never hesitate to ask for one.) Also, seek out references such as past clients with whom they have previously worked.
Your real estate agent is like the other professionals you choose in life ... and it's usually not your cousin or your sister-in-law. There are many resources available to guide you in locating the right agent equal to your task. There are new standards in this business. Overall, selecting an agent is a very important decision, and once you make your selection, you should expect results equal to that choice.
Agents are not commodities and should not be considered interchangeable.