For most of us, buying and selling real estate is the largest monetary transaction that we personally experience.
Dealing with a six figure sales prices can be intimidating when it has to do with our own personal finances. Good real estate tips are very important when looking for your next home. A bad experience in a real estate transaction can have life altering consequences and severely affect your long-term goals. Because I know the weight of it, I am writing this post to warn those who might be tempted to hire the first REALTOR they know.
Friends, family members, church buddies, neighbors, and community groups are all the life blood of a bad Real Estate Agent.
Mediocre real estate agents depend on these relationships to find new clients. It’s always disheartening when I see the look on a buyer or seller’s face after a negative experience with their realtor, even from the other side of the closing table. They usually look exhausted and ready to move on and get past the whole experience.
I know this post will resound with my friends who work in the real estate industry. Professional REALTORS usually have many stories of dealing with lousy real estate agents who are incompetent beyond understanding. If you put 5 professional agents at a table and ask them to share their stories, you’ll probably be there for several hours. It’s very hard to write this article without sharing some of my own personal favorites, but for the sake of time I’m going to pass. I will say that I was inspired to get my Real Estate license after many bad experiences with the REALTORS I used buying my first few homes. One common thread I’ve noticed in these real estate horror stories is that the unprofessional REALTOR’s clients were usually friends or relatives. I fell for it myself a couple of times.
Real Estate Tips: Professional business transactions and personal friendships can be a dangerous combination.
It’s easier to confront someone who is strictly a business consultant, than it is to challenge someone who you will know and see on a regular basis in the future. If you hire your friend to be your REALTOR and they are not very good at their job, you now have a recipe for an awkward situation. You need to think about this upfront.
The simple facts are that 90% of real estate transactions are done by the top 10% of the real estate agents in the area. There are way too many agents who simply have a license as a hobby, since REALTORS do not have bosses and usually have very little accountability. This industry is very attractive to people who have problems with authority, have a hard time working 40+ hours per week, and want to take off of work whenever they want. It’s part of the reason why REALTORS have such a bad reputation and why many people try to avoid them. A professional REALTOR will be highly skilled at communicating, marketing, advising, and executing each step of the real estate process in a professional manor. For this reason, good real estate agents who work hard and take care of business typically absorb much of the business in their local areas. These are the agents you want to work with!
Given these statistics, the chances that your friend or relative is in the top 10% of agents is unlikely. For every good REALTOR, there are 9 more floating around posing as a good agent. You’ll probably never find a real estate agent who says, “I’m not great at my job, but please give me a chance.” It’s much more likely that every agent you meet will present themselves as the best choice for you. This is why you have to be a smart consumer and do your homework.
Here are some questions to help you determine whether your friend or relative is a good asset for your real estate needs:
1.) Are they full-time and how many deals do they close per month/year?
Many agents are not full-time REALTORS. The average realtor only closes 12 deals per year, according to the National Association of Realtors (http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics). I would suggest finding an agent who closes at least twice that. They will have much more experience with contracts and problematic scenarios.
2.) Do they have good feedback online?
Check Google, Zillow, Trulia, and any local sites to find feedback and reviews on your potential agent. Simply Google the agents name, along with the word “reviews” and see what comes up. If your REALTOR does a lot of transactions, but has no feedback online, chances are that they have opted out of allowing their feedback to be shown.
3.) Do they seem like a local expert?
Ask them about specific neighborhoods, schools, and statistics. Take their responses and see if they match the data that you find through your own research. Make sure that they really know the areas that you are most interested in. Look for any specific information they can provide about your top choice areas on their webpage, or blog.
4.) Are you hiring them because you know them, or because they are professional?
Be honest and firm with your answer to this question. If you are hiring them as a favor, you could be making a huge mistake. Make sure that you are hiring them because you know that they are professional and will get the job done.
If you do the research and find that your friend or relative is among the best REALTORS in your area, you should consider yourself very fortunate. Let them know that you have researched them and that you understand how hard they work and how valuable they are to you. This will most likely cause your time together to result in the best possible outcome as you team up to achieve your real estate goals.
On the other hand, if you do your research and find that your friend or relative is not very active and you are having doubts about their professionalism, PLEASE MOVE ON! It’s not worth handing them the largest monetary transaction that you will personally experience. You can let them suggest types of plants for your landscaping, recipes for great desserts, where to get great deals on shoes, but just DON’T LET THEM NEAR YOUR REAL ESTATE DEALS. Be strong and find an agent who is professional, very active locally, and who has great reviews.
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