Many people today have focused interests in a few areas in life with less knowledge in others. But, the thing we can pretty much agree on is that we have limited understanding of the world of real estate, unless we’re working in it or are buying and selling properties all the time: which most of us do not! If you want to succeed in the real estate market, either in purchasing or selling a property and ensuring you are making the right decisions, working with a real estate agent is still your best option; and the right one for that matter. A good real estate agent can help you navigate, negotiate and ensure all the details are taking care of thoroughly, so there are no surprises in the end. And although most of us get caught up in looking for homes and comparing houses ourselves, it’s important that you take the time to ensure you decide just which real estate agent to work for. After all, working with a real estate agent should be enjoyable; not frustrating! And, if you understand what to look for in a real estate partner, you’re also better off in the long run. Here are some tips on working with a real estate agent and even what to look for in a real estate agent right from the start:
Understanding the commission
- Remember, most real estate agents work on a commission basis; so it’s important to understand that they need to make a living too! And although you might be looking for a lower commission rate, or even a flat rate or a la carte services, it’s important to know that real estate agents have a number of fees they need to pay on a regular basis just to keep up in their profession. For example: brokerage fees, license fees, advertising, and travel costs are amongst the fees that are being paid from the commission that they earn.
When does the commission get paid?
- Because a real estate agent works on a commission basis, it’s important to remember that they don’t usually get paid until they close a deal (buy or sell a home with their customer). And, they only get paid after the home has exchanged owners and all the legal papers have been completed and the money has exchanged hands by all the parties involved.
Being up front about the level of service you expect
- Being up front with your real estate agent about what you really want them to do for you is also important. Previously we mentioned that there are different levels of service available when working with a real estate agent (i.e. full service, a la carte etc.) which is important for the real estate agent to understand as commissions and fees can be flexible by some; but not by all. Be up front, let them know what you want and then decide who is a good fit for you as not all real estate agents are willing to offer packages outside of full service.
- It’s never nice to waste someone’s time: and that applies to your real estate’s time as well. Be respectful of your real estate agents’ time: keep appointments, meet on time and schedule in advance. In order for a real estate agent to be successful and really good at what they do, it’s likely that they are working for many clients at once and are juggling their responsibilities. Being up front about your expectations can also help as it can set the precedent before deciding on what real estate agent to work with; to ensure they are available when you are.
- You will need to choose your agent carefully and it’s extremely important to understand the real estate agents experience, history, specialty areas, knowledge of your specific market and even personality. Take the time to get to know a few real estate agents prior to working with them as you will be spending time together to ensure the process goes smoothly and you get exactly what you are looking for. Different backgrounds and personalities might be good for some, but not for others. Remember, when you are working with a real estate agent, you are likely making a very large financial decision whether you are buying or selling a house, and it’s important that you are on the same page with the person you decide to work with.
- When interviewing real estate agents, whether doing it online, or in person, make sure your questions are consistent in order to ensure you are giving them an equal opportunity to win your trust and business. It’s also important to interview real estate agents from different brokerage firms to understand what different offerings might be. As much as it comes down to the individual agent you decide to work with, sometimes different brokerage firms might have variations in their overall service offering to ensure you get what you need.
Buying agent versus listing agent
- It’s also important for you to understand the difference between a buying agent and a selling (or listing) agent. Both focus on different aspects of real estate procedures and in some areas, they will only offer one side of what you might need. It’s a good question to ask up front as you might need to work with more than one real estate agent if you are looking to buy and sell a house or property. If you are looking to do both, working with a real estate agent that might offer both services, or be part of a team of real estate agents, might be a good option for you. Either way, ask the question and understand their areas of expertise before making any decisions.
- Most, if not all, real estate agents are very good when it comes to their initial pitch or presentation to potential clients. So much so that the client’s get excited about working with them…and that’s great! But, before signing on the dotted line, keep in mind that there are a number of variables in play that need to be considered which is why some buyers and sellers prefer NOT to meet face-to-face until they have established just what the services and marketing package look like (when selling a house). And, since different areas of real estate require different types of marketing, a standard “cookie-cutter” package may just not be good enough. Exploring the marketing tactics that will be used and understanding them can be helpful in ensuring they are right for you and your property.
- Open houses can be a great way for you to get traffic (potential buyers) into your home; and also a great way to showcase your house to other real estate agents in the area that are looking for homes for their buyers. Work with your real estate agent on the details including staging and preparing your house for open houses. Simply opening the door may not be enough and it’s good to establish a plan and a schedule to ensure your house is presented well and if it can even be helpful to have an open house (or number of them) as it will be dependent on the types of buyers in your area.
What am I signing?
- People always say the “devil is in the details” and that applies to all the forms you will need to sign prior to working with a real estate agent. Ask questions, ensure you get answers and if any detail is unclear, or you are just not comfortable with the answers you are getting, it may be time to look at other potential real estate partners. Remember, working with a real estate agent is a big decision and everything should be explained clearly.
It’s a two way street
- A good real estate agent will also have a number of questions for you. For example: are you pre-approved, what your expectations are, what services you are looking for, your flexibility, willingness to do things in order to help a property to sell etc. A good relationship is a two-way street and you must be completely honest and up-front to ensure the real estate agent you work with understands you, your expectations and that you are a good fit for one another. Be up front, communicate well, and provide as much information as you can up-front to ensure the relationship starts off on the right path.
Article courtesy of Man And Van Services West London where you can find additional tips on the real estate industry including moving services.