As the industry continues to evolve, it is vital to recognize the value of having an effective agent on your side. Many people who are looking to buy a home have limited experience dealing with real estate agents. Buyers have a million things on their mind as they are looking for their dream home. Sellers often find themselves too pressed for time to do a proper amount of research and vetting. For these and other reasons, people may not know how to recognize a good agent from an average (or worse) agent. Here are a few key traits—personal and professional—to look for in a quality real estate agent:
It’s not enough to be an “industry expert” if your agent doesn’t know much about local real estate trends. Sellers looking to list their property require an agent on their side who knows their neighborhood, faults and all. Buyers need someone who can provide more than just a general MLS search. An effective real estate agent is one who uses his or her downtime to brush up on more than just the basics––do they know about specific information? Local history and lore (i.e., local folklore, crimes)? The more detailed (and even quirky), the better, as it is a sign they have put in the time and interest to do their best.
A real estate agent is, essentially, a salesperson. Making a living as a salesperson is no easy feat––unless you’re good at it. A quality agent will distance themselves from the tired clichés associated with selling (think: the “used car salesman” stereotype). As an agent, the best way around this hurdle is to be direct and honest. You should be able to tell within the first five minutes of meeting a prospective agent whether or not he or she is honest. If so, the rest will likely fall into place.
Just about any working professional with a committed sense of organization and attention to detail has already climbed past the halfway point to achieving success, whatever their industry. Organized real estate agents are on top of their game. They take superior photographs of their clients’ property. They communicate effectively with potential buyers. They return phone calls promptly and always arrive at appointments on time. These traits all indicate how on top of your needs they will be.
This one might seem like a no-brainer; however, such details are important. A quality agent knows how to make a great first impression: pressed shirts, shined shoes, and so on. And sometimes, it goes beyond the first impression. Once you’ve met with a prospective agent for the first time, consider the second impression at your next meeting. If you’re laid back and looking for the same, see if they picked up on that vibe––maybe they’ve ditched the tie and unbuttoned the first button on your follow-up visit. It’s all about connecting—physically and figuratively.
An agent with a confident grasp of modern tools and technology will stand out, plain and simple. This could mean reaching more prospective home buyers for their clients through social media or gaining greater insight into current trends within their region through research. A tech-savvy salesperson (who will also likely be more organized and efficient, by default) will always be an asset.
Persistence is the name of the game. So much of real estate involves cold-calling, advertising, marketing—whatever it takes. More agents pack it in after the first two years of obtaining their license than those who stick with it. So an established agent with a solid industry reputation will likely have this trait, but a new agent could just as well because they know what it will take to get established. You will have to go with your gut when you are feeling this out.
A great agent is someone who is not afraid to speak out on behalf of their clients. Warmth is important, but, at the end of the day, your agent is transacting on a major commodity, and, as such, their approach should reflect that with persistence and polite assertiveness. It’s all about balance. Make sure you are working with someone who can keep their emotions in check and communicate thoughts and ideas on cue (and insistently, when necessary) on your behalf.