A real estate agent acts as your advisor, your advocate, your guide, helping you make one of the most significant decisions of your life. It is critically important that you know your agent has your best interest at heart, throughout the long process of buying or selling a home.
In Denver, Colorado, the real estate listing contract uses the phrase, “utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity” to describe the extent to which a real estate agent must advocate a buyer or seller’s position. The phrase attempts to capture the idea that your agent has your back.
When you choose your real estate agent, you should select a person with experience selling homes. In addition to real estate experience, your potential agent should possess the following qualities:
- 1. Time to dedicate to your home purchase or home sale.
- 2. High personal integrity
- 3. Noticably high work ethic
- 4. Excellent negotiation skills
Choosing a real estate agent is similar to selecting a doctor or lawyer. With all three professions, your trust in their knowledge and expertise is critical.
How do you know an excellent Realtor when you see one? It is simply, really. Ask the Realtor to review his or her recent transactions. Ask about current mortgage rates. Ask about strong neighborhoods and weak neighborhoods, too.
Ask the Realtor, “What is the most difficult aspect of selling a home?” If the agent answers, “Showing a million homes to an ungrateful buyer, ” then you have unearthed a poor work ethic and a poor attitude. If she says, “Finding a solution when the seller can’t afford a needed repair, ” then you have found a problem-solver that works hard to bring the sale to close.
It is always advisable to ask for references. One young couple recently asked a Realtor, “Can we call your references?” The Realtor responded, “Yes, you can. However, you are the first strangers that I have worked with. All of my past clients are personal friends. ” When you ask for a list of references, be sure to probe the Realtor, “Do you consider any of these people to be your personal friends?”
Most of all, be sure to ask about Continuing Education Coursework. This question will give you a glimpse into your Realtor’s attitude and work ethic. If he responds, “Well, the real estate commission makes us take an annual review course, ” he is essentially communicating that he does not value real estate education. If, on the other hand, he says, “I recently completed a two-day course on negotiation techniques, and I learned a lot of valuable information, ” then you have met someone who seeks self-improvement and is willing to share it with you.
Each of these questions provides you with the opportunity to gauge the agent’s enthusiasm and passion for real estate sales .
Should you bargain the agent’s real estate commission in this first meeting? Yes, try to reduce the agent’s commission, because if the agent is willing to lower his paycheck in this first meeting, you know the agent will be a very poor negotiator on the price of your home.
Never hire an agent who does not value his paycheck. Something is wrong with a Realtor who has a poor sense of professional worth.
In the end, your prolonged interview gives you the opportunity to judge the expertise and work ethic of the real estate agent . Interview two or three Realtors and you will find someone whom you can trust.