Buying a home may be one of the biggest financial and lifestyle decisions you will ever make. For some, it will only happen once. That’s why it’s important to ensure you make the right decisions along the way, and one of the most important aspects of buying a home is selecting a real estate agent.
There are thousands of realtors in Orlando. Some have vast knowledge of the area, others have an in-depth grasp on the laws and the market, but in my opinion, there are many other factors to consider when buying or selling a property. I have been a client in both situations (buying and selling) property, and I have dealt with my fair share of agents.
I’ve had agents who never returned my call (I guess they were so successful that they didn’t need any more business), agents who didn’t keep us updated as to the status of a transaction, and agents who didn’t even bother to respond to an offer we submitted! These are the agents that I will go out of my way not to work with in the future, and especially in a market like this (a buyer’s market).
So, here are the attributes that make a realtor successful, which in turn makes you successful:
Personality: This is important. You will, potentially, be spending a lot of time with this person. Possibly, stuck in a car with them, and sitting across a table from them on more than one occasion. You want to make sure you choose someone who doesn’t annoy or irritate you, in any way. If you choose wisely, you may even build a life-long friendship with your realtor!
Licensed: Sounds crazy, but it happens. Not only should your real estate agent be licensed, you should make sure they are in good standing. How, you ask? Google is a great place to start. You can search for their name, but be sure to use quotes (“Chris Smith”). If your realtor has a common name like the example, you could try to make your search more specific (“Chris Smith, Orlando Realtor” or “Chris Smith, Orlando Real Estate Agent”). Every real estate agent needs to fall under a broker, who will more than likely have a website which lists their agents. This is also a good way to find out what others have to say. People complain, not only in person to their friends, but online as well – on social media sites, in forums and message boards.
Tech Savvy: This is critical, especially in today’s world ― 98% of consumers begin their search online, so you need to make certain they know how to make your home stand out online. You can determine this, again, by visiting Google, or you can ask them. They should not only understand the internet and search engines (Google and Bing), but should have a strong web presence (website and/or blog) and if they’re active in social media, that’s an even bigger bonus!
Knowledgeable: Your agent should not only know their way around a sales contract, they need to be a good negotiator as well. Unfortunately, just because someone has a real estate license, doesn’t mean they understand either. It’s also advised to find an agent that specializes in what you are buying (or selling). A residential agent for residential properties, a commercial agent for a commercial properties, etc. They should also be familiar with the area(s) they work in. Someone who just moved from out of state might not be the best choice.
GREAT Communicator: The number one complaint in the real estate industry is lack of communication. So many agents are HORRIBLE communicators, despite the fact that it is one of the most important parts of being a real estate agent. So many don’t answer the phone, return phone calls or emails – or don’t give regular updates, unless asked. The agent you choose should be available, attentive and communicate with you in the method you prefer; albeit, phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, what-have-you). They should also be willing and able to give you regular updates ― even if there is nothing new to report.
Honest: I’m one of those, probably too honest for my own good, but if I were in someone else’s shoes, I would want to hear the truth. Having a realtor that is willing to tell you the truth, even if it stings a little, is in your best interest. “Bobby, it’s probably a good idea if we put the deer head and antlers out of sight.” or “ They know what Someone that is going to tell me the truth whether I want to hear it or not. “Yes, Mr Garner, that purple carpet is ugly and needs to go” or “Stephen, the deer head or stuffed bear in the den is not a good idea”.
Full Time: Real estate is a full time job. Having an agent who can’t respond to an offer, or submit an offer until they get out of work can make or break a real estate transaction. This is where an agent with a team can be beneficial as they can cover for each other if the other is unavailable.
In a nutshell, the real estate agent you choose will know their business well and always put their clients first. You will know when you find a good one. They’ll work hard for you up front, let you know what they’re doing on your behalf, communicate with you frequently to let you know of progress, and at the end of the day you can breathe a sigh of relief because you can trust that they will be reliable and will be there for you until the end.