In today's complex real estate market, finding the right real estate agent can be a challenge. Nearly a third (36%) of sellers who employed a real estate agent discovered their agents through personal referrals
from friends or family members. For those who are not fortunate enough to have such a reference, here are some essential facts and tips that can assist you in finding the perfect real estate agent for your unique needs.
Understanding the Role of Real Estate Professionals
Agents and Brokers: What's the Difference?
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who assists buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. They often work under the supervision of a real estate broker. Brokers, on the other hand, have additional training and can work independently or may even employ other real estate agents.
The Distinction Between Realtor and Real Estate Agent
Though the terms 'Realtor' and 'real estate agent' are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. A real estate agent is a professional with a state-issued license to assist people in buying or selling property. A Realtor, however, is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors, signifying their adherence to the association's strict code of ethics.
The Role of a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a professional who guides clients through the buying or selling process of a property. This includes listing properties for sellers, showing properties to prospective buyers, and assisting in negotiations. They use their expertise in the local real estate market to advise their clients and ensure a successful real estate transaction.
Key Questions to Ask Potential Real Estate Agents
Probing Their Professional Experience
Understanding an agent's past experience is crucial. Ask about their previous transactions, the types of properties they've dealt with, and their knowledge of the local real estate market. You want an agent who has experience in the industry and knowledge of the local market, so they can tailor their advice to what you need.
Clarifying Who You'll Be Working With
In some cases, you might not work directly with the real estate agent but with their assistant. It's essential to clarify this before you start the process. This is a crucial question to ask at the start of your professional relationship.
Understanding the Real Estate Agent's Compensation
Real estate agents work on commission, a percentage of the property's selling price. It's important to understand this cost upfront. You can ask your prospective agent to let you know what their usual commission rate is and compare it with other agents you interview to make an informed decision.
Evaluating Testimonials and Reviews
Do research on the prospective agent's reputation. Look for online reviews or ask the agent for references from past clients. Agents should have a solid amount of testimonials, and these can give you a great insight into whether they are professional, how available they are, and what their communication style is.
Seeking a Real Estate Agent: Advice for Homebuyers
- Finding Affordable Homes: A good real estate agent will understand your financial limits and work hard to find homes within your budget.
- Negotiating the Best Price: An experienced real estate agent can use their market knowledge and negotiation skills to help you secure a property at the best possible price.
- Navigating the Real Estate Market: Every real estate market presents unique challenges. An agent should be able to guide you through these, offering strategies and solutions.
Selecting a Real Estate Agent: Guidance for Sellers
Deciding on the Listing Price
The right real estate agent will have a deep understanding of the local market and can suggest a competitive listing price for your property. This is more than just a guessing game; it requires a detailed analysis of current market trends, recent sales of comparable properties, and an assessment of your property's unique features and condition. Factors such as location, neighborhood amenities, property size, and any unique features will all play a role.
The agent may also consider the time of year, as seasonal fluctuations can affect the market. Pricing too high can deter potential buyers, while pricing too low may mean leaving money on the table. Thus, your agent's expertise in determining the right balance is crucial to attracting the right buyers and achieving a successful sale.
Advising on Home Improvements
Some home improvement projects can increase your property's value. A knowledgeable agent can give you guidance on which upgrades are worth investing in. They will have insight into buyer preferences in your area, understanding what improvements will make the property more appealing. Whether it's a minor update, such as repainting walls in a modern color, or a more significant investment, like a kitchen or bathroom remodel, the agent can advise on where your money will be best spent. It's not always about complete overhauls; sometimes, small, targeted improvements can make a big difference. Your agent may also have connections with local contractors and can help you obtain quotes and manage the improvement process. The ultimate goal is to enhance the property's appeal without overcapitalizing on improvements that won't provide a return on investment.
Marketing Your Property
Good real estate agents have strategies for effectively marketing your home to attract potential buyers. In today's digital world, online marketing is key. This includes professional photography and virtual tours, listing the property on major real estate websites, and promoting it on social media platforms. But marketing doesn't stop online; print advertising, open houses, and networking with other agents can also play vital roles.
Your agent will know how to craft compelling descriptions that highlight the property's best features, and they may even bring in a home stager to make the space more appealing. Additionally, a skilled agent will understand how to target marketing efforts to reach the right demographic of buyers for your property. Tailored, strategic marketing ensures that your property is seen by those most likely to be interested in it, improving the chances of a swift and profitable sale.
About Susan Schall
is renowned for her unmatched understanding of the luxury market in California's Tri-Valley region. As a co-founder of Park46, she draws on her extensive experience working with prestigious brands such as Microsoft, Keller Williams, and Sotheby's International Realty. With a focus on providing trusted advice, strategic negotiations, and in-depth market analysis, she is a specialist in the luxury real estate sector.
Her properties have achieved recognition on shows like Million Dollar Listing SF and have been featured in worldwide publications. Among her many accolades are Pleasanton's BEST Real Estate Team, BayEast Association of Realtors® Rookie of the Year, Chairman's Circle honors from Sotheby's, and being named the #4 Team in the World while at KW.
If you're looking to buy or sell a home or have any questions about the California real estate market, contact Susan Schall