When seriously considering an investment in commercial or residential real estate, one of the first steps one usually takes is to choose a real estate agent to work with. In a crowded field, where everyone from veteran agents to newly minted professionals looking to start a new part-time career are competing for business, it truly is a buyers’ market when it comes to choosing who to work with. While money is the name and commission is the game, however, not every agent who has been attracted to the field will be a good one, and some will be downright rotten. Before committing to work with the first person a colleague or newspaper feature recommends, a buyer should meet with several agents to ensure that the property or properties he or she invests in will be the absolute right fit at the absolute right price. Not sure what makes a good real estate agent? Here are 5 signs he or she is the one!
1. Excellent Communication Skills:
In the real estate market, time is money, and opportunities can be missed by a matter of hours in some cases. For this reason it is imperative to work with an agent who clearly and promptly communicates with the buyer and seller. Many a deal has been missed because an agent did not act quickly enough when communicating an offer, a rejection or a counteroffer. If a property is not the right fit the buyer looking to invest needs to know right away so that he or she can quickly move on to other possibilities. While this is especially true in a seller’s market, there will always be competition for the best properties and the best prices. When going through initial conversations with a potential new agent take not of how promptly phone calls or emails are returned, how quickly the agent finds and relays the answers to questions that he or she does not know offhand and other indicators of excellent or poor communication skills.
2. Takes a Proactive Approach:
A buyer should give extra consideration to an agent who seeks him or her out. While contacting prospective buyers is the real estate equivalent of chasing sales leads, and his or her intention is to make money for the seller, taking such action shows a proactive agent who is eager to make a deal for his or her client. Such an agent is likely to be attentive, communicative and open to help foster negotiations between the seller and prospective buyers. In other words, he or she will get the job done. This is a win for all parties involved.
3. Knows When to Hold the Tongue:
Talking is important when communicating information to a buyer that he or she needs to know, and to some degree friendly chit-chat is usually welcome as well. When an agent does more talking than listening, however, this is a red flag that he or she is not paying enough attention to what the needs of the buyer are. The exceptions? An agent should speak as much as needed to ask the questions necessary to understand the buyer’s request. Additionally he or she should always restate what the buyer has said in order to ensure that his or her understanding is correct. This will save time and prevent miscommunication.
4. Understands the Buyer’s Purpose:
A good agent should have more concern for what the buyer is looking for than for showing the properties that he or she is most interested in selling. To do that, he or she needs to know not only what features, location and price the buyer has in mind, but also exactly what the buyer’s reason is for making the purchase. A buyer looking for an investment property should communicate this to an agent right away, and the agent should tailor the search to the properties that are most in line with the buyer’s purpose for making the purchase.
5. Does Not Hesitate to Give References:
A referral from a friend or colleague is a fine way to get started on the search for an agent. This should not, however, be the end of the hunt. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to personality, the way someone communicates and even the way someone presents himself or herself aesthetically. Avoid pairing up with an agent who turns out to be the right fit for a friend but not for oneself by asking for the most recent 5-20 references from each agent being considered. Any hesitation to share references or excuses for delays in doing so should send up a red flag immediately. The reasons may or may not turn out to be legitimate, and an agent who is uncomfortable providing many references may in fact be an excellent agent, but the risk is not worth taking when it comes to purchasing real estate as an investment. If former clients are unhappy, the time to find out is now.
To talk more about protecting a real estate investment, and what measures to require tenants to take to protect it as well, please contact us. Thank you.