Hallmarks of a Good Real Estate Agent
Most home buyers start their home shopping on the internet. Once you have engaged the help of a buyer’s agent there is no reason you should abandon this valuable tool. You want to work with an agent who is completely plugged in and unafraid of technology. A good agent will send you emails with links to new listings that have just popped up on the MLS. The agent will screen out homes you clearly are not interested in because they are too big or small, too expensive or in a neighborhood that you dislike. A good agent will have seen the inside of the home with his or her own eyes. A lesser agent will send you an inbox-clogging download of half of the MLS every now and then.
A good agent will send you e-mails with links to new listings that have just popped up on the MLS. The agent will screen out homes you clearly aren’t interested in because they’re too big or too small, too expensive, or in a neighborhood that you dislike. A good agent will have seen the inside of the home with his or her own eyes. A lesser agent will give you inbox-clogging download of half of the MLS every now and then.
A good agent will give you an office phone number, home phone number, and cell phone number. (The office number is the one where you’re least likely to reach him or her. Most successful agents do the bulk of their work out of their home office and car.) A good agent will also give you phone numbers for an assistant and will make sure a competent, licensed agent can handle anything that comes up if the agent goes away for the weekend. A good agent returns your phone calls by the end of the day-and your e-mails within about a day, too. A good agent may have specific of day for returning phone calls., because the heavy volume of business demands some limits.A lesser agent, of course, is hard to reach, is downright laggard about answering e-mail.
There are several internet sites that offer free matchmaking services to pair you up with a real estate agent. These services act as lead generators for the participating brokers, who pay for those leads. You go online and answer a few questions about your plants to buy and sell, including the price range and type of home you’re interested in, and supply your e-mail address and phone numbers so they can get back in touch with you. (You can expect lots of “special offers” to come into your e-mail after filling out their forms!) Usually the sits promise you a significant discount or a gift card that you can use at a home-supply store in exchange for using one of their preselected agents.
A friend of mine tried out the service on one of the better-known services, www.homegain,com. When he tried to take them up on the free estimate of my home’s value, he found that his little town is not included in their automated service. However, within ten minutes of filling out the form, he got a phone call from New Jersey headquarters of Weichert Realty, which is active in his market offering to connect him to a local agent with at least a year of experience or $1 million in sales under his or her belt. Given the real estate boom over the past few years. $1 million in sales is not that special benchmark. Depending on the market, just one or two sales may do the trick! Other referral services include www.lendingtree.com and www.monstermoving.com. You also can search the entire roster of local Realtors at www.realtor.com, though that site makes no attempt to differentiate between the experienced and inexperienced among its ranks.
It doesn’t hurt to try one of these referral services, but I certainly wouldn’t make it my only source of information. Direct recommendations form friends and acquaintances only remain your best source of information. And you always should interview at least three agents and call up recent customers to get their opinion.