Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Tips on Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Before hiring a real estate agent, interview 3 agents. That’s right 3! Many people are of the opinion that all real estate agents are created equal. Nothing can be further from the truth. Just to name one example, some agents are part time, while others are in the business full time. While their skillsets could theoretically be similar if they have both sold the same number of homes in their career, will the part time agent be available to you when you need them, or will they be at their other job? And, even if they are full time, ask who backs them up if they are sick or out of town? Do they have an agent partner to cover for them? Are they part of a larger team with lots of people to back them up? Your time matters most, especially in a Seller’s market!
Among other things if you are a Seller, you will want to understand the agent’s fees, their marketing plan, the number of homes they have sold, their success rate on sold price as a percentage of listing price, what services like photography, video tours and others they will be providing, and like in the above example, who is covering for them if they are sick or out of town, etc.
If you are a Buyer, you want to make sure the agent you choose to represent you has a track record of many successful sales, understands the market conditions, competitive pricing and the geographic area in which you are looking for a home, etc. And, hire a Buyer’s agent to specifically represent you in this situation. A Buyer’s agent is someone that only works for the Buyer from assisting in the Buyer’s home search to getting the purchase to the closing table. They will set up a search on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or on their personal website. These searches are generally more accurate than many of the big consumer sites because those sites are typically not updated as frequently as the MLS itself or the site the agent has directly connected to the MLS. These searches are also more inclusive of a lot more home parameters to search for, so the result will provide a more accurate list of prospective homes for you to look at that meet a greater number of your specific parameters. Best of all, a Buyer’s agent’s commission is almost always paid for by the Seller so why not have someone represent Your interest exclusively in the transaction?
You might ask, can I just buy the home from the agent that has the home listed? The answer is yes, but you must go into this scenario (which I would never recommend) fully informed. Just like in a divorce, would you hire the same attorney that your soon to be ex-spouse hired? Probably not. The agent that has the home listed has signed a contract with the Seller(s) to represent their best interests. How can that agent represent your best interests too? The answer is, they cannot! That’s right, the agent cannot represent the Buyer’s interest in this case whatsoever. They already have signed an agreement with the Seller to represent the Seller’s interests. They could modify that agreement with the Seller and sign an agreement with the Buyer(s) to represent both of their interests and in this case, both parties would then have the same agent. This is called Dual Agency, and in KY it is legally allowed but only with both parties informed written consent. Do you not see the inherent conflict here though? There is No Way to represent both the Buyer and the Seller in a real estate transaction and have both parties’ best interests in mind. If you are in this Dual Agency situation, the real estate agent is legally prohibited from providing advice to either party, because advising one party will almost always go against the best interests of the other party. So, who is looking out for your interests? Nobody is. You are in it all by yourself.
Ask for past client references or search for the agent you are interviewing online and read the reviews from their past clients. You would do this if you were on Amazon trying to decide on which product to purchase, so why not do it when interviewing a real estate agent to assist you on what is probably one of the Most expensive transactions in your life?
States have a regulatory body that govern real estate agents. These agencies usually have a public website to look at things like verification that someone holds a valid, unexpired license, whether they are up to date on their continuing education requirements and other pertinent information. This site in Kentucky can be found at: https://krec.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx
The Hollinden Team, brokered by eXp Realty LLC is a large real estate team with many success stories in the Louisville area market. Call any of the team members today at 502-429-3866.
The Hollinden Team
eXp Realty LLC