The right agent can help you buy your dream house or sell your existing home quickly. The wrong agent can botch the transaction, leaving you with egg on your face and nowhere to call home.
Despite the high stakes, many buyers and sellers give little thought to choosing an agent, whether they’re buying or selling.
Get recommendations from friends and relatives, and see which agents are buying and selling the most homes in your neighborhood. Read online reviews, but realize they don’t tell the whole story, since most clients, satisfied or dissatisfied, don’t write reviews. Interview three or four agents to find the one who is the best fit for you.
Most real estate agents are independent contractors who are paid a commission based on the number of homes they sell. The commission, paid from the sales proceeds, is usually split equally between the listing agent and the selling agent. Once the deal is closed, each of those agents usually has to pay a share to the broker who owns the office where he or she is affiliated.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how many listings the agent has, how many homes she has sold in your area, how often she will communicate with you – and in what format – and who she will represent in the transaction.
If you’re a seller, ask how the agent will market your home, who the target buyer is and how he will get your home in front of those preferred buyers.
If you’re a buyer, ask how often the agent will send you listings and whether he has worked with other buyers in your situation. A transaction involving a Federal Housing Association or VA loan, for example, includes some steps that aren’t required for a conventional loan. Some buyers may want to sign a buyer-broker agreement, agreeing to pay a share of the commission if the agent shows them homes where the seller won’t pay a commission, such as for-sale-by-owner houses or new construction properties.
Here are nine red flags to watch for when choosing a real estate agent:
The agent suggests the highest price for your house. If you’re selling your house, get listing presentations from at least three agents, who will tell you what comparable homes have sold for and how long they take to sell. The agents are all looking at the same data, so the suggested listing price should be close. Pricing a home too high at the start often means it takes longer to sell and ultimately sells for less. “If you’re too high for the market, buyers will not even look at it because they know you’re not realistic,” says Lee, the author of eight books and a frequent speaker at real estate conferences. “The longer your property sits on the market, the more people are going to think there’s something wrong with it.”
The agent does real estate on the side, part time. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you want to choose an agent who is actively following the market every day. If you’re buying, you want an agent who can jump on new listings and show them to you immediately. If you’re the seller, you want an agent who is always available to show your home to prospective buyers.
The agent is a relative. Unless your relative is a crackerjack full-time agent who specializes in your neighborhood, he or she is unlikely to do as good of a job as another agent. That can breed resentment, as well as derail your transaction.
The agent doesn’t know the real estate landscape in your neighborhood. Finding a neighborhood expert is especially important in areas where moving a block can raise or lower the value of a home by $100,000. An agent who specializes in a neighborhood may also be in touch with buyers who are looking for a home just like yours or sellers who haven’t put their home on the market yet. “It’s really a very local business,” Lee says.
The agent charges a lower commission. In most areas, commissions are traditionally 5 to 7 percent, split between the buying and selling agent. If the commission on your house is lower, fewer agents will show it. This doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate a slightly lower commission if one agent ends up both listing and selling the house. Some newer companies rebate part of the commission to the buyer or seller, but don’t use that as the sole reason to choose an agent. That’s only a bargain if the agent is otherwise a good fit.
We are experienced Las Vegas realtors. And that experience is priceless to you. We have been here through the good times and the bad. Now that home values in Las Vegas are on the rise, there are hundreds of new realtors being licensed in Las Vegas each month. Don’t make the mistake of trusting your house and money to an inexperienced realtor. If you are considering buying orselling a home in Summerlin, Henderson, or Las Vegas, NV, then America’s Choice Realty should be your choice.