It’s no secret that real estate is hot right now Florida. New residents are moving to the region every single day. On top of that, outside investment is equally popular due to the state’s steadily growing property markets. As such, it should come as no surprise that Florida leads the nation in the number of real estate professionals – more than 20,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With so many agents to choose from, you may think it would easy to find one to help you sell your home and you wouldn’t be wrong – real estate professional are everywhere in the Sunshine State. But there’s a huge difference between simply finding a real estate agent to list your property and enlisting the services of a professional Realtor who will offer true value in exchange for their commission.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss a few of the most important things that every seller should look for when choosing an agent to help them sell their home.
Seek First-Hand References
In a world filled with Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List, most consumers are getting pretty savvy when it comes to searching out references for everyday purchases and decisions. But too frequently, these same people – those who wouldn’t even go out to eat without first looking up the restaurant’s ranking – will jump into one of the biggest financial decisions of their life without even first seeking out feedback.
Before getting in contact with any real estate professional, ask your friends, family, and coworkers about any local agents they may have worked with previously – preferably within the past few years. This first-hand feedback can be one of the best ways to find a Realtor that’s knowledgeable and experienced, easy to work with, and highly familiar with properties in your area.
Go See a Specialist
Some sellers – especially those who haven’t bought or sold property recently – are surprised to learn that just like physicians, many Realtors are also specialists. But unlike doctors, these agent’s don’t specialize in an area of medicine but instead in types of properties (such as condos or single-family homes) or in very specific neighborhoods or communities. In some high-density urban areas, real estate specialists may even only work in a specific building or complex – and trust me, these experts know every single unit there inside and out.
Appreciate the Truth
Are you looking to work with a real estate professional with a silver tongue who will tell you exactly what you want to hear, or do you want to hire an agent who is going to be honest and upfront with you, even if the truth is a little ugly? If you’re serious about selling your home as quickly as and for the best price possible, it’s pretty obvious you should be after the latter.
A good agent is going to give you a truthful estimate of your home’s value; they won’t give you an inflated value in order to get your business. They may also offer constructive criticism about your home, offering suggestions on improvements or changes that will make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
Sometimes the truth hurts, but a great agent will respect you enough to give their honest thoughts and opinions, rather than sugar coat everything to woo you into signing a contract with them.
Establish Clear Communication Guidelines
One of the most common complaints from past sellers is that their agent didn’t communicate with them frequently enough or in a manner that was effective or convenient for them. For example, many older homeowners still appreciate regular phone calls or in-person updates, while millennials are more likely to rather receive a quick email or text message whenever there are new developments.
No matter what type of communication you prefer – both by the medium or frequency – make sure that you’re very clear about your preferences. Then and come to an agreement with the agent about how and when they should be in contact.
Look for the Capital ‘R’
To most people, the word Realtor is synonymous with real estate agent. In reality, however, there’s a big difference. Not all real estate agents are Realtors, and while all agents will be certified by the state’s real estate board, those who aren’t Realtors may not have all of the resources needed to get your home sold quickly and for the best price.
Being a Realtor means that the agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors – the largest trade organization in the United States. As a Realtor, not only does the agent have to abide by the organization’s strict rules for conduct and professionalism, but they also have access to information about completed transactions in your area as well as your local MLS. This is the Multiple Listing Service that allows Realtors to share your property with other agents in the area who may also have clients looking for a home exactly like yours.
Many times, professionals who are not Realtors only work with other agents in their brokerage – a practice that can still be effective, but often severely limits your listing’s potential exposure.
Putting It All Together
At the end of the day, choosing the right real estate professional means doing a lot more than a quick Google search or calling the number you saw on a bus stop bench or ‘For Sale’ sign. Picking the right professional to trust with your home – especially when it’s your most valuable asset – means asking the right questions and knowing what qualities to look for. In short, you want to make your selection based on the agent’s knowledge and experience, rather than smooth talking and catchy marketing practices.