If you’re one of those people who won’t buy a product or use a service until you’ve checked the online reviews, then you are as pleased as we are with the proliferation of review sites.
Do you ever wonder if a lot of the glowingly positive reviews are fake? Hey, we don’t blame you – skepticism is healthy.
And, thankfully, some sites, such as Yelp, have strict policies to ensure that the reviews are from real people who’ve actually used the product or service.
It’s not as easy to find reviews of real estate agents as it is, say, a restaurant, but they’re out there.
And, when it comes to something as complicated as a real estate transaction, it’s only natural to want to learn of others’ experiences with any particular agent.
But, again – are these reviews real?
Having said this, we are certainly very aware of and keep a close eye on techniques used for submitting fake reviews . . . We take this very seriously. . .”
I think it’s safe to say that it would be quite difficult to submit a fake real estate agent review at Zillow (Trust me, I’ve tried! Haha, just kidding.). I take pride in and remember fondly every single transaction for each of the reviews on my Zillow profile.
The search for representation in a real estate transaction is something that shouldn’t be entered into lightly.
Understand that who you decide to hire will be the person/people responsible for steering your transaction to a smooth and lucrative closing. Sometimes this could happen in just a few short weeks. Other times, it could take months. So be sure to find someone whom you enjoy working with.
Choose the wrong agent and you open yourself to stress, aggravation, and, possibly, loss of money
So, how do you find the right agent for your needs? Starting online, looking for social proof, is a good place to start.
I can’t stress the latter enough. I wish I could say that every real estate agent operates with the utmost integrity on behalf of their clients, but unfortunately, it just isn’t so. Therefore, it’s very important that you find an agent who values integrity and will stop at nothing to do the right thing on your behalf.
I also recommend that when you narrow your choices to at least three agents to interview, that you ask each one for references from past clients.
Insist that you be given phone numbers so that you can call each one and ask the tough questions about the services they received.
Ask The Right Questions
Determine what type of agent you want to work with – what attributes are important to you.
We’ve found that most of our clients were looking for someone who was responsive – who actually returns their calls, emails, and texts within a reasonable amount of time.
They also complained about other agents who didn’t listen to them. Make a list of what’s important to you, and use it as you interview agents, looking for cues that they are actually listening to you.
While asking the right questions of the agent is important, listening to the types of questions the agents ask you is equally crucial.
If you are a homebuyer, did the agent inquire about your loan pre-approval status and explain its importance? If you are selling your home, did the agent ask you about your preferred timeline?
Pertinent questions, specific to your transaction, are important signs that you’re interviewing a good agent.
It Takes Money To Make Money
I don’t know who first said that “it takes money to make money,” but whoever it was, nailed it. And it is even more important when it comes to selling a home.
Naturally, you’ll want to learn all you can about each agent’s marketing plan, but it’s even more important to ask about their marketing budgets.
A new or part-time agent may be (but not necessarily) operating on a shoestring, and you’ll receive the bare bones in marketing services.
To properly market a home requires pulling out all the stops
It requires a balance of both innovative and tried-and-true tactics.
Since first impressions are critical, the services of a professional photographer and, perhaps a stager are a must. Marketing to multiple platforms is also crucial.
Does each agent you interview have a marketing budget to cover these services, or does he or she expect you to pay for them?
Finding the right real estate agent to sell or buy a home may seem like looking for the needle in the proverbial haystack, but it doesn’t have to be.
During the interviews, sellers should ask the tough questions about marketing and marketing budgets and remember to pay attention to each agent’s listening skills and the questions they ask you.
But, if you are still skeptical, ask agents you interview to supply you with additional reviews from clients, along with phone numbers so you can call them.