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3 Sep 2012
What defines a good real estate agent? Have you ever made a list of the qualifications of a good real estate agent? If you could choose between two agents, one with an education and experience that would be ideal, what would that background look like? Many buyers and sellers have not really thought this through, and many simply call off a sign and hire the first real estate agent who answers the phone, no questions asked. Since this is your money, and a lot of it, and since there are serious legal and financial implications, finding a good real estate agent is no small matter.
Consider this. You spend $300 at a doctor’s office, and you expect that doctor to have University degrees and advanced medical degrees and a long internship, plus you also want a senior doctor with many years of experience. When you see a dentist, you also expect him to have 18+ years of education and a lot of experience, and you expect all that even if you are only spending a couple of hundred dollars. We expect and demand that our kindergarten teachers have four year degrees and state certification before we even let our children into that classroom. So when you invest your life savings or several hundred thousand dollars in your retirement home, shouldn’t you demand that your real estate agent have a relevant education and the experience that will protect you and help you meet your goals? Finding and hiring a good real estate agent ought to be high on your due diligence checklist. There’ s a lot at stake and you are the one who stands to lose if anything goes wrong.
I’ve compiled a list of skills a good real estate agent would have on one side and compared that to many of the real estate agents that I have known in 37 years in the business. Which Realtor would you choose? Would you choose the agent with all of these marked “yes” or the agent with only some of these qualifications? Of course, a good real estate agent doesn’t necessarily have to have all of these qualifications, but the more the better.
I compiled this list of what defines a good real estate agent because I hope to get consumers thinking about what they want and require in a real estate agent. Just picking up the phone and hiring anyone with a license is not in your best interests. Just hiring an agent because he or she is the spouse of a friend or has been referred by someone says absolutely nothing about their qualifications. Just because he or she is in your club or church also may be nice, but says absolutely nothing about qualifications. I have been involved in many transactions over the years, and a number of transactions were killed by an inexperienced agent on the other end of the transaction. Remember, even honesty does not make up for a lack of qualifications. So this is no small matter. Whoever you hire, be sure they are truly a good real estate agent.
You may not compile the same list I did for what defines a good real estate agent, but it may surprise you how important every single item is on this list. I could talk about each item for a long time and its importance, but at a minimum wouldn’t you want your real estate agent to be very good at a few fundamental skills? For example, being able to negotiate like an expert with your money? Isn’t that critical? Or how about being able to draft contracts for you with unambiguous language? Wouldn’t you insist that your agent know all the vitally important due diligence issues that come up in the Sequim and Port Angeles areas? Shouldn’t he/she be mature in business and well organized? This isn’t a garage sale, it’s your home, and it’s several hundred thousand dollars of your money. If you’re a seller, why wouldn’t you insist that your listing agent be extremely knowledgeable and experienced in sales and marketing, especially on the Internet today? Whatever list you compile, I strongly urge you to do your due diligence to find and hire a good real estate agent.
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