Much like a great hairstylist or mechanic, an outstanding real estate agent is hard to find. Authorized to act on your behalf, a real estate agent has a fiduciary duty to faithfully represent you and to put your interests first.So how do you know you’ve found the right agent you can trust to keep that promise?
If you can’t get a word in edgewise, your agent has an agenda, and it’s not yours. As the client, you should initially be doing most of the talking so that your agent understands your needs and desires. The right agent will ask you questions, and then simply listen. As the relationship builds, your agent will learn your priorities and how you like to communicate. They won’t leave you a voicemail if you never check voicemails. If you’re actively looking for a home or have a transaction underway, they will be in close touch. If not, they may only reach out with periodic market updates or pressing news. You never feel ignored nor inundated. Your agent “gets” you.
An outstanding agent knows how much your neighbors bought and sold their home for and the time frame of each transaction. They know the best schools and the fact that the neighbors recently voted to install speed bumps. They’ll show you historical trend data to give you a sense for how the neighborhood has performed through previous real estate cycles. You can make confident, fully informed decisions based on the detailed market knowledge they provide.
The best agents go the extra mile. If you have your heart set on a neighborhood where few homes come to market each year, they’ll write personalized letters to the existing homeowners and source that needle-in-a-haystack home for you. Or, if you’ve lived for decades in the same home and dread the prospect of sorting through accumulated belongings in order to prepare your home for sale, they’ll manage every step of the sales preparation process with as much, or as little involvement on your part as you prefer. Whether it’s booking an estate sale specialist or meeting with a color consultant to choose the new interior paint palette, they’ll handle all of the details from start to finish with their team of proven contractors, gardeners and designers.
Believe the rumors, both good and bad. A good agent has a stellar reputation for being honest and professional and is respected by their network. They take their role seriously knowing that whatever they do will affect whether or not you get what you want.
If you can check these four boxes, then pat yourself on the back for being a fabulous judge of character. If you are currently choosing an agent, keep this list with you along with a big red pen, and only sign up if you’ve made four enthusiastic check marks!