I’ve written a good bit about how to find a good agent and what to look for according to your specific needs and style. It’s an important decision around a very large and very personal transaction and transition. It boils down to having a real partnership with an agent, which can make the home buying or selling process more pleasant. It also can greatly increase the odds of success, while reducing aggravation, so long as you, the client, are on the exact same page as your agent — the tool — and he, you.
Commitment: If someone is committed to working with my team then we are going to give them 100 percent of our effort regardless of how much money they are spending or how long they may take to accomplish their real estate goals. I’ll take five bucks an hour for clients committed both to me and the process over a chance to earn twenty dollars for a drive-by showing. Being nice helps too, but that’s universal. We require a commitment from our clients up front, but then we have to earn it. It should be a mutually comfortable fit. I include language in all of my buyer agreements that allows the client to cancel at any time provided no written or ratified contract is in place.
Communication: It helps us to do the work our clients need when we have a productive flow of two-way communication with them. The best example of this communication is when you are buying a house with me and I’m sending you choices I’ve made that could be a good fit. Your feedback, the more brutal the better, is crucial early on so we can quickly carve out the negatives, the non-starters and those concerns that distract us from the right home. Another example is the productive communication and debate between agent and seller while preparing for a sale. It’s the planning and partnering before the fireworks go off that makes the fireworks go off.
Set expectations early: Don’t be afraid to lay out firm expectations when you’re interviewing an agent. If you find an agent who admits he can’t meet them, he’s just being honest. Lay it all out there. We’ll respect you for it. Does the agent meet your geographic needs and work where you want to live? Does the agent really have time for you? Without clear expectations, you might discover too late that your agent is boogie-boarding in Bethany all summer while you’re waiting to buy.
Don’t wait to be sold (and don’t wait for your new home to magically appear): Stay engaged and alert. Make adjustments if needed. I’ve found that even buyers who are not raring to buy, those buyers waiting for just the right house, can easily miss it if they’re not diligent. Of course I do believe in luck, and the harder I work the luckier I get.
Commissions: If you negotiate a compromise on the commission rate, just be sure that you haven’t negotiated out the incentive for your agent to go above and beyond on your behalf. It’s not always about the dollars and cents, and I assume that most agents are savvy enough to not get themselves into this situation. I’m just putting it out there as an item to consider. I have seen that beaten look in an agent’s face when the demands on their time compared to their potential compensation stopped making sense a long time ago.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.