By Darrin Friedman
Choosing the right real estate agent can sometimes be a confusing experience. After all, there are choices everywhere! From your aunt who has been in the business so long she used to complete transactions on typewriters, to your ex-roommate who got his license six months ago; your options are numerous.
But that’s not what this blog is about.
I’ve already covered four questions you should ask any agent, so this post is about realistic expectations you, the consumer, should have about your agent once you’ve chosen him or her. Although the word ‘realistic’ can have so many meanings, here’s my list of what you can—and should—expect from your newly chosen agent:
Responsiveness. In today’s world of instantaneous communication, people are used to sending and receiving messages and obtaining information within seconds. This trend begs the question, how long is a realistic time to wait for a response from your agent? Well, here’s my personal opinion: Between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., seven days a week, the wait should be no longer than five to 10 minutes. Yes, really. Now, that response might not be incredibly thorough; your agent may simply say something like, “I’ll call you tomorrow when I am back in the office.” Still, you should expect the reply to be prompt. In today’s real estate landscape, that level of responsiveness is a reasonable expectation. Occasional lapses may occur, of course, if the agent is in the middle of a phone call or a closing or is momentarily in a bad cellular area. But as a consumer, I would expect five to 10 minutes should be the rule of thumb.
Knowledge of the Inventory. There is almost nothing more important than understanding the inventory of houses on the market and how each house relates to its neighborhood. Anyone can pull up a home listing online but the standard listing information never quite tells the whole story. A great agent should be able to fill in many blanks for you. They can tell you why a house is or is not a good investment based on factors like the quality of the kitchen counter tops and size of the yard or the flood potential of the parcel of land on which it rests, the distance to the nearest public transportation stop, the location of boundary lines between school systems … the list goes on. It is reasonable to expect that your agent will know the recent and current comparable properties and can tell you exactly how the listing you’re considering compares, and how that affects its value.
Knowledge of the Transaction. This may seem obvious but it is critical that your agent truly understands the transaction process. From knowing the purpose and significance of every legal document, to explaining every moment during a home inspection, you should expect—or maybe you should demand—that your agent has outstanding knowledge of the law and the ins and outs of legal contracts. If you discover too late that the agent you chose does not possess this level of expertise, make sure you get the agent’s broker involved. That is how you stay protected.
The Ultimate Calming Influence. You should expect calm from your agent. And not just a normal level of calm; you need the kind of calm that can smooth rough waters. After all, that is part of why you hired an agent: to allay your fears and reduce your stress level! Buying or selling a home is stressful for even the most cool-headed buyers, which means that you need your agent’s strength and emotional resilience to help you get through. Find a professional who exudes serenity like a Zen master because that’s the definition of a dream agent.
DARRIN FRIEDMAN is a Strategic Brand Specialist with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty serving the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. Find him on Facebook and Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.