Some of my good friends are real estate agents and I know they are trustworthy! Did you know there are over 100,000 active real estate brokers and agents in California? Which have the qualities you need in an agent? And, just because someone you know is an agent doesn’t mean they are the BEST agent for you. Based on my experience, not enough have the qualities I believe they should have to help you buy and sell your home. Fifteen minutes of research can unearth a lot of information about each agent.
First call me…to see if I know the person, as I know many great agents. Otherwise, you can ask friends and family if they know a great realtor that has the following 5 qualities and more. Also, don’t expect your friends and family to have researched the realtors. Most don’t research but should. Just because they did a good job for a friend doesn’t mean they’ll do all the right things for you. Another option is to drive through those neighborhoods to look for “For Sale” signs. If a realtor has a listing in the area, they may know the neighborhood and may be a good agent for you. But, always look for these 5 qualities:
• Full-time real estate agent
• High value on the relationship
• Are they licensed? Find out their Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) #. Research their licensing and employment history at http://www.bre.ca.gov.
• How many years have they been an agent? I suggest 10+ years.
• Did they work with a mentor for 1-2 years learning all there is about real estate? If so, that is very good.
• Have they worked for a few brokers? If so that is a benefit, as they gain experience in different ways with different companies. If they stayed one year at each broker for 7 years, that is not good. How many companies have they worked for? The fewer the better. (More than 1, less than 5)
• Does the broker’s company name really matter? No, it doesn’t.
• How many homes do they facilitate in buying or selling in an average year? I suggest over 15 in an average year.
• Does your intended agent have their own website? Usually the broker’s website has only short bios on their agents. Your agent’s personal website should have more details including:
– A biography and work history
– A current and long list of detailed testimonials
– Activities in the community (do THEY live where you’re looking?)
– A sense of passion for helping their clients
• Do they have a presence on the main Social Media channels? Search Facebook, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, etc. They should have many positive reviews.
• Do people in town know the agent? Ask people at your work or church, gym or kids’ schools if they know the person. If you’re just moving in…
– Ask the agent for a list of recent past clients.
– When you call the past clients, be candid and ask detailed questions about what is important to you and make sure the agent is solid in those same areas.
• Are you buying AND selling? If you are buying, then the realtor needs to have a lot of experience in buying, especially negotiating the best deal.
• Does the agent know the geographical area where you’re moving? They need to know it.
• Can they provide information about the schools? They should be able to impart basic information, but they cannot steer you to the better schools; that is against state regulations.
• Do they suggest looking at the following website: http://www.greatschools.org? This site is going to have the best information. If the realtor suggests looking at it, that is a plus. If not, maybe don’t use them, as they don’t know the best informational websites.
• Do they live there? If so, that is great for you. How long have they lived there? The longer the better.
• How recently did they renew their Real Estate license? Licenses are good for 4 years in California. (A lot can happen in 4 years around here. Make sure they are up on current laws.)
4. Full-time real estate agent
• Does the realtor work 40+ hours per week at this profession? You do not want a part-time realtor, because you are not the priority, something else is.
• If they work at it full time, then they probably enjoy the profession and will work hard to do it well.
5. High value on the relationship
• What are the real estate agent’s core values? Real estate agents can receive big paychecks when buying or selling a home. Is it the big paycheck they want, or do they work hard at building a great relationship with their client, learning all they can about them? Good relationships last a lifetime.
These are but a few of the questions and answers I recommend. There are more questions here! If you want more detailed answers to these questions, call me at 949-484-6322.
I’m here for you,