What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent
The process of buying or selling a home is complicated.
As a buyer, you want to find the right home at the right price … but you have to worry about getting financing, settling on your price point, researching neighborhoods, putting in offers, negotiating concessions and much more.
As a seller, you want to get the greatest return on your investment … but you have to worry about pricing and marketing and showings and closing.
What you need is a quality real estate agent who can walk you through the complicated process that is a home transaction.
But how do you find a quality real estate agent?
Finding the right real estate agent for you may seem like a challenge, especially if you’re in a new and unfamiliar market where you don’t have friends or family to provide a reference. But finding the ideal agent is more than possible when you look for the right things.
Whether you’re looking for realtors in Jackson, TN or elsewhere, here are some ideas for what to look for in a real estate agent.
1. Current Listings (and Clear Results)
When you’re considering a realtor in Jackson, TN, start by looking at his or her current listings. What are you looking for specifically? Several things:
- Similarity to Your Home: If you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury home, it’s nice to have an agent who’s worked on luxury properties before. The same goes if you’re selling raw land or a starter home in a planned subdivision. Most realtors specialize in certain types of properties. Make sure you find one who specializes in your type.
- Proximity to Your Home: You definitely want an agent who knows your area inside and out. Local knowledge is paramount in a real estate transaction, so check to make sure an agent has worked in your town before — and preferably in your neighborhood.
- Presentation: Look at a realtor’s listings as though you’re the buyer. Do they use compelling photographs? Do they write descriptions that make you want to learn more? Are there clear calls to action that lead you toward taking a next step? You’ll want these things for your own property, so make sure the agent knows how to put together a quality listing.
And look for results, too. After all, you want an agent who knows how to close deals, right? Many agent websites feature experience maps where you can see the many homes they’ve helped clients buy or sell. If you find an agent with a sparse experience map (or no experience at all), you may want to opt for a realtor who’s closed more deals and delivered better results for his or her clients.
2. Regular Communication
When you decide to initiate contact with a prospective realtor, consider it an interview. You get to ask questions, and you should carefully consider how the realtor answers them.
The first question you should ask: How do you communicate with your clients?
Let’s be honest: Real estate agents in general have a reputation for sporadic contact. This bad reputation isn’t a reality for all agents, or even most. But make sure you’re getting a professional who puts regular communication first and foremost.
There’s nothing worse than excitedly putting your home on the market — only for it to sit there as you wait and wonder in silence. And there’s nothing worse than starting a home search only to see home after attractive home go off the market as you wait for your agent to call you back.
Ask your agent specifically how he or she communicates, whether via phone, email or text message. And don’t be shy about telling the prospective agent how you like to communicate. Then, ask specifically how often the prospective agent touches base, even if there’s little activity to report.
There are plenty of other questions that demand asking, and you’re sure to have your own unique questions. But start with communication first, and you’ll find that the rest comes much easier.
3. Strong References
OK, so the interview portion of your search is over. Now it’s time to ask for references. Yes, when looking for a real estate agent, you must talk to people who’ve worked with specific realtors before.
This is sometimes easy. According to the National Association of Realtors, 52% of buyers 36 and younger and 39% of buyers 37 to 51 find their agents via referral. This is the leading method for how to find a real estate agent, and it also gives you a built-in reference.
But let’s assume for a moment that you don’t have a referral. Does the agent’s website highlight testimonials? Does the agent offer references during your first conversation? Is the agent eager to share references when you ask for them?
If an agent shows any reluctance to provide references, it’s time to look elsewhere. There are only two possible explanations for that type of reluctance:
- The agent lacks experience and doesn’t have any references to share.
- The agent has had bad experiences with clients, and there’s no one willing to share a reference.
Either way, you’re better off finding a real estate agent whose clients you’ve had a chance to chat with.
4. Team Members
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with a lone wolf real estate agent. Plenty of professional realtors have carved out careers working alone. But there’s something to be said for manpower and resources, and those two things are far more plentiful when an agent works with a team.
Search for two things specifically when looking for real estate agents in Jackson, TN or elsewhere:
First, search for indications that they have a support staff. Even having just one associate can mean that your agent spends less time on menial and administrative tasks and more time on buying and selling homes.
And, second, search for indications that your realtor is part of a larger real estate network. Affiliation with a larger network often means that your agent has better training and access to a wealth of proprietary information.
When you’re looking to buy or sell a home, every little advantage matters. And working with a team can be an advantage that helps your home purchase or sale end with the best possible results.
5. A Network of Support
When you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll need much more than just a real estate agent. When you’re buying a home, you need a lender who you can trust, and you’ll also need to find a home inspection company that is beyond reproach. As a seller, you’ll need a photographer who can take fantastic photos of your home. A home transaction eventually requires an appraisal and a title company. Who are you going to turn to when you need professional support during the process?
You should turn to your real estate agent, who in turn should be able to access an existing network of trusted partners who can step in and help. Of course, you’re always free to choose your own lender. But a good real estate agent should be ready to recommend one with whom he or she has worked before — and who the realtor knows has done quality work for past clients.
Good real estate agents quickly develop this type of network. If your prospective agent can’t recommend interior designers for home staging, lenders, inspectors or other professionals, it calls into question that agent’s depth of experience.
6. Commitment to the Area and the Industry
Local knowledge is everything in real estate. Make sure your realtor knows the area where you’re looking to buy or sell a home. An agent may have great experience in a different city or different state, but that type of knowledge and experience doesn’t translate to new markets.
It’s best to find an agent who knows your area and who is committed to the local market. How do you measure commitment? Look for an agent who is starting a family in the area. Look for an agent who is involved in local events and civic organizations. Look for an agent who grew up in the area or who talks glowingly about making a life there.
And, in addition to commitment to the area, look for commitment to the industry. Real estate is full of agents who jump in during hot markets and who jump out just as quickly when a market goes cold. The agents you want are the ones who’ve seen it all, who’ve ridden the wave during high times and soldiered through the low times.
Here’s a stunning statistic: Only 20% of agents renew their license after the first two years. That means that an incredible 80% of agents will be in another line of work in 24 months or less.
Don’t get caught with a wishy-washy agent still trying to find the right career path. Find an agent committed to the area and committed to the industry
Follow the six tips above, but keep this one foremost when wondering what to look for when choosing a real estate agent: Find an agent who makes you feel comfortable.
Comfort is going to mean different things to different people. Honesty and trustworthiness are the characteristics most buyers and sellers are looking for. But comfort should also mean finding someone down to earth, someone who is clearly hard-working, someone relatable and someone focused on meeting your unique needs while delivering quality service and outstanding results.
In the end, you want someone who’s going to bring value to the process. If buying a home, you want the best possible property at the best possible price. If selling a home, you want to sell as quickly as possible while maximizing your investment. The agents who can make you feel comfortable and at ease are typically the ones who have the knowledge, experience and resources to ensure you get the most value out of your transaction.
Get the Best Among Jackson, TN Realtors
Are you looking for homes for sale in Jackson, TN? Or are you trying to sell real estate in Jackson, TN? At Carney & Dement, we pour all of our energy, knowledge and experience into delivering the best possible results for our clients.
We emphasize consistent communication at all times. We have a team, network and other resources that can help give you the advantage you need. And we’re fully committed to Jackson and the surrounding area, as well as to the real estate industry.
You have so many options when selling a property or looking to buy Jackson, TN real estate. We would be honored to talk to you about how we can enhance your sale or your search.
Get in touch with us today, and let us help you take the next step toward buying or selling a home in or around Jackson, TN.