If history repeats itself, we’ll be seeing more bumbling, stumbling Atlanta real estate agents getting back into the game. The only thing standing in the way of this invasion of zombie incompetence are buyers and sellers raising the bar and demanding more…and history also tells us that isn’t going to happen. Despite consistent complaints about agent performance, the public continues to embrace subpar performance. The “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” axiom tends to hold – at the cost of the client. Selecting a real estate agent is not difficult and Fox Business News hit several valid points in a recent article that reinforces the obvious but often overlooked factors:
Real estate experts advise interviewing at least three agents before settling on one and to look for someone who comes with experience, good reviews and credentials, but is also someone you wouldn’t mind spending time with since the buying and selling processes can take months. According to Lynn Ikle, a Redfin real estate agent in Baltimore, you’ll want a real estate agent that is in the business full-time and has made it a career, rather than someone a license who just dabbles in real estate during spare time. “Someone who does real estate all the time will know which houses are selling, how long they are on the market and the right price to sell.” She also suggests asking potential agents how many houses they’ve sold a year. If the answer is two to four, Ikle says the candidate is either bad at his or her job or is not in the industry full time. She adds that a solid agent should be selling at least 10 houses a year.
Agent selection is critical…and inexplicably, often carelessly done
The idea of using anything less than a full time real estate professional, especially in this Atlanta real estate market, is mindboggling. Why multiple agents wouldn’t be compared against each other is similarly perplexing. Yet according to the National Association of Realtors 2012 survey, 67% of buyers and sellers contacted and selected just ONE agent to help them with their transaction.
Experts recommend asking questions to test agents’ knowledge on the current market. For instance, you want them to be able to tell you how much other houses in your neighborhood are selling for, how long the houses are staying on the market, what’s a reasonable price range for your house and any suggestions to drive the price higher. Ask qualifying questions such as strategies used to sell homes and any unique qualifications that makes an agent better than the competition, suggests Dan Kruse of Century 21. If an agent comes in and promises to sell your house at a clearly too-high price that should raise a red flag that he or she isn’t being genuine.
If a seller cannot have an agent provide a data based answer to “what’s this home worth”, describe the most likely buyer, demonstrate a marketing plan to target that buyer and comfortably explain every step of the Atlanta home buying or selling process…there’s a problem. They may be friends on the tennis team, play bridge or be in the PTA but that does not qualify them as a competent agent.
Agent performance is going to be raised in only one way – by public demand. Until such time as buyers and sellers select agents as they might doctors, lawyers, accountants or other skilled professionals, issues will continue. Those are not part time industries and neither is real estate. Here’s a quick white board video with the 7 key questions to ask:
Read the Fox article here