How to Choose a Realtor – 7 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling real estate is probably the most significant transaction you’ll ever make in your life. That’s why it’s important to choose the best Realtor to help you achieve this goal. But before you hire the services of a real estate agent, there are important factors to consider.

Many people have the perception that all real estate agents are the same. Some sign with the first one that comes along. Unfortunately, they realize later on that they should have been more selective before signing an agreement. To guide you in choosing the best Realtor for your needs, below are seven questions to ask your prospective real estate agent.

1) What is your experience in real estate?

The first thing you need to ask a real estate agent is how long they’ve been in the real estate business. It doesn’t mean that you cannot enlist the services of newly licensed real estate agents. Just keep in mind that those who have years of experience under their belts are probably more knowledgeable on what to do, from listing to closing. Aside from the number of years in the business, ask them what segment of real estate they focus on – residential, commercial, luxury, etc. Find out if he/she is primarily a listing agent or a buyer’s agent (or both). Familiarity with the market is also essential, so ask what geographic areas the agent usually covers. You can even dig deeper by asking if the agent has received any awards for outstanding performance.

2) How many and what types of properties have you listed and sold in the past year?

It’s one of the most important questions you should ask a real estate agent. The number of properties he or she has listed and sold in the past year is a valuable indicator how good a real estate professional is in getting the job done. Take note that this question consists of two parts: properties listed and properties sold. Agents may demonstrate their ability to list homes; however, the more important thing is the sales part – the ability to close deals. If they have many properties listed and sold in the past year, it shows that whatever strategy the agent is using, it’s certainly working.

3) What was the average sales price for the properties you’ve sold over the last year?

Asking this will give you an idea in what kind of market the agent specializes. Find out if the real estate professional has experience selling properties in the price range you’re listing at. If a majority of properties sold falls on the low-end market segment, it might take longer for the agent to sell if yours is a higher-end home. Although agents can sell any property regardless of price range, it’s likely that they will have better success in the market and price segments in which they have the most experience.

4) What is your average sale to list price ratio?

The sale to list price ratio (sometimes called the sale-to-list or list-to-sale ratio) is the final sales price divided by the listing price, expressed as a percentage. If it is 100%, it means the sales price was equal to the list price. You can view this ratio in two ways. A skilled listing agent can negotiate sales prices that are equal or close to the list price, and sometimes even greater in a very competitive market. So ideally, listing agents should have sale to list price ratios closer to 100%. On the other side of the coin, a good buyer’s agent can often negotiate a sales price that is lower than the list price. Therefore, buyer’s agent ratios ideally should be lower than 99%.

5) What marketing strategies will you use?

Deciding on what strategies to use can spell the difference between success and failure. A poor marketing strategy will diminish the chances for success. Do your own due diligence by asking how the agent will sell your property. There are lots of options – staging, open houses, joint marketing, print advertising, and of course, online marketing. Whatever approaches are used, they should be designed to bring in the highest number of qualified potential buyers. Higher end properties can also often benefit from professional staging. In any case, your agent should advise you on how to best prepare the property to make it the most attractive to potential buyers.

6) Can you give me some references?

Reputation is important in this line of business. Whether you’re buying or selling a property, you should ask for references (past clients). If possible, call a few and ask them about their experiences with the agent. Were they pleased with the service provided? Also ask if they are in any way related to the agent. A list of references made up of friends or relatives generally won’t provide an objective assessment of the agent’s qualifications.

7) Do you offer any type of guarantee, and will you let me out of my contract early if I am not satisfied with your service?

You can’t say with certainty how things will go, even if you did your due diligence. For this reason, you should ensure that you’re prepared for any eventuality. If you sign a contract and later find that you’re not satisfied with the service, will the agent allow you to cancel the agreement? If things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to, you should have the freedom to choose another agent who can deliver better results.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing a real estate agent. Finding and interviewing Realtors can be a very time-consuming and laborious task. However, now armed with these seven questions, you are on your way in choosing the best Realtor for your needs.

How Real Estate Agents Can List For Sale by Owner Properties (FSBOs)

Listing a property that is currently for sale by the owner can be a tough task. Most owners will hold out for awhile before they will consider listing their house with a real estate agent. The plus side here is that you know they are motivated to sell. So if they do choose to list their home with a real estate agent, how can you make sure that you are they real estate agent they choose?

You will first need some addresses of FSBO’s to mail to. It is possible to buy lists, but the best leads seem to come from the houses you end up driving by and marking down the address. Just get all the members of your team to keep a look out for FSBO signs, and mark the address down for you.

I have always been a fan of hands off marketing campaigns that don’t take up too much time once they are set up. This campaign has been set up that way. First, you will need to create a series of six postcards. The first to will have tips for selling your house. The second two will talk about some sort of advance marketing that you do. It should sound impressive, like something they can’t do on their own. The third two should talk about your listing guarantees. Other than paying a commission, the second most common objection is getting locked in to a long contract. So why not offer an easy cancel guarantee? You may want to also offer a communication guarantee to assure them that they will not be left in the dark.

Send the first three postcards every third day. Send the last three postcards spaced a week apart.

If you are getting enough leads this way, and business is booming, leave the campaign where it’s at. If you could still use more leads, then after postcard number four goes out, make a personal visit to the house to see if they could use any help or if they have any questions. You may want to ask if you can stop back in a week or two to see how things are going.

Most agents don’t market this consistently to FSBO’s, and if your postcards look professional and memorable, you should be the first real estate agent that comes to their mind when its time to list.

Selecting Commercial Real Estate for a Potential Business

Congratulations! You have a great idea for a new venture. You’re ready now to turn this idea into a real brick-and-mortar company. The next step is to pick the location.

There are a number of things about your business that are determined by where it is. Competing businesses, workers, expansion room, zoning, and renovation all play an important part in your ability to turn a concept into a profitable enterprise.

Most owners try to choose commercial real estate in an area where there will be the most exposure to potential customers. While your ability to attract people to your store is important, there are other, less obvious factors that also need to be considered.

Competition

Situating your new venture within sight of a competing outlet is a risky move, one that most owners don’t wish to take. Customers tend to go with what they know, which, in this case, would be the more established business. You would have to work extra hard to win them over to your storefront. Instead, placing an outlet in an area where there aren’t as many ventures like yours is a great way to stand out and attract new, loyal customers.

Room for Expansion

Your initial idea might call for a small storefront, but it is always a good idea to have room for an upgrade down the road. The alternative-moving your business to another location-can potentially drive away customers and hurt sales. Having the ability to add storage, table space, or sales floor space quickly can bolster your business.

Zoning

Zoning can be a big hurdle for potential new companies. Zoning is the local government’s authority to control the use of the land within a certain area. Each city is different and has its own unique zoning laws. Potential bar and club owners should be the wariest of zoning laws because these industries have strict regulations in most cities.

Renovation

Few pieces of commercial real estate come “move-in ready.” There will be a fair amount of renovation involved with any building in order to fit it to the needs of your business. Even so, there are some buildings or spaces that are better adapted to the needs of your venture. Consider how much of your budget you can devote to making the space your own.

Government/Economic Incentives

In some areas, state or local governments offer different loan, tax, or other financial incentives to create a certain type of business. Location often determines whether you qualify for any of these programs. Government assistance can be a big boost to a fledgling company, providing needed backing without having to deal with private investors.

As you get into the final stages of selecting the perfect piece of commercial real estate, it could be to your advantage to contact a local commercial real estate company. This agency will have a clearer picture of what sort of financial support you can expect from the community, it can also give you more insight into the market, and it can be a useful ally in closing a deal once you’ve settled on a prime target.

After that, all you have to do is start construction!

Can You Juggle a Baby and Being a Mommy Real Estate Agent?

Many pregnant women and moms of young babies start to think about finding a career that will bring them the opportunity of decent money while also being flexible enough to allow for spending time with the baby. And real estate seems to combine that potential for large commission checks with a flexible schedule. But can you really juggle the demands of motherhood and a real estate business?

If you are pregnant or just had a baby, you’re in luck! It’s a great time to start a real estate business. While pregnant, you have some time to devote to your licensing education and finding a broker. By the time you have your baby, you’re all set to start looking for clients.

But if you have a young baby (or two), you’re still in luck! Most normal human beings LOVE babies. Especially cute babies who aren’t too fussy. If you have a baby who is not walking yet then you have a marketing strategy wrapped up in a baby blanket!

Once the licensing is out of the way and you’ve found a broker, you can hit the ground running and start finding clients. You can easily find clients with your baby in tow, from the mall to the grocery store to Mommy groups. So some of your prospecting can be done while you’re just doing your day-to-day Mommy routine. And you can also take your little one to the real estate broker’s office on those days where you need to drop off paperwork, make copies or perform other office duties.

Once you start working with clients, you can’t get away with taking a baby to every single appointment. Especially on buyer appointments where you are showing multiple properties, it may get a bit arduous to lug a baby with you while opening lockboxes, pulling out keys, opening doors and showing homes that you may not have ever walked through before.

Not to mention that a really cute baby can sometimes be the wrong distraction…you want your clients to buy a home, not drool over how cute your child is. So you have to use your common sense as to when you can include your baby in any aspect of your real estate business.

In these instances, you’ll want to have someone lined up to watch your baby. If you have family or a friend close by who can watch your baby on short notice, that’s ideal. But if you need to make other arrangements, then plan ahead. You need to know what you will do when you have that demanding client who needs to meet you on short notice.

Baby naptimes are a great time for you to prospect for new real estate clients or make phone calls to your current clients. You can research online, create marketing materials, return emails and more.

Can real estate be a great business for mommies of young babies? Most definitely! Much of your real estate business can be worked on with your baby along for the ride. Few other industries are as Mommy-friendly as real estate.

Important Features of a Good Real Estate Agent

With an increase in the property business in almost every state, many people try their hand at being a real estate agent. Though it’s not wrong to choose it as a career, but the competition in the field has made it difficult to be successful in it. A good real estate agent literally needs to have the capability to sell and buy the properties wisely and handle his clients. Here is a brief discussion of the qualities that a realtor must have:

A good communicator

Undoubtedly, buying or selling a property is the biggest decision in anyone’s life and the concerned person is definitely interested in getting A-Z information about the things related to it. So an agent’s duty is to communicate and provide even the little information to the client and satisfy them with your services.

It is important to maintain the communication level with the clients. It actually keeps them in touch with you and they prefer approaching you for any real estate issues.

As the real estate market is time sensitive, you need to be in regular touch with the clients and keep on informing them about every minor update.

A Patient Listener

If your agent is talking too much, you have not made a wise choice. A good agent is the one who listens to his clients patiently and understands his needs. He must give you the opportunity to speak your requirements and then deal accordingly. A good agent shall be asking all the questions and not the other way around.

Adapting to the Client’s needs

A real estate agent shall be adapting in nature. As, there are different comfort zones for everyone, so an agent needs to judge those and adjust himself accordingly. For example, some are comfortable with texting, some with the emails and others may be comfortable in talking over the phone. So, you need to understand every client’s needs and make yourself available.

Honesty

Honesty is the biggest attribute to be successful in any business, so real estate is not an exception. Sellers look for the agents that will honestly tell them how things are exactly. They literally get rid of the worries once they are sure about your honesty, which gives you an opportunity to make maximum clients and be successful as an agent.

Hardworking

A realtor shall be dedicated and hard-working. Though showing various properties and regularly communicating to the clients is a tiring task, but you need to stay tireless and keep on working with complete dedication.

Above mentioned are the common qualities, a realtor shall possess. Imbibe these qualities and you’ll be a successful agent, no matter how competitive the sales environment is.