What Makes for a Good Real Estate Agent?
There’s more to being a successful real estate agent than just being able to show houses.
In order to be successful, an agent should have a deep understanding of the market, be personable, and be able to work under pressure, among other crucial traits.
Let’s review some of the key factors to look for in a real estate agent, as well as some of the red flags to avoid.
Good Real Estate Agent Characteristics
Here are some of the key factors that make for a good real estate agent:
-Deep Understanding of the Market
A good real estate agent will have a deep understanding of the market.
This includes keeping up-to-date on market trends, having a keen eye for spotting potential good deals, and knowing how to negotiate with buyers and sellers alike.
A great agent can tell you what neighborhoods are seeing a lot of activity and which ones might be in decline. That agent can be your local guide to a market you might be unfamiliar with.
Without a deep understanding of the local market, an agent isn’t adding much value.
Naturally, a good real estate agent is someone who people feel comfortable working with.
This means being a good communicator, remaining positive even when things aren’t going great, and being able to build rapport quickly.
Buying and selling real estate can be quite stressful. An agent who can quickly put their clients at ease will be more successful than one who doesn’t have this skill.
-Works Well Under Pressure
Real estate often is a high-pressure business.
From meeting deadlines to dealing with difficult situations, an agent needs to be able to handle whatever comes his or her way.
The best agents are able to stay calm under pressure and think on their feet.
A successful real estate agent is organized.
This includes everything from keeping track of deadlines to maintaining accurate records.
A high-performing real estate agent might have multiple transactions going on at the same time. If that agent doesn’t have strong organizational skills, your deal (and any others) might go a whole lot slower, assuming the other side doesn’t walk away.
Experience with successfully closing transactions in the past is a tell tale sign that an agent is well-organized.
-Has a Strong Network
A good real estate agent has a strong network.
This includes other agents, loan officers, title companies, and inspectors. And that’s not to mention other buyers and sellers!
Especially if you’re new to an area, you might have a very small (or nonexistent!) network.
Your real estate agent is often your first point of contact to meet many other members of your team.
The stronger an agent’s network, the easier it will be to build your team.
Sometimes, an agent will have to show dozens of properties before they close on one with you.
This can be frustrating for both the agent and the client.
The key here is patience.
A good agent will be able to show you multiple properties without getting frustrated, and they’ll also be patient in explaining the process to you so that you’re not left feeling lost.
-Understands the Rental Property Game
A great agent will know how rental property investing works.
Ideally, that agent will be an investor him or herself.
This way, the agent can provide you with first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be a landlord and how to manage rental properties effectively.
An agent who doesn’t understand rental properties might even steer you away from a great deal simply by not knowing how to view it as an investment.
The best agents know how to think creatively about a deal – even if it might not work in one setting, it might work in another.
Maybe a property is not a great deal as a flip, but it could make for a great house hack. Or maybe a property would do terribly as a rental property as-is, but would be a great deal if you were able to add an additional unit or coach house.
That creative thinking is what sets apart the best real estate agents from the rest, especially when it comes to investing.
Real Estate Agent Red Flags
Of course, there are plenty of red flags to keep an eye out for when choosing a real estate agent. Here are a few factors to watch out for:
-Doesn’t Follow Up
If an agent doesn’t follow up with you after your first meeting, that’s a red flag.
The same goes for if they don’t respond to your calls or emails (or opposing party emails) in a timely manner.
For buyers, a good agent will make sure to stay in touch and keep you updated on new listings that match your criteria.
For sellers, a good agent will check in with prospective buyers if they’ve shown interest in your property.
Communication is key in real estate.
-Tries to Pressure You Into Something
A good agent will never try to pressure you into something.
This includes pressuring you to make an offer on a property or to sign a contract.
That said, an agent should help you to feel comfortable through the process. The agent is there to serve as your local expert and a guide through the transaction.
But if an agent is trying to push you into anything that you’re clearly not comfortable with, it’s best to walk away.
A good agent will always be transparent with you.
This includes being honest about commission payments, disclosing any potential conflicts of interest, and being upfront about any fees.
He or she will also let you know what’s going on with any negotiations as they happen.
An agent who isn’t transparent with you isn’t worth your time.
-Ignores Fair Housing Laws
All real estate agents are required to follow fair housing laws.
These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and other factors.
While this should go without saying, if an agent is willing to ignore these laws, they’re not someone you want to work with.
-Focuses on the Commission
A good agent isn’t focused on the commission he or she will make from the sale.
Instead, a good agent focusses on getting you the best deal possible and making sure you’re happy with the outcome.
The agent will end up making more money over the long run if he or she focuses on helping a serious buyer or seller. That’s because satisfied clients will be more likely to refer business to that agent or do another deal in the future.
If an agent seems more interested in a commission check than anything else, it’s a good idea to find someone who’s more aligned with your goals.
Conclusion – What Makes for a Good Real Estate Agent?
The bottom line is that a good real estate agent can make a deal that much smoother.
If you’re looking for a successful real estate agent, these are some of the key factors to look for.
Make sure your agent has a deep understanding of the market, is personable, and can handle whatever comes their way.
With these qualities, you’re likely to have a positive experience working with your agent and a successful outcome in buying or selling your property.
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