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7 Items That Help Evaluate An Agent’s Competence
Every home buyer, seller, or investor would want their real estate agents to be competent and capable if they are hiring one.
But the world is not ideal.
And sometimes, we end up hiring agents who go about their activities in a manner that don’t really give you full confidence of the works going on behind the scene.
You might be able to sleep in peace should you know that this is an agent that means business.
Yet how can you tell if this person has a level of ability which is above average and definitely not a rookie in the industry?
If you are paying the “standard” commission in the industry to an agent, surely you’d find more value in a shark of an agent rather than one who has just started to learn the ropes?
Here are some informational items that will help you evaluate and judge how competent an agent really is.
Take note that sometimes agents will refuse to provide the information listed below citing “confidentiality”. Personally, I would be wary of hiring any agent who is not open with their numbers. You have to decide for yourself whether to hire those who do not provide the below information.
1) Listings currently being managed
Sometimes, agents might be wary not to reveal this information as they are afraid that you might be trying to get this information to assess how busy they are and whether they have time for you.
But this is not the purpose of gathering this data.
Property addresses can reveal how focused and how well an agent knows the neighborhood geographically.
People who have intimate knowledge of local areas tend to be better to selling and marketing the houses.
A recent history of the deals he/she has closed in the most recent 6 to 12 months can also paint a picture of where the agent’s stronghold are and even reinforce the local expertise.
Saying this, you might want to stay away from agents who have no listings in the vicinity of your area at all.
2) Type of property
To the average homeowner, a home could just be a home. Be it a condominium, townhouse, apartment, or house, etc, they are all the same.
But when you delve deeper into real estate, you would realize that the tasks of selling different types of houses can often require different sets of skills.
If for example, you find that an agent does all his sales on condominiums, he/she might not be able to market a house as effectively as an agent who only deal with houses.
By the same token, if someone usually only deal with new homes at sales launches, he/she might not be very up to date with what’s going on with resale homes.
3) Range of transactions
There’s a reason why agents like to champion themselves in flyers about how they have sold multi-million dollar properties.
It’s because a home owner who has a million-dollar property to sell would more likely put his trust on someone who has been there and done that… rather than someone who hasn’t.
This cuts both ways.
If your property is worth $250,000 and an agent is used to dealing with houses that trade close to a million dollars, you will be wasting each other’s times.
4) Days on market
The days-on-market (DOM) is an indicator for how many days a property was on the market before eventually being sold.
If possible get the details for the individual transactions they reveal and the average.
Then compare the figures with the average DOM of real estate in the area.
This will give you an indication of how well a job the agent is doing against the market.
5) Selling or buying expert?
Agents who have been around the block tend to have an evenly spread out portfolio of buying and selling clients.
If for example you are hiring someone to help you sell and find that an agent did 90% of his deals for the buying side, you might have a problem.
On this issue also take note of the other agents they did their deals with.
Sometimes agents are so lazy and protective that they only deal with clients from agents in their own office. This effectively eliminates all potential prospects with agents from other agencies.
As a seller, you’d want to have as huge a pool of potential buyers from everywhere. Not just from a particular agent’s office.
6) Total sales transactions for the year
This is to judge the level of productivity of an agent. You will also have to take in the number of units into account to generate a clearer picture.
Sometimes a huge sales number is attributed to a couple of very big sales during the year.
And sometimes, a low number might not tell the whole picture as it could have come from a multitude of transactions below the average housing price.
The safe bet is to hire someone who is not in the lower end… and yet not at or close to the pinnacle.
The problem with the former is that they may not be as good as they claim to be. And the latter might not have time to attend to you properly.
7) Reference of previous clients
Most agents would be more than willing to provide reference details of previous clients. Partly because they would surely only provide references who only have good things to say about them.
However, a lot of times clients only put on a friendly facade. You never know what you might hear straight from the mouth of a previous customer.
Just make some friendly calls and introduce yourself. The experience of buying or selling a house is often something people like to talk about.
You can bet that if an agent did a good job that the previous client would praise his/her service. And vice-versa.
Agents are trained to market and present themselves as well as any professional you can imagine.
But quantitative and qualitative information should be able to help you evaluate whether one is truly walking the talk or just hiding behind the covers.