Have you found yourself listening to a spiel from a real estate agent and thought, “Yeah, but what are you really going to do that I can’t do myself”? That’s fair. Completely fair. Especially since a large percentage of the time you’ll find a home you like before a realtor has a chance to tell you about it. Hey, you can take good pictures of your home, probably write a better description of it’s features and market it online just as creatively as the next guy. I mean, certainly you can figure out how to post it all over various real estate sites, you do more difficult things in a days time. Vibrant and successful real estate professionals know what you are capable of and realize while those things are important, that is no longer where their true value lies.

If an agent can’t tell you a clear story of what they will bring to the table over and above these things… find a different one. Don’t continue a conversation with an “industry expert” if they pitch you on how they will market your home on social media, get you professional photography and videography and will hold open houses! Duh, you can do that. Those experts, while they are probably very lovely people, may not be the best choice for representation in a highly competitive buyer’s market or the people you want to rely on generating a top dollar sale from your home so that you can make an upward move.

So, what does the real estate agent look like that is worthy of your real estate business in 2019? They look like someone who can give you clear and concise answers to the following questions without stumbling over their words.

Let’s break it down for a buyer, then for a seller.

First, as a buyer, ask your prospective real estate agent 3 questions like these:

1. What are you going to do to find a home that meets my criteria if I can’t find it in this low inventory market? 

You can find the homes you like online, right? Right. So, if you really only want to move to a specific street or neighborhood that can be challenging in a competitive low inventory market, right? Right. Look for an agent who will do MORE and define MORE in your home search efforts.

2. How are you going to negotiate in a competitive situation to make sure I have the best chance of winning the bidding war, should there be one?

Negotiating without an agent can often be uncomfortable but find out if the person you will be working with can actually negotiate BETTER THAN YOU! People overlook asking agents about this all the time and it is arguably the most important thing they will be doing for you.

3. Can you tell me a situation in the last three months where one of your buyers ran into an issue where, as their real estate expert, you were able to provide them with clarity or a solution to that problem?

Did they go take video of a home that hit the market while their clients were out of town so their clients didn’t miss out on it?  Did they see a lender flake out on a buyer and find them one who could get the loan done on short notice without hiccup? There are real things that pop up in every single transaction that real estate agents help clients overcome, a successful agent should have plenty of war stories to share.

As a seller, ask these 3 questions:

1. If things are flying off the market so fast right now, what is the value in your service?

It’s a funny thing really, when a home sits and doesn’t move fast, sellers often think their agent isn’t doing all they can do. They might be right, they might not. This is the funny part though, on the flip side, when a home sells fast home sellers often think listing agents aren’t worth what they are paying them. I mean, it seemed so simple. A good-high quality-real estate professional does A TON of research and preparation prior to putting your home on the market. You will know their value and they should be able to tell you all about it. 

2. I know that when you put a property into the listings system it is fed out to hundreds of sites and you post it to social media platforms but what is your approach for capitalizing on this exposure for your sellers and what other things will you be doing?

Make sure your agent has someone on their team or at the very least some tools they utilize to help create an aesthetic for your marketing. You wouldn’t believe how many people try to slap some junk together and call it pretty. More importantly though, who is responding to all of the inquiries and comments online about your home? If their marketing is truly as pretty as they think, there will be interest. Who is qualifying these buyers? Who is following up, because believe you me, even a serious buyer who loves your home will need information and thoughtful persuasion.

3. From the time of listing to the time of closing, can you tell me the top 3 things you are going to do to protect my interests?

They should borderline insult you here, if they’re good. I’m kidding, almost. They should tell you, prior to listing your home I am going to point out all of things that a buyer will object to and how we will overcome those objections. A good real estate agent is going to tell you that you need to remove your grandmother’s distractingly ugly painting off the wall (sorry grandma). A great agent will then go on to tell you something like, “after we list your home I am going to try a new approach every single day to getting your home in front of the right buyer pool”. An excellent one will then finish up by telling you I am going to find the red flags in your contract when you don’t want to and then after you successfully close, I am not going to forget about you. As much as you will be ready to move on, an excellent agent will always be looking out for your real estate investment interest and contact you if they see an opportunity fit for you. And you will want to hear from them.

There are loads of excellent real estate agents out there. Unfortunately, there are also loads of nice ones who might be your cousin’s girlfriend’s mother or father who you once sat by at a wedding and now feel compelled to use. He or she might not be filled with the ambition and grit you need. Find an experienced, educated, full-time and dedicated professional who can clearly present their value and you won’t wonder “yeah, but what are you really going to do that I can’t do myself?”.

Tiffany Rovin

Chief Operating Officer

Blondin Professional Real Estate