By Roy Sanborn REALTOR®
Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Real Estate
June was a great month for single family home sales in our Lakes region communities with 112 transactions taking place at an average sales price of $325,548. That brings the total number of transactions for the first half of 2015 to 417 at an average price of $309,625. That is up from last year's first-half total of 408 transactions at an average of $299,623.
How do you choose a real estate agent to work with you to buy or sell your house? There are a thousand or so agents in the Lakes Region, so there's plenty to choose from. And, like any other group of people, the agent pool consists of a wide cross section with diverse personalities, talent, and dedication to the profession that they have chosen to be in.
So where do you start? Do you choose a top producing agent, or would you pick someone new? Do you pick someone because you liked their photo? Or, do you go with your sister's cousin that just got into the business and you want to help get her started? Do you pick a national franchise agency or a locally owned agency? After all, buying or selling a home is likely the biggest transaction you are going to do in a while, so picking the right agent is really a pretty big deal. It's not like you can send the uncooked fish you were just served back to the kitchen or play a second game of one on one basketball with your 16-year-old after he whips your butt. A real estate transaction is monumental and you don't get do-overs.
There are a lot of articles about how to pick a real estate agent on the internet that you can read. They point out that you could base your choice on how many houses an agent sells or how long he (or she) has been in the business. But just because someone hasn't sold many houses yet doesn't mean he is not a great agent and wouldn't do a fantastic job for you. The agent may be just getting started and is smart as a whip and will do a better job than the agent that's been in the business for 20 years who perhaps hasn't kept up with new technology and marketing strategies used today.
Educational credentials are always a plus and make sure the agent is a Realtor as it signifies he is a member of the National Association of Realtors and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
So, yes, while these are good things to check, get some recommendations from friends, acquaintances, or family members and pick three agents to interview. An agent with a good personality that you can relate to is a pretty key component. You could be looking for a home or trying to sell the house you own for months, so you better like who you have hired to do the job or it could be a long row to hoe. Interview the agents, pick one you like and work with him or her for a while. If you are buying a house you don't have to sign a buyer agency agreement right away. Get to know each other and see if it is a good fit. It's a partnership. It has to work for both parties. If it doesn't, find another agent.
If you are selling a house, the choice can be a little harder. You need to really be choosey because when you list your property you are entering into a contractual relationship right away. You really want to know what the agency is going to do for you and what they and the agent bring to the table.
First find out how and where the agency markets properties. The agent's listing presentation should spell it all out and leave no doubt in your mind that his is the agency that can do the best job for you. Does the agency have a great web presence? Do they produce great marketing materials? Do they provide professional photography, virtual tours, and color brochures?
Find out what the agent does above and beyond the services offered by the agency. Find out if he embraces new technology (today's buyers do...), does he know what it takes to sell a home in this market, does he invest in and promote himself as an agent and you as a client, is he visible on the internet, is he hungry for business? How well does he communicate? Does he assist all showings or are showings unassisted? Find out what he has sold and what he currently has listed. Has he sold similar properties? Does he know your area?
Lastly, is the agent full-time or is he part-time? While a part-time agent can do a good job, remember he is only available part time. That not only limits your access to him but also limits other agents from being able to reach him. If he is part-time, does he have an agent that covers for him when he is at his other job?
To me that's it. Pick someone you really like that has talent, is personable, and a real dedication to his craft and you should be in pretty good shape!
Pease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others.
Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 7/20/15.
Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.
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