I knew that somewhere out there, the ideal real estate agent existed, and I found him. Is it because he can get me the best deals? Itâ€™s more than that. He tellsâ€¦ and sells the colorful truth.
So what do you think of these home descriptions?
In one description he warned potential customers: â€˜Dear God, itâ€™s difficult to imagine a more disgusting house than this.â€™
One description for a two bedrooms terraced house at Â£155, 000 reads: â€˜All the charm and poise of a vicar on crack. Hall, cloak room, sitting room, kitchen, bathroom, parking and rear courtyard garden. Suit midget on a budget.â€™
He chose to describe some homes as â€œgrubby, cramped and dirtyâ€ or â€œsuitable for the Addams Family.â€
Meanwhile, an elegant cottage is advertised as: â€˜An absolute stunner – if this cottage was a woman it would be Denise Van Outen in a rubber suit holding a cold flannel.â€™
A description for a one bedroom home reads: â€˜My personal favorite. Delicious as a small bun sprinkled with sugar on the top this place fair glistens with delight. Itâ€™s smooth and silky with a contempory twist but still holds fast to an ancient value. A must see and cracking investment.â€™
That got my attention!
The agent behind these effusive listings is Julian Bending from Somerset, England, who has decided to avoid wasting peopleâ€™s time by stating the obvious. After all, the property will speak for itself anyway at some point.
Perhaps Mr. Bending is a bit, shall we say, â€œextremeâ€ about the wording in his advertisements, but I do commend him for having one attribute that I wished real estate professionals, and salespeople in general, would be more typical to possess: brutal candor. Of course, this may not be your cup of tea, but a number of people including myself do find this type of honesty refreshing in this business.
So this got me thinking about what it is Iâ€™m really looking for in a broker; my thoughts ultimately spawning this wish list:
Wanted: My Ideal Real Estate Professional
Find me someone with all these characteristics, and theyâ€™ll have my business!
» Excellent communication skills
The job involves strong interpersonal skills so communication skills that will fit your target market is important.
» Flexible about their commissions and their terms
See if you can find an agent who will negotiate with you, give you some leeway or is open to discussion. For example, you should have the right to take the property off the market for any reason, to switch brokers or cancel the agreement without penalty if you are unsatisfied with the brokerâ€™s efforts. The agreement should be in effect 90 days and should only have a six-month period where you would owe this broker a commission if someone they showed the home returns to buy it later.
» Personable and easy to get along with
Since youâ€™re forging a business relationship with your agent, you should find someone who you like and has a great personality so that your experience with buying or selling a house is pleasant. Can you imagine what it would be like if youâ€™re stuck with someone youâ€™re constantly annoyed with, while steeped in the real estate process, which is aggravating enough? This would totally add to my stress level!
» A discount broker, perhaps?
A discount broker may be great for the money but may have less credibility. They may work better as a buyerâ€™s agent since listing agents will need experience with marketing and generating traffic to a house for sale.
» Good references
Like in any other job, an agent should be able to supply references.
» Recommended by someone you already know and trust
Did someone recommend your agent? If not, make sure you interview your candidates and ask questionsâ€¦Of course, interview or get to know the candidates you are considering to work with you. Be aware of the reputation of their agencies.
» Realistic and honest
Some brokers will try to get your listing by suggesting an unrealistically high price for your house. Theyâ€™ll tell you every house is the best house theyâ€™ve ever seen, every room is just about perfect, your kids are going to love it, the neighbors will love your barking dog. Theyâ€™ll tell you anything! An agent must disclose all the material facts of any transaction â€” everything they know about the property, good or bad. If a salesperson knows there are three inches of water in the basement every time it rains, he is obligated to disclose that fact.
» An expert in the neighborhoods youâ€™re dealing with
The person representing you needs to be an expert in the kind of property you are interested in buyingâ€¦or selling. Familiarity in the price range and neighborhood should be a priority. They should know your particular market, as well as the schools, taxes and local transportation. Someone with 4 or 5 years under their belt would be suitable, though folks with less experience may agree to negotiate their commissions. But as they say, you get what you pay for. Iâ€™d opt to pay for the experience.
» Professional and committed, not a fly by night
Iâ€™d prefer to consider somebody who was doing the job full time and for a long while. I do see quite a good number of people who start out as part time brokers to supplement other jobs, and recruiting their own relatives as customers. When they ask for my business, I politely tell them I have many other brokers I know who Iâ€™m considering.
» Consider choosing an agent who is a Realtor
Iâ€™d work with a realtor, as opposed to just an agent or a broker. Some key distinctions: all real estate agents need to be licensed by the state while those who also take additional tests become brokers who can run their own offices. Realtors are agents or brokers who belong to the National Association of Realtors, and pledge to subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Note that agents who are subscribers have access to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) (a database of all available properties that brokers use to find homes to show to buyers) through which members share listings and have access to many more properties than non-members. You can locate a Realtor in your area at www.realtor.com.
» Someone who has a good network or can provide other services
Will they help arrange a house inspection, refer you to qualified lending professionals and real estate attorneys, and conduct a study of the propertyâ€™s value? Good customer service shouldnâ€™t be too much to ask. Customer relationships are at the root of a salespersonâ€™s career, and agents are salespeople.
Do your agentâ€™s qualifications read like your resume? They should. After all, youâ€™re picking someone hopefully as sharp as you are in your line of work!
In our town, weâ€™re suffering from a real estate agent glut, or what you may call a bubble. I know way too many real estate professionals all vying for the same business: they approach the same people, the same friends and even relatives(!) as they hunt for clients. When youâ€™re in the middle of such networks and relationships, it gets tough, like when I had to choose between two very good friends to help us buy a house. It actually turned quite ugly after we selected one of them to be our agent based on the criteria Iâ€™ve listed above. I tried to be systematic and logical, but my choices were still questioned and taken personally.
If you are armed with a good list that can help justify the broker you decide to do business with, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll be one step closer to sleeping much better and feeling more comfortable about your home buying or selling decisions. Youâ€™ll approach these tasks with due diligence, despite all the subjectivity that comes along with signing up with a professional.