The Perfect Agent
"What's it worth?" The wrong answer to this question can cost you big bucks! Worse yet, there's no simple answer to this deceptively simple question because home prices aren't precise. Houses sell for fair market value, which is whatever buyers offer and sellers accept. Fair market value is not a specific number; it's a price range.
A good agent can be the foundation of your real estate team. An agent can help you find a home that meets your needs, negotiate for that home on your behalf, supervise property inspections, and coordinate the closing. Agents often have useful leads for mortgage loans. A good agent's negotiating skills and knowledge of property values can save you thousands of dollars.
Recognizing the attributes of the best agents
All the best agents have certain important qualities in common:
- They educate you: Your agent knows the buying process and carefully explains each step so that you understand exactly what's happening at all times. Agents should be patient, not pushy.
- They enable you to make good decisions: Your agent always explains what your options are so that you can make wise decisions regarding your best course of action. They advise you if they think that you should add other experts (property inspectors, lawyers, and so on) to your team -- experts don't threaten a good agent.
- They voluntarily limit themselves geographically and by property type: Good agents know that trying to be all things to all people invariably results in mediocre service. Even though real estate laws are the same throughout your state, different areas within the state generally have radically different market conditions, local zoning ordinances, and building code restrictions.
- They have contacts: Folks prefer doing business with people they know, respect, and trust. You can make use of your agent's working relationships with local lenders, property inspectors, lawyers, title officers, insurance agents, government officials, and other real estate agents.
- They have time for you: Success is a two-edged sword. An agent who is already working with several other buyers and sellers probably doesn't have enough surplus time to serve you properly. Occasional scheduling conflicts are unavoidable. If, however, you often find your needs being neglected because your agent's time is over committed, get a new agent.