Whether you’re buying or selling real estate, you probably intend to work with an agent. And you also know that you need to interview potential agents before you enter into this business relationship. The difficulty here lies in knowing just what you need to find out about prospective agents and what questions to ask to get that information. Some things, after all, matter much more than others. Here, then, are the 3 most important things to consider before hiring a real estate agent in Atlanta.
1. Length of Time in the Business and Experience
Typically, you’ll be better off with a real estate agent in Atlanta who has a lot of years in the business and plenty of experience. You can, of course, occasionally strike gold with a newbie, but there are just so many things in this business that can be learned only in the trenches.
There’s a long-standing saying in the real estate business that runs like this: “[T]here’s nothing wrong with a new agent that a little experience can’t fix.” The basis of this saying is the fact that so much of it – the agility, the adaptability, the people skills – can be acquired only through hands-on experience.
“[T]here’s no bar exam for real estate agents, and no school offers a degree in how to handle problems in a transaction. Agents learn on the job. The more sales an agent has completed, the more he knows. It’s even possible that he’s taken courses and attended seminars,” and the longer an agent has been in the game, the more of this additional training she will have had.
2. Number of AnnualTransactions and List-Price-to-Sales-Price Ratio
The consideration of the next importance for hiring a real estate agent in Atlanta involves two important stats: 1) the number of annual transactions (especially in the current year) and 2) the agent’s average list-price-to-sales-price ratio.
After finding out about a prospective agent’s level of experience, the next thing you should ask is how many transactions they’ve done so far this year. The exact number doesn’t matter as much as the impression that you get of how well they’re doing at keeping business consistent. Ideally, you’ll want to go with someone who works in the industry consistently, rather than part-time or sporadically. Odds are, they’ll have more expertise to loan you as you work together toward buying or selling your home.”
Then, you should find out about the average list-price-to-sales-price ratio for a prospective real estate agent in Atlanta. This ratio, which indicates how close the agent came to the list price when brokering a purchase or a sale, matters for both buyers and sellers.
Although the average ratio depends in part on the market conditions, a “good buyer’s agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that’s lower than the list price, at least if you take sizzling seller’s markets out of the equation. A competent listing agent should have a track record for negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices.” In concrete figures, this means that“[l]isting agents should have higher ratios that are closer to 100%, while buyer’s agents’ ratios should fall below 99%.”
But keep in mind that sometimes “market value has no bearing on the asking price, and ratios are meaningless in this case.” That’s why there’s one more thing to consider before hiring an agent.
3. Having Your Best Interests in Mind and a Good Fit
Sometimes, when choosing from among prospect agents, it seems to be a tie because they have a similar experience, transaction volumes, and list-price-to-sales-price ratios. In that case, the win should probably go to the real estate agent in Atlanta who seems more likely to have your best interests in mind and who looks to be the best fit for you.
“A good real estate agent isn’t there to just ‘yes’ you through the entire process. He or she is there to be your guide through the transaction, and that includes pointing out the good, the bad, and the ugly, even when you may not want to hear it. If you can find an agent that does just that, you know you’ll be in good hands throughout the transaction.”
And you need an agent who will be a good fit, one you can work with and establish a productive relationship with. If you do your research and interview a minimum of three agents, you can get a good sense of which one is right for you. Ultimately, the decision rests with you, so be sure to do your due diligence.
Making It Easier
If working through these considerations – researching, checking reviews, and conducting interviews – before hiring an agent seems like a lot of work, that’s because it is. But there is an easier way to find a good agent. And that is to contact a premier agency right out of the gate. If you want to find a top-notch, experienced real estate agent in Atlanta, contact us today at (404) 977-5054.