This topic came up when I was talking to a new client, who actually found me through Youtube. We talked about their interests in Nashville, and connected over both having lived in LA. We were talking about how the whole process works, because he had never purchased a home before, and also had never lived in Nashville and wanted to know a lot… which is great. He didn’t know what to ask, but he knew he needed to know more.
There have been questions that both he, and others have asked me about the process of buying, or selling, how I work and what the normal procedures and protocols are. Let’s be real, there’s hardly a protocol, but there is a standard set of things that are going to happen in every transaction.
But what I got most out of this particular call is that it felt like an interview about me and my job history and who I am. But not in a bad way, he lived 2000 miles away and wanted to dig deep and find out who the hell he was talking to! To this day we remain in touch, and I think it’s because of that initial genuine interest he had.
Now, when you’re selling your house, you typically interview various agents. This affords you the opportunity to get to know different personality types and really vet out who you think will help you best.
But when it comes to buying a house, most people will go with whoever the first person to take them on a showing is. Actually the statistic I’ve heard is that 80% of buyers will go with the first agent they meet in person. And this doesn’t really allow for you to get deep on the details with that person, you’re kind of relying on their personality, or the luck of the draw more than anything else.
So this video is an effort to show you that interviewing different agents, to see who you might work best with, is better than just going with the first person you meet. I mean you don’t belly up to the bar and commit to a potentially months long relationship with the person next to you just because they happened to show, right? Well I hope not. You’re gonna ask them some questions, at least. Again, I hope.
So that’s what this is about, and I’m gonna offer you a few questions and tips that can aid in this process and hopefully shortcut you to the person that will be the best for you.
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First of all, agents can be flakey. We get busy, it happens. Hey, I’ve ghosted people by accident but totally unintentionally… and agents work 7 days a week on a regular. So let’s just set one expectation out of the gate: An agent may not be your meme buddy, but they do meme well (ba dum crash). Eh??
But seriously, brass tax, you want to know if a person is fit for this job. You’re on a team together, you need someone you can rely on. The way a person answers these few questions will tell you more about them than they can, or will, admit.
Question 1: How do you typically like to communicate with your clients?
This is pretty basic. But there’s nothing worse than not being able to be in touch with your agent. It’s a stressful enough issue, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with a bad communicator. You will want to know how to get in touch with them in the way that they are most likely to respond. I know people that literally never listen to voicemail. It’s like it never existed. So if I want a call back from those people, I have to text them. Some people prefer email, but then you find out they have AOL and type with two fingers (two finger typing and dial up internet sounds).
I will tell you this, I receive and respond to all forms of communication except fax and smoke signals but I do respond well to emotive facial expressions (look to the left up and down, disapproving). I even put together a general information sheet that tells you exactly how to get in touch with me, who you can call if I’m not answering and you need immediate help, and I outline my hours in that document to try to make it easy and again, set clear expectations around the work that I do. Because we all have lives, so it’s good to know what to expect in terms of when and how someone can reach you, don’t you agree?
Now, you want to know about their negotiating skills, so put them under pressure…
Question 2. What makes you the best agent for me?
This is where you’re going to hear the elevator pitch, or not. Most REALTORS aren’t dumb, but not everyone can hide their real intent.
Listen deep. This may actually be life advice for you if you’re an avid talker. The more you talk, the less you’re likely to hear. And you want to be able to allow the person you’re interviewing to give you as much information as you can get from them. But that’s not the pro tip. The pro tip is that if you’re listening the way you should, the talker should give you a straight solid response and stop. If they are reeling things off they’re likely not giving you a straight answer. Or maybe it’s a straight answer, but at that moment they may be distracted or something else may be going on. This is valuable insight into how a person carries themselves in professional situations. Hell I get off topic all the time in conversation, but I try to at least let people know up front I have self-diagnosed ADHD (butterfly).
#3. Are you a full time agent?
This is important. If someone can only answer your questions after 6pm because that’s when they get off from their REAL JOB, or if they’re taking calls only on bathroom breaks, you’re going to have a hard time relying on them to handle the proper negotiations. I mean hell, if a person isn’t doing real estate full time, are they able to handle the day to day duties of a transaction? Here’s the thing, real estate contracts are heavily dependent on timelines that are set to occur throughout the deal. Over the course of, typically 30 to 45 days there are benchmark goals that have to be met. You want to be working with a person that is used to handling their own calendar, and can be in clear communication with you along the way. It’s far too stressful a situation for your agent to not be sure exactly when your inspection and resolution periods end. Because if you miss the date, you forfeit the contingency. That’s kind of a big deal if you find out 1 day before closing that the a/c doesn’t work properly.
You see these questions aren’t just about getting to know a person, they’re about getting to know if that person is right for your real estate transaction.
Another PRO TIP:
Take note of how many questions they answer before they start asking you questions about yourself. How interested are they in you? Is this a person you feel like you can trust based on not just their responses, but how they respond. Take note of their tone of voice and level of patience with you. A good negotiator has patience and listening skills. Just because someone has a good pitch doesn’t make them a good agent.
I’ll offer one more piece of advice here. Real estate transactions aren’t just sales, they’re not just these major negotiations – hell, I negotiate most of a deal before I even put an offer in on a typical residential transaction. Commercial transactions have proven to be a bit different, but I typically know whether we have a shot with a deal from the very first conversation I have with the other party. So, my advice is that you really do, as much as possible, need to work with someone that you feel like you can trust. Because the reality is that there’s a lot of money and resources on the line. You want to work with a professional that you know has your best interest in mind.
I hope this helps some in your search for a good agent. Peace homies.