There are several articles circulating on the web about how to choose a real estate agent. They all seem to say the same thing, and they all also miss out on a few important qualities that brokers and agents should possess in this day and age. One of these qualities includes the latest real estate big data technology. But more on that later.
Here are some of the usual tips these articles include when looking for an agent:
– Talk with recent clients. Sure, good advice. But be wary, any professional can always keep a handful of happy clients in their back pocket, even if 80% of their other clients were not satisfied.
– Look up licensing and certifications. Are they a member of the National Association of Realtors? Are they a Certified Residential Specialist? An Accredited Buyer’s Representative? Perhaps they are certified as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. Doesn’t hurt to ask. Any certifications or awards are certainly helpful in determining the background of an agent.
– Pick a winner. This is subjective. How do you determine a winner? By the number of home sales in the past 12 months. By the number of their listings? Strong activity certainly indicates they have something going on.
– Check credentials. Are they licensed? Where did they go to school?
– How long in business. This criteria can be deceiving. An agent or broker could be in the business for 20 years but they might not be the right person for you. Perhaps they are a part-time real estate agent, someone who plays golf every day and perhaps sells or lists a few homes every now and then. Is this person going to hustle for you? Probably not. But if there is someone who has been in business for 20 years and shows a tremendous track record, then you can see this person does work hard for their clients.
– Check their current listings. If people are listing with them, that’s a good sign. But also check the quality of the properties. If the agent has listings but most are just run down, low-priced properties, perhaps they are not truly leaders in the area.
– What is their knowledge of other homes in the market? This is huge. You want a person who knows the market inside and out. What homes are really selling for? Which prices are realistic, not crazily inflated? What’s the true value of certain properties? Which schools and other amenities are influencing the price and sale of homes.
Which bring us to the next point, a point missed by many articles about how to choose the best real estate agent.
This is 2015. The era of Big Data and the high-speed Internet. What about the technological credentials of a real estate agent? What can he or she bring to the table in terms of real estate big data?
Does that agent have the latest market information at their fingertips? Do they have it sparsed down to the hyperlocal markets? Can they show you a chart of home sales in particular neighborhoods?
Speaking of neighborhoods, what do they know about the surrounding area, which has a huge impact on property values and the particular amenities that home buyers want in a location?
Sure, an agent might be able to say, “Yes I know the schools. That school over there is okay and that school over there is not as popular for some reason.”
But what about hard data? Does that agent have access to student/teacher ratios? The number of students? The demographic breakdown of the student body? The name of the current principal.
An agent should not just be giving out anecdotal information they may have heard about a school, but should give a buyer access to facts. And the consumer should not have to go digging for that information, but should be able to find it on an agents website.
What about recent homes sales? Does the agent offer that information on that site as well? Or does a consumer have to surf through a myriad of sites trying to find that information and wondering the whole time if they are using a legitimate source?
Real estate is all about location, location, location. So, what is located close to the homes a consumer might consider buying?
Does the agent have any interactive maps where they can pull up, say, the closest golf courses? Or the nearest interstate? Or, the closest hospital? Italian restaurant? Gym? Bookstore?
Is that agent going to say, “I think there’s a pretty decent gym over there on Third Street.”
Or, are they going to have access to real estate big data that includes an enormous database of local amenities, such as personal fitness centers, so they can show consumers the proximity provided by each home location?
This is 2015. There are tools out there that real estate agents should be embedding on their website that gives consumers access to enormous an database of hyper-local information.
Home Junction is a provider of that hyper-local real estate big data. They have the apps to integrate massive amounts of data with any real estate website.
So consumers are going to be asking the usual questions they found somewhere on the web about how to pick a real estate agent. That list will include the usual, age-old items.
But what impact do you think an agent will have on a consumer if they show them they also have gathered this gold mine of enormous hyper-local big real estate data to help consumers make a decision on which home to buy? And they can customize that data to the personal preferences of each buyer.
That’s a question that doesn’t need an answer. It’s a given. In 2015, a time of iPads and smartphones where consumers have access to unlimited amounts of information, the impact an agent can have as a source of quality, local data is enormous.
It’s a game changer when it comes to selecting agent.
Sure, you need to address those other questions. But in this technological age, be sure to cover the technology angle.