7 Things You Can Learn About A Realtor From an Open House
You’ve asked friends for referrals and have interviewed a handful of the best ones. You’ve read the Yelp reviews, the websites and the reviews of dozens of real estate agents. Even after all of this research, though, you’re still not sure you’ve done everything you can to find the best real estate agent. What else can you do? According to the top agents in the country, the best way to know for sure whether an agent is good is to attend an open house.
First Impressions Count
“Go to an open house that’s being held in the town, neighborhood, price range and house type you are interested in buying,” says Shawn Gardner, a Broker/Realtor specializing in luxury home sales in Fairfield, Connecticut. “Look for open houses that make it easy for you to attend — either on a weekend, or evening. Watch the Broker/Realtor to see how they interact with attendees. Are they friendly, welcoming and proactive? Are they pushy or laid back? Do they greet you immediately? Are they calm, or nervous, warm or cold? Do you get the sense they’ve done this many times and still enjoy it, or do they seem anxious and bored and wanting to be elsewhere? This is the person you’ll be working with if you hire them. The primary thing you’re looking for here is, do you feel comfortable with their style and personality?
Is The Agent or Realtor Hosting Their Own Listing?
As soon as you walk in, ask the agent who greets you if this is their listing, or another broker or agent’s listing. An agent or broker who hosts their own open houses cares about their property listings and their clients. No one knows their listing better than they do. If you get to an open house and find the listing agent isn’t there, take the tour if you like, but walk away, Gardner says. The listing agent is the one best suited to answer all the questions about the property. “There’s no way another broker knows the house as well as the listing agent. A broker that takes care of other clients will take care of you too. If you want to find a committed, caring agent, find a house where the listing broker is hosting and showing the house.”
How Many Listings Does this Agent Have?
The point of visiting an open house in the area of town or the neighborhood you’re interested in is to find an agent/broker with listings in that area. An agent hosting an open house in the area you’re interested in is more likely to be familiar with the area as well. They’re more likely to know the community, the schools, stores, shopping and other amenities the area has to offer.
If you have determined that the broker/agent is showing their own listing and has experience and listings in the area, then they may be a good candidate. This is where your interview begins. They don’t know they’re being interviewed, but you do.
Are Your Priorities the Same as Theirs?
Agents have their favorite home features, just as you do. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it helps if you both love the same kinds of features. Maybe you love Craftsman homes– it’s better if your agent does too. You want to see if what’s important to you is as important to them. Take the tour. Notice what features are they pointing out. Does what they’re focusing on resonate with you? They should not only be watching you and your response to gauge your interest, they should also be asking you questions about what they’re pointing out.
Does the Realtor Talk or Listen More?
A good broker does more listening than talking. You can’t learn much about a buyer if you’re doing all the talking. Is the broker/agent asking you about your lifestyle, needs and interests? Are they trying to determine what you need as well as what you want in a home? Do they dig deeper? If, for instance, you tell them you want walk-in closets in every bedroom in the house, do they ask why? Are they genuinely curious about why you are adamant about five bedrooms and five bathrooms, or do they just nod and keep on going? Your agent should be as or more curious about why you prefer an open floor plan as they are about what you want to spend. More than just collecting answers, they should be engaging with you in an effort to understand your needs and wants, not just be able to list them. Why? You may have a family member in a wheelchair, or have pets, or a large family. Knowing why you want the features you want is important in finding a house that fits your lifestyle needs, not just your square footage needs.
Test Their Knowledge of the Market
Ask questions. Find out what other homes in the neighborhood have sold for. If you’re buying in the luxury market, ask them about that. Many luxury home brokers may only sell one or two homes a year, or they may be part-time brokers and not really up with current trends. You want an agent that knows their properties and their market, as well as what’s selling and what’s not.
Test Your Gut
Trust your intuition. Only you know if a person “feels” right, safe, and trustworthy. Even if all the surface stuff, the questions and the answers are good, if there’s even a hint of something being off or not right about an agent, trust your instincts and walk away. Better to make a mistake and leave a good agent than to ignore your instincts and trust a bad one.
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