In today’s real estate world, a large portion of the searching and marketing is now done online. Still, carefully choosing the right real estate agent is just as important as it ever was – and more difficult now because moving online has reduced that valuable face-to-face element. The right agent can help you sell your house faster and at a better price. Even so, many people put little thought or effort into making sure their agent is the right one for them. Don’t be one of those people. Instead, consider these 5 things to avoid when choosing the right real estate agent in Los Angeles.
1. A Part-Time Agent
Many new real estate agents begin their business on a part-time basis until they can build up a clientele and a solid reputation. And many part-time agents are very good at what they do. But if you needed brain surgery, would you choose a new doctor who practices only part-time? Choosing a full-time time real estate agent in Los Angeles will just increase your chances of getting an agent with the knowledge and experience you need. “Whether you’re a buyer or a seller,” market analysts say, “You want to choose an agent who is actively following the market every day. . . . You want an agent who is always available to show your home to prospective buyers.”
2. The Lowest-Priced Agent
Another thing to avoid when choosing the right real estate agent in Los Angeles is choosing your agent purely on the basis of price. Paying a lower commission may cut you out of a lot of valuable marketing benefits – and savvy online marketing is critical today. Consider what the real estate pros say: “Agents and real estate companies put up their own funds to market and advertise your home. Marketing and advertising can be expensive – the lower the commission, the less money will be available for marketing.”
3. An Agent Lacking Niche Knowledge and Experience
The right real estate agent in Los Angeles will have exactly the kind of niche knowledge and experience you need. So, above all, avoid an agent who is a generalist and doesn’t specialize in houses like yours and in your area. “Finding a neighborhood expert is especially important in areas where moving a block can raise or lower the value of a home by $100,000. An agent who specializes in a neighborhood may also be in touch with buyers who are looking for a home just like yours.” In addition, the right agent should specialize in the type of property you’re selling. If, for example, an agent specializes in condos, she would not be right for you when selling a single-family home.
Further, the right real estate agent in Los Angeles should have experience working with buyers and sellers in your price range. Many agents specialize in specific types of homes within clearly defined price ranges. So if yours is, say, a $150,000 home, an agent who specializes in $500,000+ homes wouldn’t be a good fit.
4. An Agent Who Insists on the Highest Price
A fourth thing to avoid when choosing the right real estate agent in Los Angeles is an agent who suggests or insists on the highest possible price for your home. Yes, you need to maximize profits, but you also have to price to sell. An agent who insists on the highest price is often just trying to keep her commission as high as possible – which is ultimately counterproductive for both you and the agent.
Pricing too high will cause your home to sit on the market longer. And the longer it sits there unsold, the less likely it is to sell because buyers will think something is wrong with it. And so it will continue to sit on the market, and your odds decrease even further.
5. Not Interviewing Properly
Finally, you should treat choosing an agent much like hiring an employee, which means an extensive interview process. And this, then, means you must avoid not asking plenty of the right questions when choosing the right real estate agent in Los Angeles. At a minimum, you should ask about experience, niche specialties, sales record (especially with respect to sale price compared to list price), and marketing strategy. And then be sure to check references and online reviews.
You can, however, greatly increase your chances of finding the right real estate agent in Los Angeles by using an agency that has a large pool of qualified local agents. With 90% of home buyers beginning their home searches online, it’s also imperative that your agent knows how to market to these buyers – as well as possessing skill in traditional marketing methods, which remain highly effective. All of this makes for a tall order, so make sure you don’t wind up with the wrong agent!