Every day, I receive at least one postcard in the mail from a real estate agent in my neighborhood. From images of recent sales in the neighborhood, to personalized notes that hypothesize the value of my home, it’s amazing to see how saturated the market is with real estate agents.
Let’s be honest, we all have a friend or at least a friend of a friend who works in real estate. After all, the National Association of Realtors boasts a membership of more than one million members and hundreds of thousands more carry a real estate license. With a marketplace flooded with salespeople, how can you choose the one who’s perfect for you?
Just as you wouldn’t seek out a physician who isn’t up to date with the latest in medicine, you would expect your real estate agent to be current in the business. Thus, here are five qualities you should keep in mind for spotting your perfect real estate agent in 2014.
1. Upgrade to the 21st century: In case you weren’t aware, more than 90 percent of home searches start online today. From Zillow to Craigslist and everywhere in between, the landscape for finding a home has dramatically changed over the past several decades. Today, the playing field has been leveled and the consumer is equipped with more information than ever before. Hence, you must find a way to channel and process information. Your real estate agent should act as a hub for all of these tools. Whether it’s a strong online presence or a deeper understanding of how technology interacts with the market, your modern day agent should be up to speed on all of the latest in social media and technology as well as how they interact with the market.
2. Don’t forget the importance of the network: Even with all the tools at your fingertips, your agent should still have a good network established within their brokerage as well as among other agents. Selling real estate is a multifaceted approach that includes many parties coming together (hence, the definition of brokerage). In a market that can be as competitive as D.C.’s, it’s important to have an agent that will represent you well to a variety of parties that you will touch through your transaction. Without a well-connected agent, you may miss out on the home of your dreams.
3. Expertise still matters: One thing that has not changed over the years is the importance of having an agent who is an expert in the marketplace. Whether it is a particular neighborhood, condo building or an expertise in working with a particular population of buyers or sellers, your agent should be able to provide you a service that includes knowledge of the current landscape. From the contract to trends in interest rates, the modern agent should be a vessel of knowledge.
4. Feel like an individual: Purchasing property, whether for the first time or several times after, is a deeply personal experience. For real estate agents, it’s easy for each interaction to feel procedural when each client actually unique. Thus, your agent should treat your needs as original and make you feel special as you make one of the greatest purchases of your life.
5. Through it all, human connection still matters: Finally, real estate transactions rely heavily on relationship building. From single transactions to repeat business with an agent, the human connection is still felt each time property is bought or sold. Overall, your real estate agent should be personable to work with and provide a positive experience in conveying your new home.
As with any profession, real estate is changing over time. With so many options of real estate agents to work with, I urge you to find the person who is perfect for you!
Tim Savoy is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Dupont Circle. He can be reached at 202.400.0534 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.