Five Tips For Choosing The Right Real Estate Agent

By Allan Crooks
Wednesday - September 19, 2007
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Thinking of putting your home on the market? The first and most important step a home owner can make is to contact a Real Estate Agent.

A Sellers Agent’s goal is to get the best possible price for the home by providing assistance with preparing the home for sale, designing a marketing campaign, and pricing the home appropriately. Once you have a Buyer, the Seller’s Agent will negotiate on your behalf and guide you through the complex escrow process to a successful closing. In essence, a Real Estate Agent will handle the complex sales process for you, from beginning to end.

Given that there is so much invested financially in the sale of real estate and that home owners often have tremendous emotional attachment to their residences, selecting the right Agent can make all the difference between a smooth and profitable transaction and one fraught with difficulties. Here are 5 tips (in no particular order) for selecting your ideal Real Estate Agent.

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Make sure your Real Estate Agent works full time as a real estate professional. Being licensed in no way indicates competency in Real Estate. In fact, in Hawaii nearly everyone has someone in their family with a real estate license. The question is whether you are willing to entrust the sale of your largest financial asset to a part-timer or to someone who has made real estate their career. The best Agents have spent years learning their industry. Effectively analyzing the nuances of the different neighborhoods, prepping and pricing a home appropriately, and the ability to negotiate and minimize a client’s exposure to liability are only learned through years of experience.

Make sure your Real Estate Agent has a reputation for fair and honest business dealings.

Allan and Soomi Crooks congratulate the Fenwicks on the sale of their beautifully custom designed Kaneohe Bay view home.
Allan and Soomi Crooks congratulate the Fenwicks on the sale of their beautifully custom designed Kaneohe Bay view home.

Real Estate Agents earn their commission, typically paid by the Seller, when they close a transaction; therefore they have a vested interest in making sure the sale goes through.

Consequently, when a selecting an Agent, the Seller must feel confident that the Agent will always put the Seller’s interests first . Don’t be afraid to ask for references or letters of recommendation. One of the easiest ways to check on an agent is to look them up on the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website ( http://pahoehoe.ehawaii.gov/cms/app ) to see if they have any complaints and, more importantly, judgments against them.

Your Agent should be your advocate throughout the entire sale process. The Sellers Agent’s responsibility is to ethically get the highest possible price at the best possible terms for the Seller. An Agent should always represent the Seller in this manner whenever discussing the property. The agent’s fiduciary responsibility to the Seller is to also minimize liability risks. Your agent should be overseeing the contract timeframes to ensure that both parties are abiding by the contract and proactively address any possible contractual issues. Furthermore, the Sellers Agent should also be present during any inspections to ensure that an overzealous inspector or Buyer does not damage the property. Finally, the Sellers Agent should assist in reviewing escrow documents and be present at signing.

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Make sure your Agent is willing to provide you with the level of service you deserve. A Seller’s Agent should be able to recommend painters, handymen, roofers, flooring specialists, and any other experts necessary to prepare the home for market. Your agent should also be willing to assist in staging the home. Once the home is on the market, the agent should aggressively market the home through print and internet media as well as open houses and private showings. Ideally, the home owner should not personally show his or her own home. The owner ’ s Agent should show the home in order to serve as a buffer between the Buyer and Seller. Furthermore, a good Real Estate Agent is trained to show the home in its “best light” with the end goal of selling your home with a higher sales price, faster.

Interview several Real Estate Agents before making your final selection. Not only must a good Agent be able to meet the foregoing criteria, the Agent must also be someone with whom you can work and communicate openly. As diverse as there are properties, there are Real Estate Agents. Perhaps you are more comfortable working with a an Agent whose personality is softer and more sensitive. Perhaps you want your Agent to be as aggressive as a bulldog. Sellers work with their Real Estate Agents very closely until the property is sold. Your Agent will become an integral part of your life for that period of time, so make sure your personality is compatible with your Agent’s.

Allan and Soomi Crooks are a husband and wife real estate team with Prudential Advantage Realty who specialize in Hawaii real estate. They are both practicing real estate agents and also licensed as Brokers. Allan is the Contract Manager for Prudential Advantage Realty and has the responsibility of reviewing and approving the contracts that come through the Brokerage. Allan and Soomi were recognized by Prudential nationally in 2005 and 2006 with the Presidents Circle Award, given to the top 5% of Prudential Agents nationwide. Their success in Real Estate is due to their integrity, experience, a staunch desire to always protect their clients’ interests, and good old-fashioned hard work.


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