10 Questions & Tips To Help You Select A Real Estate Agent
Selecting the right real estate agent is one of the most critical components of any real estate transaction, as the caliber of the agent is directly correlated to the quality of the home buying or selling experience.
At Charleston Real Estate Services, we are proud to say that the majority of our clients come to us through personal referrals. Our clients pass our name along to their friends, family, and colleagues because of the great experience they’ve had buying or selling their home with us. They know first-hand, of the exceptional service we provide to our clients, and that they can trust us to provide the same level of quality to to their family and friends.
Below we have listed some questions and tips that can help you evaluate potential agents,
along with my own answers to each question.
How Long Have You Been Working In The Real Estate Business?
TIP: You’re looking for a seasoned agent who has seen a number of housing transactions. If you find yourself impressed with a rookie agent’s commitment and energy, do the due diligence to be sure they will be working closely with their managing broker every step of the way.
I have almost 10 years of experience in the real estate industry. When I initially started in the business, I was mentored by one of the top-producing Lowcountry BHHS agents. She taught me a tremendous amount and we continue to work together today, frequently partnering on transactions.
How Long Have You Lived In The Area?
TIP: Even if an agent is relatively new to real estate but they have lived in the area for a long time, their personal experience can go a long way toward helping you find the right home in the right location.
I have lived in Mount Pleasant for over 15 years and have raised my 3 children here.
My experiences with daily life in the Lowcountry have provided me with an in-depth understanding of the area and the unique features of various communities.
Are You Part Of A Team,
Or Do You Work Alone?
TIP: Many standalone agents provide excellent service but don’t ignore the value of a team, as even real estate agents take vacations or have personal emergencies. Many brokerages provide team support to help meet customers needs, which might improve your chance of buying the right property or selling a property faster.
As an agent, I like to provide services in the manner that my clients feel most comfortable with. I typically work alone; however, I have a couple of superb agents that I partner with when clients prefer a team approach. We also engage one another if any emergency needs should arise so that there is never an interruption to our clients' services.
What Is Your Work Schedule?
TIP: This is an important question if the person is a part-time agent. You will want to know their availability to tour houses with you or handle your property’s showings if you are selling. If they’re heading out of town anytime soon, make sure they have a back-up agent.
My work schedule is quite flexible, which means that I can typically meet with you whenever it is convenient for you.
Should an immediate need arise while I am unavailable, I would call upon one of my partner agents or my BHHS broker to ensure that your needs are met.
Do you specialize as a buyer’s or seller’s agent?
TIP: Some agents only want to work on the sell-side. Others love helping clients in their hunt for a perfect home. Some enjoy both! Look for an agent that aligns with your current needs.
As a certified relocation specialist, I tend to do more transactions on the buying side; however, I really enjoy both sides of the real estate process and am well prepared to help you with both buying and selling properties!
How many real estate transactions did you close in the past year?
TIP: You don’t need to work with a sales dynamo. But if a realtor has completed a reasonable number of successful transactions in the past year, you’ll know they take their real estate business seriously and will do the same with your purchase or sale.
I have achieved national recognition for my real estate sales accomplishments, most recently receiving the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Honor Society Award for 2022. The award recognizes the network’s top fourteen percent of sales GCI.
Tell me about your experience with negotiating?
TIP: You are looking for someone who truly enjoys the art of negotiating and will not hesitate to work diligently to get you what you need.
Negotiating & getting the best deal for my clients is my absolute favorite thing to do!!!
I grew up overseas where it was normal to bargain for everything, so negotiating is something that just comes naturally to me.
In fact, more than once when I've purchased a new vehicle, the dealership tried to recruit me to work for them because of my negotiating skills!
What markets do you target?
TIP: If you are looking to purchase in a large metro area with many smaller surrounding communities, you’ll want to know if your prospective agent has enough knowledge to effectively search for properties in the area you want to live. The right agent should be willing to do enough research to help you in any neighborhood or market you choose.
I enjoy helping clients with their real estate needs throughout the Lowcountry and have a working knowledge of the real estate market across the entire area.
That said, as a long-standing resident of Mount Pleasant, I truly love this community and all that it has to offer and am always excited to share my own home town with others!
What’s The Median Price For Homes In The Markets I Want To Purchase In?
TIP: You may not get an answer to this question immediately if they don’t have first-hand knowledge of the specific market area you are interested in, but if the agent is a true professional, they will follow up with a solid price breakdown to prove their initiative and willingness to serve.
I believe that this answer requires some research on the part of the realtor, to see what the latest comps in the area are.
Unless an agent has just bought or sold a "like kind" property in the past few weeks, I would be wary of an agent who provides an immediate answer.
I provide my clients with a set of comps (comparable properties in the area), so that pricing for both buying and selling is based upon accurate, real-time, market data.
Have You Ever Had A Complaint Filed Against You With Any State Department Of Real Estate?
TIP: You should know who you are dealing with and if others have reported problems working with them. A complaint doesn’t have to disqualify the agent from your list – after all, there are two sides to every story – but it may prove to be a ranking factor if you’re deciding between multiple agents.
I have never had a complaint filed against me with any state department of real estate.
My license number is 92030.
Below, I have provided a link to the SC licensee lookup site. You are welcome to verify my clean record using the button provided below.
My Full Legal Name is Lawrence Mathew Armstrong
Other Tips If You're Looking For An Agent To Help You Buy A Home
Competitive Offers & Negotiation: An experienced real estate agent will be able to affirm your budget and help you make competitive offers, and help negotiate deals with sellers to best meet your needs.
Understand Market Competition: A good real estate agent will educate you on the current market conditions for your area. For example, is it currently a buyer’s or seller’s market? How many offers does a typical house see? Are bidding wars frequent or are houses sitting on the market for weeks before being sold? A knowledgeable agent will help you explore available listings within your area while setting expectations on how to be competitive against other buyers when making an offer.
Getting The Right Home In Your Price Range: A quality real estate agent should make note of your priority features for a new home (is it location, amenities, floor plan, etc.), and help you find properties that meet as many as possible within your price range. If it's impossible to find a house that "has it all" within your budget, a good agent will suggest ideas for compromises that will allow you to keep as many of those priority features as possible.
Other Tips If You're Looking For An Agent To Sell A Home
Consider Home Improvement: A good real estate professional will inform you if you need to make any improvements to your house before entering the market and which updates make sense from a ROI (return on investment) standpoint, as well as which improvements will make your home the most attractive to buyers in the area.
Understanding Your Home’s Worth: An experienced agent representing you will give you a realistic property valuation of what your home is worth, while providing you an explanation as to why it is currently worth that value.
Review The Local Real Estate Market: Your real estate agent should be willing to provide you with a market analysis comparing your home to other similar homes within your area that recently sold. These are known as real estate comps.