Realtors Everywhere Have a Really Bad Rep – Often for Good Reason
Having been both a lawyer and a realtor, I can’t say which field is the brunt of more jokes. There is often a basis in truth for the ridicule but it is not always deserved. Like lawyers, some Hoboken realtors are just wonderful, others not. Like most things in life, though, the skill and competency of realtors falls on a bell curve. Most fall somewhere in the middle. So how do you, the Hoboken home owner or Hoboken condo buyer choose? What should you look for or avoid? Here are ten very crucial factors to help you sort out the good Hoboken real estate agents from the bad.
1. Realtors With No Experience In Real Estate
Sounds obvious, no? Yet there are plenty of Hoboken realtors out there who have never owned a home, never purchased an investment property, never been a landlord, never managed a property, never sold a condo. Without experience in real estate, a real estate agent may not understand what it is like to be in your position as a buyer or seller. An agent who has bought, sold and owned property is better able to anticipate the pitfalls of buying or selling, to advise you on what to look for or what to avoid. An agent who has redone a kitchen, for example, can tell you that you need to ask about plumbing connections, building permits and delivery times for cabinets and appliances. An agent who has sold a house probably knows that the closing date may be pushed back several times for no apparent reason. Just as it is said that the best surgeon is the one who has done a particular type of surgery many times over, the more times an agent has bought and sold, renovated and repaired, and shopped the market, the better at it he or she are likely to be when working for you. So choose a realtor who has real-world experience, preferably with a similar type transaction to yours.
2. Realtors Who Don’t Really Know the Neighborhood
It’s often said that the three most important things in real estate are location, location and location. One of those surely applies to the location of your realtor. If you are considering buying a condo in Hoboken, use a realtor who lives in Hoboken. I mean, come on, what does a real estate agent from Secaucus really know about Hoboken? Many smart buyers will rent in a given location before deciding to buy to get to know the neighborhood! Just the other day, I overheard an agent telling a tenant about the location of a rental property in Hoboken. He was badly mispronouncing the name of Elysian Park. Now anyone who lives in Hoboken knows that Elysian Park is one of Hoboken’s nicest. A property located on Elysian Park is very desirable. This guy didn’t even know what Elysian Park was, never mind why you might want to live near it. Is that really who you want working for you? Plenty of real estate agents have tried working in Hoboken perceiving it as a money making market. You’re much better served by one who really believes in the community and has made it home. That agent has a vested interest in your continued satisfaction (since they will be a neighbor) and in the continued improvement of Hoboken.
3. Realtors with No Real Relevant Education
Buying or selling a half million dollar plus condo in Hoboken? That’s a pretty sizable transaction for most of us. To succeed, you’ll probably seek out financial advice regarding both a mortgage and tax consequences of your purchase or sale, a home inspection, legal representation. For all those issues, you try to find the best advisor possible. While some people think real estate agents are just tour guides, and some may be, the good ones can be very valuable. What is your agent’s background? Did you google him? Does she have a college education and previous work experience in the financial sector or in a field relevant to real estate? Or did he take a 3 month night course to get a license with no relevant work experience or relevant education? Realtors often have to work with the lawyers and mortgage people to keep a transaction on track. Don’t you want to use someone who will actually understand the issues? There are organizations that offer all sorts of “certification” classes for agents, at hefty fees. The content of the class, however, often seem designed more to make money for the offeror than to teach anything relevant or timely. The latest trend is agents professing to offer “professional home staging” services. In some cases you can pay about $1,000 and in three weeks, you are certified as an expert. Be wary – the substance of many of these designations is not as comprehensive as you might think.
4. Real Estate Agents Who Can’t Write An Error Free Craigslist Ad
Communication should be thoughtful, concise, correct, timely, brief, clear, complete and of course, honest. It is a vital part of doing business to be able to express yourself well. If an agent can’t even write an on-line ad well, how well are they going to work for you? The realtor is the one who initially prepares the contract for sale. Don’t you want it to be clear correct? Do yourself a favor. Pay attention to details. See if your potential realtor does a good job on window displays, internet ads and even emails. If they are full of bad grammar and typos, walk away. Communication is a two way street. Not only should your agent comunicate well but he or she should really listen to you. Your needs matter. There are many agents who will show you any property just to show you something with no regard to your requirements or limited time. Look for one who is listening carefully to your concerns.
5. Realtors Who Are Afraid of Technology
Today’s market is driven by the power of the internet. Technology is crucial both to market your property if you are selling and to search the market if you are buying. A good agent knows how to use the technology well. That means more than text messaging and having an Iphone. Good agents know how to use new technology portals like Trulia.com and Zillow to your advantage. They stay up on developments and implement them for your benefit. An agent who tells you video doesn’t matter, or that the company website is all you need, or that no one looks at craigslist may not best serve your interests.
6. Realtors Who “Do a Little Real Estate” on The Side
Who would you rather have handle your transaction: someone who does a little real estate on the side, after work, or when the kids are asleep or a real professional with an assistant or team to collaborate with and cover conflicts? The best agents take their jobs seriously and do it full time.
7. Agents Who Make Promises They Don’t Keep
This one is pretty self explanatory. If an agent says “I’ll get back to you tomorrow” you have the right to expect that to happen. Of course, that’s not always the case. I learned a long time ago in business never promise anything you don’t know for sure you can deliver. It was good advice. You want to work with someone who does what they say they are going to do.
8. Realtors Who Are Not Thorough
Real estate transactions, like any legal transaction involving considerable sums of money, involve many details. While both sellers and lawyers in closing process are typically represented by counsel both agents play a big role in ensuring that a transaction closes. There are a myriad details, lots of paperwork, and many items which require follow up. A good agent will ensure that nothing falls through cracks and that the process keeps moving forward. Finding the buyer or the perfect property is just the first step in a long process. You want someone who will be on top of things for the duration of the deal.
9. Realtors Who Do Not Take Responsibility For Their Actions
To err is human and everyone makes mistakes at sometime or another. When a good agent makes a mistake, he or she will admit it and then attempt to rectify it. He or she will not blame the other side or you.
10. Realtors Who You Just Don’t Like
You will be spending a considerable amount of time with your agent. If you don’t like them it could be an unpleasant experience. Find an agent that suits your personality. While the idea is not necessarily for them to be your friend for life, you want to have a good working relationship. If you don’t like someone, move on.
It’s Worth The Effort To Find and Use a Good Agent
It may take a little time and you may need to ask around but finding a good agent when you plan to engage in a real estate transaction can save you loads of time and heartache. These guidelines may be helpful in knowing what questions to ask when you meet a realtor with whom you might work. Their knowledge, experience and insight can benefit you greatly. So take the time to find the right person. You won’t regret it.