The Ukiah Valley has many estate agents so it can be difficult to know who to choose. Here are some ways to find out which realtors can help you buy a home at the best price in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of inconvenience.
Start with recommendations
The first thing I suggest when choosing an agent is to talk to people who have recently bought or sold a home and share detailed information about why they would (or would not) recommend their agent. Then talk to your insurance agent, a loan officer, and anyone else you think might have insight. This is not the time to hire someone based on an old personal connection. Just because your brother-in-law or your high school buddy is a real estate agent doesn’t mean they’re the right people to help you with one of the biggest financial decisions of your life (maybe they are, but it’s important to double-check) .
If you’re new to town and don’t know any locals, you can still make a good choice. Here’s how.
Broker affiliation and personal brand
To find a broker who really knows his stuff, first choose a reputable broker. Real estate is a relationship-based business. So if you find a broker that is proven and manages a high volume of transactions, that’s a good sign.
A strong brokerage firm can provide the kind of support that allows real estate agents to do what they do best. It’s best when real estate agents can spend their time with clients while the brokerage firm has people doing the putting up of lawn signs and ordering of office supplies.
In every business there are those who excel and those who do less. You want a broker who does a lot of business. It’s like picking an expert in any field: the more they do, the better they usually get. If you need a pacemaker, do you want a cardiac surgeon who uses three a year or three a day? A proven track record says a lot about an agent’s work ethic and usually indicates access to a vast network of people, from industry specialists to buyers and sellers.
Be sure to choose an agent who is familiar with the type of property you are looking to buy or sell. If you’re looking for a luxury home, but the agent you’re considering specializes in first-time home buyers or repairs and turns, you might want to keep looking.
To identify the busiest agents and the best real estate agents, a quick drive around town will show you who has the most lawn signs, and a quick internet search will show you who has the most listings. In fact, an internet search is a great way to gauge how an agent would present your listing.
Professional-quality photos have always been a smart marketing move, but now they’re essential. According to several studies, most people find houses for sale on the internet. So if you want to prevent someone from scrolling past your listing, you need photos that grab attention. High-quality photos consist of two components: they must be technically excellent, i.e. sharp and well-lit, and they must frame the content optimally.
The realtor running out on trash day to take photos of a new listing and not bothering to position himself so the trash cans aren’t visible is putting you at a disadvantage. You want a real estate agent with the experience and attention to detail to think about what buyers want to see. You also want someone who will take the time to make things right (or hire someone who can). When evaluating a real estate agent, pay attention to whether their offerings stand out or blend in with the rest.
Once a good photo keeps a potential buyer from scrolling by, the written description should highlight the property’s unique characteristics. I admit it’s hard to write copy, but if you find an agent with some creativity, then your property won’t be one of dozens of “perfect starter homes” or “snug bungalows.”
Next week I will share more insights on how to choose a good real estate agent.
If you have questions regarding property management or real estate, please contact me at [email protected] or call (707) 462-4000. If you have an idea for a future column let me know and if I use it I’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to Schat’s Bakery. To see previous articles, visit www.selzerrealty.com and click on ‘How’s the Market’.
Dick Selzer is a real estate agent who has been in the business for over 45 years.