The Biggest Mistake to Avoid When Hiring a Real Estate Agent

 In #Buying Real Estate, #Real Estate Investing, #Thoughts

When it comes to buying or selling a home, finding the right real estate agent can make all the difference. Unfortunately, many people make a common mistake when hiring an agent – they fail to do enough research.


Hey y’all, Zach McDonald, your real estate agent with Real Property Associates, and today we are going to talk about the biggest mistake that you want to avoid when hiring a real estate agent.

Let’s be real. There are probably multiple mistakes you can make when hiring a real estate agent, but I’ve found that as I’ve thought about this more really, there’s one big one, and that is not doing your homework, not doing your research on who you’re going to be hiring. I’ve come across this multiple times here recently, talking with various prospective clients and even current clients who’ve had really bad real estate experiences either so far or in the past. And I wanted to make this video just to share a little bit of my thoughts about how you can go about doing your homework and your research, but also share some of those pains. Because I have a client right now, for example, who is listing her condo with me, and she bought this condo within the last six months. Well, she bought this condo and didn’t know that she can’t have her dog live there.

She also didn’t know that she couldn’t rent it out after moving out unless she’d lived there for a certain amount of time, and there were a lot of other restrictions. So she buys a condo and has a dog and moves in, and they kick her out because she has a dog, and then she can’t rent it because, well, she hasn’t lived there long enough. So it either sits empty or she has to sell it. That is a terrible outcome. That’s a really bad real estate experience. Another example, I’m talking with somebody about selling a house. She’s been talking to another agent for the past couple years. We meet because, well, she’s not having the best experience and she hasn’t even gotten to the point of listing or property yet. And a lot of the questions and the things we’re going through tipped me off to the fact that maybe this agent isn’t that experienced.

Now, this person has worked for 30 years as a real estate agent, which can mean a lot of different things, by the way. But I went and did some research, and this particular individual sells a couple houses a year for the last 30 years. So although they have 30 years of experience, they don’t sell a lot of houses for perspective. And again, this is just for perspective, we helped 160 people in the last five years and over 250 people in the past eight years. So it’s just the amount of time versus the amount of experience is a very different conversation. Another example, talking with somebody about a condo that they just purchased and they’re thinking about listing it, and they didn’t even call the other agent, but we were chatting about it and it came down to a similar situation with not reviewing homeowner docs, not really knowing what’s coming down, not even sure why they bought a condo in the first place.

And it’s interesting because a lot of this, I think, can be avoided. Now, I’m not making this video to say I’m the best real estate agent in the whole world, because I don’t even think that’s true. But I think there are a lot of other really great real estate agents in the Seattle area and across the country. The reason I’m making this is because I think it’s important for people to know that the majority of real estate agents actually don’t last very long in the business. I’ve heard it said that it’s easier to start a restaurant than get into real estate and succeed, but I think it’s also important to know that most real estate agents don’t renew their license. And the majority of the people that are showing houses and writing offers that are on big teams are also in that situation where they’re brand new and trying to get started and make it in real estate.

And so a lot of people are interacting with people that have very little experience. So if you’re buying or selling and you’re making one of the biggest financial decisions in your life, I think it makes sense to do a little bit more homework than maybe you’ve been doing. So my my caution is, I think sometimes with the really big teams too, you can do your homework and you see, wow, they, they sold 300 houses last year, this agent did, and you know, they man, look at those reviews and then you start to think through it. I don’t think an agent can help really more than two or three clients in a given month by themselves. It doesn’t mean you, you can’t, you don’t wanna work with somebody who does more than that because I think that still makes sense. But when you see somebody that’s doing three or 400 transactions, you just have to know that they can’t be super involved in their business doing more than probably 75 to a hundred.

They can’t be super involved in their business and also still do that amount of business. So I think that’s where you start to think, oh, well, either they do have a really experienced team, or some of them really don’t have experienced teams. So here are some things that I think are helpful as you’re going through this process of vetting a real estate agent and making sure that you are making a good decision and not making what I would consider the biggest mistake in the home buying or home selling process. Number one, I think you need to do your online research. The internet is a great tool. You can go on Google and you can search for a real estate agent. You can use it to find one. You could go to Zillow or any of those sites and look for real estate agents. Of course, people are paying money as well to show up on those things.

I’ve done it and do it myself, but you can read reviews. That would be my second point. Read reviews, do some due diligence. What have other people said about working with this particular agent? And if you read the reviews, you can tell, are these actually past clients? Are these people that have had a real experience and are sharing personal details? Or are they, are they just like, oh yeah, Zach’s a great agent, you should work with him. Right? You start to see a little bit of the quality of those reviews too. So I would read the reviews and get familiar, get to know how this person operates or this team operates so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. I think if I was to boil it down to any of these points, and we’ll continue, there’s, there’s other ones, but I think the, the online research and the reviews, reading the reviews are gonna be probably the most beneficial in this process.

And not only does it help you know what clients’ experiences have been, but also what you might expect in your experience working this with this particular professional. Number three on our list is asking for referrals. Now, statistically, the majority of people are going to find their real estate agent via word of mouth or repeat business. So they either have worked with the agent already or are working with somebody based on a referral. The third biggest way a person finds their real estate agent is online. So some people don’t know or don’t have people that can speak into this situation, but if you do, I think talking to people that have had a great experience, not just who do you know that’s a real estate agent, but who has had a great experience with their agent and would like to make a recommendation, that might be one way to do it.

I think sometimes people work with a close friend or a family member or a referral and they don’t do any research, but how are you gonna do the research? Yes, personal recommendations are valuable, but if their recommendation is to somebody that they’ve never worked with, well, it’s not necessarily a great recommendation if they haven’t had any experience with the person as a professional, just because you like the person. How, I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a great way to trust the referral, but if they have had a personal experience, yes, that’s one great data point, I think. Double checking, go online. Has the real estate agent sold houses recently? Do they have a good online presence?

A lot don’t, a lot don’t sell a lot of houses. And if you go online and do some research, you can easily find out if this person does sell a lot of houses or is a great and experienced professional, I think you can also see if they don’t have a great online presence, how are they gonna be able to help you? If you’re trying to sell your house, how are they gonna help you market your house? So I think that’s another big piece of that, um, experience is yes, get a referral, but vet the referral and go back and do some more research, right? So referrals can be part of the research, but I would double check. I would say number four on our list is interviewing or speaking with multiple agents. Now, I don’t think that you have to do this. Some people, and statistically speaking, most people work with the first person they talk to.

There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with that. But if you’ve skipped these other three steps and you’re at step number four, you, you probably definitely want to talk to multiple people because that way you can at least do some research, right? Meet with them, get to know them, see what they’re like in person, see if you even like them. There are a lot of real estate agents out there, so if you don’t like the real estate agent that you’re talking to, there’s probably one that you’ll actually like that you can work with, going to give you a great outcome and experience as well. So as far as interviewing, it’s not a necessity. And in fact, most people don’t talk to multiple real estate agents. But if you haven’t done these other steps, if you haven’t done online research, if you’re just making some calls and talking to people, it definitely makes sense to sit down and do some type of formal process.

And again, everybody has their own process of choosing an agent, and there’s not necessarily a right or a wrong way. But again, a suggestion would be to use interview or multiple people as a way to double-check or verify that you think you’re making a great decision. And that’s also why you would go back online and vet too, because if you had a good interaction with them in person, but you go back and you look and you’re like, oh, this person does brand new in the business and they don’t do a lot of business, that’s your verification and double checking of that, maybe good interaction in person versus maybe they look good on paper and you meet ’em in person, you’re like, wow, this person’s kind of interesting. Right? So that’s where the interview I think can be very valuable. Last, but not least on our list here is looking for a specialist.

And I think the myth or misnomer of a, you know, area specialist, I, I personally don’t like the area specialist because, well, I’ve grown up in the Seattle area my whole life, and I’ve lived all over the city, and I’ve lived in the suburbs, and I’ve lived even out of the suburbs, and I know the whole area pretty well. And I think there’s probably more emphasis put on, you know, hey, this particular neighborhood or this zip code, maybe in real estate because it’s a way of differentiation or separation from other agents. I get it, it’s a marketing thing. But when I say looking for a specialist, I think of a few things. I think, number one, does this person have the experience to help me get where I want to be? Um, and if you know this agent is, let’s say you’re looking at and considering real estate agents and you wanna buy a fourplex, all right?

You wanna buy a fourplex. Well, if this person doesn’t have experience with fourplexes, multi-family properties, rental rents and stuff like that, well maybe that’s not the best person to help you with that part of the process. Or maybe you’re looking at commercial real estate, but this person doesn’t sell commercial real estate. They can, but they don’t. So yes, they could help you with that, but maybe they’re not the best person to talk to about it. Maybe, maybe you wanna find a rental or you want to rent out your property and somebody’s willing to do that for you because they’re, well, they’re a licensed real estate agent. If this person isn’t a property manager by trade, maybe they’re not the best person to manage your rental property. If they don’t have their own properties, maybe they’re not the best to manage your rental property, right? They don’t believe in what they’re selling luxury real estate or vacation properties.

I would say those are places maybe where it makes sense to have somebody that does specialize in that, right? For the most part, it’s what are you trying to accomplish and does this person have the skills and the abilities and the experience to help you have a great outcome and experience in the process. In summary, the largest mistake, the biggest mistake you can make when hiring a real estate agent is to not do your research. Go online, read reviews, talk to friends and family, get referrals. Look at their ability to help you execute and have interviews. If you do these things, I think you will avoid that mistake of hiring a real estate agent that’s not competent to help you be successful. And I think that you will have the best outcome and the best experience if you do so. Thanks so much for watching this video as we talk about the biggest mistake that people make when they’re hiring an agent. If you’re in the Seattle area and you want to talk to somebody, please do your homework and research. But if you do look me up online and you want to have a conversation, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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