Is it the number of sales? No. Sales are often reported under the name of a "celebrity" agent when they were actually made by several lesser known agents. The celebrity agent will very often delegate your transaction to a team member and have very little if any participation after that . With me you get personal, individualized service.
Is it the number of listings? No. As with sales, listings are often obtained by any number of agents acting under a marquee agent's brand. You should ask: which of these listings did the agent personally obtain? Are any of them "borrowed" from other agents in the brokerage? and "Why haven't these listings sold?" Because I work with a select handful of clients at a time I can give each of them a very high level of personalized service and often find myself "sold out" of listing inventory.
Is it years in the business? No. There are a lot of people who represent themselves as experts because they have had a real estate license for 20 years or more but in reality they haven't handled a transaction in years if at all. I've been selling real estate full time for the past 10 years and have represented countless buyers and sellers on a wide variety of property types. With each transaction I have developed the ability to anticipate problems and solve them before they threaten to derail a transaction.
Is it volume? No. An agent who sells his uncle's million dollar home does not have the same amount of transaction or market experience as an agent who sells four $250,000 homes a year. If an agent just sells one or two homes a year, they don't have much knowledge and experience.
Is it a large number of glowing Internet reviews? No. A large number of positive reviews and few if any negative reviews should be regarded with suspicion, especially if the agent is a paid advertiser on the site. Annoymous reviews of any kind should be ignored. "Best of" competition rankings should also be regarded with skepticism as these usually allow for multiple votes to be cast by the same individual. If a public relations firm was hired to post reviews or "stuff the ballot box" you will not be getting an accurate picture. You should only trust referrals from people you personally know. Even then you should ask "Are you being compensated in any way for referring this agent to me?" If so it is not only a red flag for an ethics issue, but it may be illegal. With few exceptions, a person must be licensed AND be affiliated with a broker to earn a referral fee or commission. Both may be verified at: http://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp
Is it only telling you what you want to hear? NO! That's what a con artist does. For inexperienced buyers and sellers the process can be exciting and feel like a party. There are those who encourage this, but with the possible exception of the uber rich it is a business transaction which should be taken with the utmost seriousness and focus. No one wants to be a "party-pooper," but during a transaction an agent's job is to keep you and the other side of the transaction focused on fulfilling your contractual obligations and meeting your deadlines to perform. Even if you do not take the process seriously, by law your agent MUST. This isn't "negativity" or "bad vibes." It's being a good agent.
If you would like to know more about what makes me a great agent, give me a call at 760-610-9282
Lance Frank, Broker Associate Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties 74-990 Hwy 111 Indian Wells, CA 92210 760-610-9282 Relax@LanceFrank.com