5 Things You Should Know Before You Hire a Realtor
Ron Habibi, a residential real estate broker and star of the recent Bravo series Million Dollar Listing San Francisco, has only been in the real estate world for a few years, but his resume is quite impressive. He caters to the new Silicon Valley wealth that is transforming the city of San Francisco. According to Paragon Real Estate Group’s mid-year report, the median home price in San Francisco is $1.25 million. As an up-and-coming luxury realtor, Habibi is getting a not-so-insignificant piece of the pie. But as he tells Kara Swisher on the podcast Re/code Decode, his motivation doesn’t just come from the financial upside—it comes from providing his clients with shelter. We had a chance to talk with Habibi and he shared his five must-know tips for hiring a realtor. Scroll down to see what they are before you select a real estate professional.
Tip 1: Learn about your agent’s past. Habibi advises that it’s important to know how long an agent has been in the business. Experienced realtors and novice realtors each have their pros and cons. “For example, someone that has more than one listing will only be able to give your property so much attention, versus someone who just started and has nothing else to do but dedicate his/her time and effort to your property,” Habibi says. Habibi tells clients that picking a real estate agent is all about the melding of personalities. Sometimes you will work best with someone who may not have as long of a track record but who does excellent work and actually understands your vision of how you want to live. “I was a new agent once,” says Habibi. “My biggest challenge was trying to convince potential clients that while I was new to the game, I could still add tremendous value and work tirelessly on their behalf.”
Tip 2: Look for red flags. If an agent has a record of being under legal review with their bureau of real estate or local association, Habibi advises to think twice before hiring them. Someone who has questionable ethics or is in the process of being sued is incredibly risky and might not be your best advocate in the small world of real estate. However, never assume the worst. Ask perspective representation about the issue, and then decide if you feel comfortable working with them.
Tip 3: Do local due diligence. It is, of course, imperative to ascertain an agent’s level of expertise before hiring them. You need to ask what comps they have set, what relationships they have with other local agents, and, most importantly, you need to look at their six-month track record in the area in which you want to buy or sell. “While experience selling property in other areas is transferrable, you want the best agent in your preferred living area,” says Habibi. Ask how many transactions an agent has done in the last six months and how many of those transactions were completed in the immediate vicinity of where you would like to buy or sell a home.
Tip 4: Seek peer evaluations. Habibi understands that a real estate agent's strongest asset is their reputation. He advises that before you decide on an agent, make sure their colleagues think of them as reputable. “A good test is to go on Facebook and ask your network for real estate agents that they recommend in your desired area—and who they recommend not working with. “You have to do your due diligence and hire an agent that everyone in the brokerage community knows and respects. This will help get your transaction closed.”
Tip 5: Make sure you can get intimate with your agent. Before you sign any contracts, make sure your personality styles work well together. “Hiring an agent is like fast-tracking a meeting to a marriage. You are in it together until the end! There are many ups and downs throughout a real estate transaction, so if you don’t really enjoy your agent’s company, then this will make the process a nightmare. You may end up firing your agent during a deal, and this will ruin everything,” says Habibi.
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Have you worked with a real estate agent before? Do you think they are an essential part of the buying/renting process? Let us know in the comments.