The Unconditional Blog

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How to choose a real estate agent?

Posted on: May 24th, 2008 | Filed in Agent Tips, Website searching

Who do you turn to when you need a plumber? or whose advice would you seek when looking for a lawyer? Naturally you would in the main ask the advice of a friend or colleague at work.

How to choose a real estate agentWhen it comes to real estate agents though, it may (or may not) surprise you that the vast majority of us do not ask friends or colleagues. For in the main we select an agent using our eyes and our ears – we see who has the most sign boards and who sounds good at an open homes we visit, or at least we used to; because with the ascendancy of the web we can better assess the most appropriate real estate agent by using web search.

Type in any real estate agent’s name into Google and the likelihood is you will find out about that individual – as you will for most of the population of the western world!

With a real estate agent you will find content related to what they sell and possibly even a profile hosted on their office website or maybe even their own. This profile is their selling message to you. As prospective clients – they will speak of their experience, their current clients, maybe some referrals from past clients, very much what you would expect; however is some ways not quite enough information.

The reality is the selection process and appointment of a real estate agent should be looked at rather in the same way as an interview for a job. You are selecting an individual. That individual needs to demonstrate to you their experience and competencies that make them the best real estate agent to sell your property. The company they work for can provide a degree of confidence but at the end of the day it is that individual you will trust to get you the best price within the timescale you expect.

So in perusing the results of the Google search the single feature that I judge will provide you with the most valuable information to assess a real estate agent now and in the future – a blog.

Whilst listings are interesting; nothing can beat the authenticity of a blog. At this time in NZ there are probably less than 100 real estate agents’ personal blogs, by comparison to other countries, we are ahead of Australia, but way behind the US. Conservatively there are upwards of 100,000 realtor blogs in the US – on a base of 1.5 million realtors that would mean that on a pro-rata basis we could have over 1,000 blogs here in NZ within a year. That would provide a good coverage of most of the country.

Blogs expose the true skills and capabilities of a real estate agent. If you are looking to buy or sell in an area, you want to find the person most in touch with the local market, someone who knows the market, what is going on, what the trends are in property and what the local news of the community. They are the type of people who want to engage in an open dialogue with readers. Such people are open to questions and will openly share knowledge and advice, they are far more likely to have an an open and engaging manner.

Voices - NZ real estate agent blogsIn an effort to encourage a greater adoption by this industry of blogs we have launched a free service for all real estate agents of this site to set up their own blog. Called Voices this blog platform is hosted by realestate.co.nz so we can provide you under one roof a selection of real estate bloggers from around the country. To provide you a sense of the diversity of content and interest of these real estate bloggers we have posted various recent posts from these blogs on the home page of the website to share the thoughts and skills of these individuals.

Naturally whilst we offer advice and some degree of coaching for these real estate bloggers, it is up to them to create a dialogue with you and demonstrate value. Since we launched this service in January we have had over 30 blogs start – a small but passionate group who believe that your choice of real estate professional in the future will be judged more by the quality and professionalism of an the online dialogue than some arbitrary 5 star rating on a “rate an agent website” or by judging who has the most for-sale signs in the neighbourhood. So hopefully in time you can appoint your professional agent confident in the knowledge that their reputation will be further enhanced through acting for you.

Article Discussion

  1. Tim says:

    I see in todays Sunday Times that Harveys said you should choose an agent with a track record – well everyone has to make a 1st sale sometime so the Harveys arguement is flawed!

  2. Sharon James says:

    Another excellent post Alister.

    Interestingly enough it appears that many people are willing to put more time and research into buying a 2nd-hand car than they do when deciding who to entrust with what is quite possibly their most valuable asset.

    I agree with your comments about the blog exposing the true skills and capabilities of the agent. Further to this I feel that blogs provide the reader with a broader overall impression of the writer and in time the reader feels as though they ‘know’ the writer. Now, doesn’t it make sense when selling your largest asset to work with someone you ‘know’ rather than a stranger?

    In a recent blog on http://www.unconditional.co.nz/business-broker I made some suggestions on “How to choose a Professional Business Broker” as this can be relatively difficult. When selling a business potential vendors don’t have the luxury of visiting “open-businesses” or street signs as a way to familiarise themselves with a broker prior to making contact and a commitment. Many of my suggestions on how to choose a broker would of course cross over to Real Estate Agents.

  3. Sharon

    Naturally I would have to agree – your opening comment is so true – choosing a car is a process based on clear objective parameters where you can assess the merits of this 2004 Honda Accord for $13,500 which has 3 owners and done 92,000 kms and this 2003 Honda Accord which at $13,700 has done 47,000 kms and has had 1 owner.

    But when it comes to a house or a business how can you assess this 3 bedroom 1962 house with this 1994 3 bedroom townhouse – whilst they have the same floor area – nothing else is similar or comparable, and yet often the house will be purchased after a total of just 20 minutes of collective viewing time!

  4. When choosing a real estate agent you want one who believes in their abilities and that will get you the best price.

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