12 Things You Should Know Before You Hire a Broker
If you’re thinking about hiring a real estate broker, you want to put some thought into the decision. Buying or selling property involves thousands or even millions of dollars, so naturally, you want the best in the business. The top real estate agents Bellevue WA relies on offer the following advice.
Word of mouth isn’t always best.
Some people looking for a broker take the easy way out and ask friends or coworkers. While this can lead to good recommendations sometimes, other times you risk missing out on brokers who might be better suited to your unique needs.
The trouble with word-of-mouth recommendations is that the person who is doing the recommending may not have the same real estate situation as you. If you’re selling a historic home, and your officemate is into modern architecture, is their broker going to know how to price and market an older home?
Treat prospective brokers like job candidates.
Never settle for the first broker you speak to without talking to at least a few others first. Would you hire the first candidate to fill a job in your office without looking at other resumes?
Meet brokers at their office (or in your home if you’re selling), and go to the conversation armed with questions, including the ones listed below. Create a checklist, and see how many of your requirements each broker can satisfy. Then, choose the broker who most closely meets your criteria.
Is the broker tech savvy?
Today’s brokers need to be tech savvy to survive in a competitive online marketplace. Virtually all brokers today know how to use essential online platforms like MLS (multiple listing service). Ask any prospective broker if they are also capable of using these tech elements:
• Mobile devices and apps
• Cloud services
• QR codes
• Photography, layout, and design for brochures and other materials
• Drone and specialty photography
• 360-degree/3D virtual tours
• Virtual staging
• Floor plan creation
• CAD files and photo rendering
• Property website creation and domains
• Online and mobile device ad campaigns
• Smart home technology when showing properties
Although not every broker will be well versed in each of the areas listed above, they should have access to professionals to whom they can easily outsource these services.
You’re the boss.
Many people are intimidated by brokers and think the broker makes all the decisions. Wrong! Even if your broker is a top pro in real estate, you are the boss. Your broker works for you, not the other way around. That’s why they get the commission once the sale is made.
You can change brokers
Sometimes, no matter how good a choice in a broker you think you have made, you may discover after working together for a while that an individual is not a good fit for you. You’ll be pleased to know your relationship isn’t carved in stone. Follow these steps to change brokers:
• Consider alerting the current broker to areas where you feel friction, and give them a chance to repair the situation.
• Read through your current contract and see what is required to end the relationship, including honoring any cancellation clauses.
• Inform the broker diplomatically that you’ve decided to part ways.
• Put your decision in writing via a letter to avoid any future confusion, especially with regard to fees.
How long have they been in business?
Ideally, you want a broker with as much experience as possible. If hiring a younger broker, see if they have worked with older top brokers prior.
Also, ask about the longevity of their current business. How long has it been open? How many clients have they served? What kind of volume do they do?
Do they know the area?
Of course, you want a real estate broker who knows the area well, regardless of whether you’re buying or selling. When seeking homes for sale, Bellevue WA offers dozens of prospects in your price range on any given day. But a broker who is familiar with the area will know which ones are in the best neighborhoods, for example.
A knowledgeable broker in the Seattle area will also have a finger on the pulse of the community, including what’s going on in nearby suburbs and in the city. They will know which employers are ramping up and where economic hardship is taking place.
Will they show you properties listed by all companies?
The top brokers in any location will have good working relationships with other brokers at different companies, even their closest competitors. It is imperative to find a broker who will show you properties listed by all companies, not just the listings with them.
What’s their best sale-to-list ratio?
The sale-to-list ratio shows the difference between the sale price of a property and the listing price. The final sale price divided by the list price is then expressed as a percentage.
If the percentage is above 100 percent, the seller received more than the list price; if it’s below 100 percent, the home sold for less than what it was listed for. The average of many individual ratios shows the overall trend for a broker. Not only does this figure tell how well a broker can sell, but it also demonstrates the broker’s ability to price properties appropriately for the location and current market.
Can they offer references?
A broker should be able to offer references for clients they’ve served. Preferably, the references should be for services similar to what you are seeking. Feel free to call those references too and inquire about the broker.
Will they let you review all documents in advance?
Your broker should let you review all documents in advance of every step along the way to closing and before you sign anything so you understand the process. With today’s technology, it’s easy to send copies in seconds for the client’s satisfaction. In some states, all parties need to be in possession of any contracts too, in order for them to be legal. A reputable broker is always transparent.
What can they tell you that you don’t already know?
A broker should be able to offer valuable information and advice throughout your relationship. It’s the broker’s job to stay on top of the market and understand the nuances of transactions so you can get the best deal with the least anxiety. A broker who can tell you things you never would have known otherwise is worth their weight in gold.
It’s okay to be picky about finding the perfect broker for you since so much is riding on the success of the relationship. Follow the steps above, and you’ll increase your chances of landing on the ideal match.