Six essential qualities of a real estate agent

Reader Question: We will be looking for our first home in the next year. We are novices and want to know the essential qualities of a real estate agent to look for and also how to identify agents with these qualities. Can you help us?

Monty’s Answer: When seeking real estate agents, experts agree that locating a good agent will make a difference in your real estate experience. Good inspectors, contractors, attorneys and other professionals are also important for the same reason. Finding these people is easier said than done, but there is a method at you can utilize that will maximize your chances of choosing a good agent.

No one asking a real estate agent if they are efficient, honest or knowledgeable has ever heard an agent say “No.” They will say, “Yes,” because they believe they are competent, honest and knowledgeable. Competency is by far the largest source of where errors germinate. Real estate is complicated.

There is an ancient proverb that applies when searching for service providers. Keeping this simple philosophy in mind as you work to identify the individuals possessing the qualities you seek may be helpful:

“Those who know not and know they know not are simple, help them.

  Those who know not and know not they know not are fools, shun them.

  Those who know and know not they know are asleep, wake them.

  Those who know and know they know are wise, follow them.”

The qualities listed below are the most important attributes for most of us and include additional commentary about how to separate the sales chatter from the quality person. A wise person once said, “ Watch their feet, not their lips. ”

The six essential qualities

  1. Honesty means honorable in principles, intentions, and actions; fair and upright. Honesty can be difficult to detect. Do a web search for <detecting honesty> to pick up a few techniques. Perhaps the best method is asking a candidate to do something for you as a part of the interview process, such as furnishing you with MLS data, emailing a data sheet or checking on some other fact about a property. Watch for little inconsistencies in how they report back to you. Working with them on two or three tasks before committing to one is very helpful.
  1. Professional performance means efficiency, orderly and knowledgeable. You come to feel that you are their only client, knowing they have many. A professional will never make you feel like they are “squeezing you in” to make an appointment. They never look at their watch or make you feel rushed.
  1. Good communication skills are a combination of being an excellent listener, asking the right questions of you, and patience with your responses. An engaging person with whom you feel at ease. Someone who makes you feel comfortable while always mindful of and working toward the goal.
  1. A good negotiator prepares with the facts. They furnish accurate, timely data they may have gone out of their way to obtain. They can easily transmit information to help you solidify your position. They explain the pros and con’s of an argument and makes suggestions to help achieve common ground. You will never hear a good negotiator say, “ Just give them your best shot. ”
  1. Confidence establishes trust. They understand you are the client, and they are working for you. When your thinking is incorrect, they seek to understand it then be understood. They are reassuring through emotional times. Confidence is very different than pride but can easily be confused. Signs of arrogance are continually late for appointments, last minute rescheduling, condescending explanations and more.
  1. Experience is hard to interpret. Experience does not relate to years in the industry nor the highest production levels. Experience is common sense and knowing the process to help a customer. Knowing where to go to gather and document factual information. Understanding what it takes to “wow” the customer. Knowing how many customers you can efficiently service. A brand-new agent can easily obtain much of the required technical information.

Proceed carefully

There is a low entry-level requirement to access the real estate brokerage industry. Agents operate with a significant degree of autonomy. The primary training in real estate is how to identify and convert leads into customers, and many of them are superb at this function.

Not all real estate agents are lacking. There are good agents in every market, but finding them requires significant due diligence.