If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Long Beach or a surrounding community, how should you go about choosing a Realtor?
Sometimes, people get referrals from friends, family, or co-workers. But often, home buyers or sellers end up working with someone based on a random connection — they meet a Realtor at an open house, call on a sign, or click on an online listing to request information.
Sometimes, that works out well. And sometimes it doesn’t.
Some Realtors bring a higher degree of experience, education and professionalism to the table than others. But how do you tell? After all, buying or selling your home is one of the biggest financial decisions you make and you want to know you have expert guidance and advice.
Before you hire a Long Beach Realtor to help you buy or sell a home, make sure you know how long they’ve been in the business. Ask how many homes they’ve sold over their career, or within the past 12 months. Someone who only sells a few homes a year may not have their finger on the pulse of the shifting market as well as someone who sells 40 or more homes a year. Make sure the Realtor works full-time and that selling homes isn’t a side gig, meaning they may not be available to you or other agents during regular business hours. Make sure they are familiar with the area where your home is located if you’re a seller and the areas you want to live if you’re a buyer.
Ask for references or check reviews online. Both Yelp and Zillow have lots of reviews of Realtors who work in Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Los Alamitos, and other surrounding communities. You can also check statistics on Realtors’ performance on sites like NeighborCity.com.
If you are selling your Long Beach home, make sure the agent you select has a comprehensive marketing plan. How do they plan to expose your property to buyers? Ask them what their average time on the market is for listings compared to the Multiple Listing Service overall. How about the average list price to selling price ratio? Is the agent outperforming or underperforming their competitors?
You may also want to determine whether the agent you’re talking to works as a solo agent or as part of a team or group. The Shannon Jones Team consists of three licensed, experienced real estate professionals, each with a role in delivering excellent service and ensuring clients’ needs are met. Successful Realtors wear a lot of hats so doing everything necessary to ensure a smooth transaction can be tough for just one person. Similarly, with a large real estate group, you may be just one of a large number of clients and not receive the personalized service you’d receive from a smaller team. We’ve talked to clients who had previously worked with larger groups where they felt like they were “lost in the shuffle.” Ask what aspects of the process your agent will handle and what will be handled by other team members. If you have questions for the agent, what will their availabilty be throughout the process?
Ask how many other clients the agent is representing. If they have too many buyers and too many listings, will they have time for you? When you call them or email them, how long will it take for you to hear back from them? Similarly, if they have no other clients, is that a warning signal? In that case, definitely check references or reviews very carefully.
Ask about the Realtor’s cancellation policy. If you’re unhappy with the Realtor, can you get out of the agreement? Under what circumstances? Would you owe anything?
What about communication? How often can you expect to hear from the agent on a regular basis? How will they keep you informed?
And finally… are your expectations in line with your desires and can the Realtor help you determine that? If you’re a buyer, will the Realtor help you determine what areas and type of home will best meet your needs based on your budget? Will they spend the time with you to analyze your needs in a consultation? And if you’re a seller, can the Realtor give you a realistic idea of the value of your home based on a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) and do they have an idea of current inventory and what direction the market is going? Do they sound knowledgeable?
If you are considering buying a home or selling a home in Long Beach, CA or surrounding communities, The Shannon Jones Team would be happy to meet with you so we can discover whether working together would be a good fit. If you currently own a home in Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Los Alamitos or surrounding areas and would like to know how much it’s worth, please call us at 562-896-2456, email Info@ShowMeHome.com, or click here for a free Market Snapshot.