Maximize Your Results - Choose the Right REALTOR

by Nick Mendola & Marty Mendola
- Edelweiss Properties -
(Published in the Sunday Daily Messenger)

The decision to sell real estate assets constitutes one of the most important financial decisions we make in our lifetime.  To reduce an already stressful experience and to work toward a rewarding sale start the process with the best REALTOR to represent you in your sale.  Choosing the right individual Agent that truly understands your needs and has the experience, resources and skills can ensure a successful real estate selling experience.  A little time spent researching agents prior to listing your home can significantly lead to a smooth sale that nets you the most money with the least amount of stress.  How then do you select the right REALTOR to represent you?

Your approach should begin as you would when looking for the most suitable professional to help you with other services, such as attorneys, doctors and other professionals.  The best place to find the right REALTOR who will be successful in selling your home traditionally is to solicit personal recommendations from family members, friends and fellow co-workers.  In addition, a REALTOR should be happy to provide references.  Contact these references and inquire how satisfied were these past clients with the agent’s professionalism and abilities as gauged by his/her demeanor, industry knowledge, follow-up, available resources and overall work ethic.  At a minimum, did they do what they promised in being your representative and more importantly, did they outperform your expectations as a professional?  This is important since REALTORS are committed to you contractually and bound by a Code of Ethics that requires loyalty, confidentiality and diligence on your behalf.  This framework should act to remind the agent to strive to represent his/her clients in a way that enhances the reputation of the REALTOR organization as a whole.  In many ways, the agent is more important than the company representing you.  Although the company name may have gotten the agent to your door, your ongoing relationship with that individual will be most important.

Remember to choose an agent who has an established history of proactively selling properties, solid work ethic and who has an excellent reputation in the community.  These are agents who make sales happen in their marketplace rather than placing a sign in the lawn and waiting for activity.  The best agents actively and creatively participate in every element of the selling process and understand the importance of being present for showings.  At these points of contact, good agents use their selling experience to promote the benefits of a particular home, handle objections and foster the buyers’ psychological possession of the property, thus solidifying the deal for the seller.  Agents who rely simply on lockboxes and sellers to show their own homes, are not actively engaging in the selling process.  Sellers should benefit from their agent’s experience and skills.  The best REALTORS understand that tools such as ads, lockboxes and signs do not sell homes; people do.  They are experienced in applying techniques and tools that can best promote your property by maximizing its exposure.  They understand the importance of aggressively marketing their listings by utilizing proven resources such as the MLS, targeted newspaper and journal ads and Internet exposure.  This is important since today’s global market is producing buyers from distant regions and countries. 

Another consideration when selecting the right REALTOR is determining how accessible that individual agent will be to you and how responsive they are to your questions, concerns and need for additional information.  Will you be able to readily contact that agent or will you always have to leave voice mails and wait long periods for them to contact you?  The best agents balance their use of technology with personal attention to the individual specific needs of their clients. 
A common mistake of many sellers is to list their home with an agent who quotes a high asking price.  Professional REALTORS understand that the decision of pricing the home belongs to the seller; but it is their duty to educate their client with data and market trends that support a realistic initial listing price that corresponds with how soon they want to move.

Ask if the agent is currently marketing other properties similar to yours.  Statistics show that only about 3% of the potential buyers that call on a listing will ever buy that particular property; 97% will buy something else.  Therefore, an agent with an inventory of similar listings can direct potential buyers to all suitable properties as early as their first contact.  The economies of scale available to this agent benefit sellers by significantly increasing the exposure of their property in a given marketplace. 

It is expedient to choose an agent who is knowledgeable of your specific area.  From specializing in a given area, a seller benefits from an agent’s established database of serious qualified buyers continually looking for property in that specific area.   The percentage of his or her own listings that an agent sells reflects the depth of that agent’s buyer database.  The most important element of selecting an agent is their success record.  When you are interviewing an agent for the sale of your property, you have the right to know just how many listings they are currently marketing and the number of sales he/she has consummated over the past year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years.  Again, most of us would not seek a doctor who has little experience in the type of medical attention we need.  Similarly, you should not choose a REALTOR who has little experience in handling the often-complex real estate transaction in today’s dynamic market. 

In many ways, the value-added proposition that agents offer their clients in the sale of their home is directly correlated with the unique characteristics of each agent.  Therefore, asking the right questions prior to listing your home will enable you to hire an experienced, ethical and committed REALTOR with an excellent success record.  An agent who enjoys an exceptional sales record, reputation and who has their “hand on the pulse of the market,” will benefit you with “peace of mind” that their advice is not only accurate but in your best interest.  With that “right” REALTOR you’ll be on your way to a smooth, stress-free and financially successful real estate transaction that you deserve!

Important Questions to Ask when Interviewing REALTORS

Sellers can learn more about an agent’s strengths and weaknesses by asking the following questions:

1. How long have you been fulltime in the Real Estate business?  In which areas and types of properties do you specialize?
2. How many properties have you sold?  Where?  When?  Type?
3. How many properties are you currently marketing?
4. How knowledgeable are you of this area?
5. How available are you to be reached by me, potential buyers and by other agents who may want to show and sell the property?  Are your phone numbers easily available to all, especially for weekend and evening showings?  Do you respond in a timely manner?
6. Do you possess tools necessary to succeed in today’s evolving real estate industry: customer friendly Internet site, computer software, cellular phone, fax machine, voice mail, email, digital camera and equipment, etc.?
7. Do you have a centrally located office in a highly visible location to attract walk-in business seeking property in the area?
8. Do you receive continuous calls from buyers looking for certain types of property?
9. Is your office affiliated with community organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce? 
10. For maximum exposure, are you affiliated with the Multiple Listing System (MLS) and a local / national association?
11. What will be done to market the property?  (Open Houses, Advertising, etc)
12. Will you be there personally when the property is shown since you are the agent most familiar with its unique features?
13.  To what value-added resources do you have access to in order to facilitate an enjoyable and successful sale, i.e. financing, resources for moving, school data, utilities, other professional services?
14.  Is your license in good standing with New York State and the local Real Estate Trade Association?

About the Authors

Nicholas L. Mendola, is a Full-time Licensed Real Estate Agent since 1967 and a Full-time Licensed Real Estate Broker since 1973.  Nick is the founder and owner of Edelweiss Properties located in Canandaigua and Pittsford, New York. 
Martin Mendola is a Licensed Real Estate Agent since 1988 and a Full-time Licensed Real Estate Broker Associate since 1990. 
For more information, Call 716-394-0270 or visit Nick & Marty at 270 So. Main Street Canandaigua, NY 14424.