“Get Real” with Mildred Wong
MYTH: All real estate agents are the same and not always necessary.
FACT: A real estate agent is essential in facilitating a low-stress real estate transaction. You want an agent who will fully guide you through what can be an overwhelming and complicated process, and represent your needs and interests at the negotiating table, so it is important that he/she is someone you feel comfortable with and trust.
So you made the exciting decision to buy a home, but you’re not sure how to choose a real estate agent, or maybe you’re not fully convinced that you even need an agent. After all, there is a wealth of information online about the home buying process and the potential to save some dollars by doing it yourself. GET REAL! There are some things you don’t leave to chance, or even to Google.
My mother always told me that there are some things you don’t hold back on, like the perfect pair of jeans or 500-thread count cotton sheets. Likewise, the value of a professional real estate agent is much greater than the commission he/she earns. Real estate commissions average between 4 to 6% of the sale price. Consider an example: the 5% gross commission on a $250,000 home is $12,500. Wow! After the broker/agent commission splits, the agent takes home $3,125. Not bad still! The transaction took two months to close – $390.63/week. The agent worked 40 hours a week – $9.77/hour, a very reasonable rate for such an important resource.
Now people who are unfamiliar with real estate often default to choosing an agent who is affiliated with a largely advertised, national real estate company. Bigger is better, right? GET REAL! The secret to finding the “right” agent is to meet with and interview a variety of agents. The right agent for you may not work at the fancy shmancy downtown high-rise or drive a BMW, but may work in a boutique office right in your neighborhood square and drive a Honda. A newer agent is also every bit as effective as a seasoned pro, if not more. Someone working with fewer clients means more time devoted to you. Hire the person, not the flash. The right agent is the person who will listen to you and conduct him/herself in an ethical manner. He/she has access to market comparables; understands your neighborhood; can competitively price your home; and has a professional community of resources that he/she can reach out to. When you meet with agents, ask what services they provide.
Where do you start your search for a real estate agent? Ask friends for referrals, search neighborhood periodicals for local agents, attend open houses and speak to agents who make a positive impression. Interview a few, and at the end of the day, go with your gut.
The best agents want you to be happy so you will tell all of your friends and family about the wonderful and successful experience you had buying your dream home.
Mildred Wong is a Licensed Real Estate Agent with City Central Realty, LLC. She can be reached at 617-236-2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.