Choosing a real estate agent to help you buy a home or sell your home is an important decision. Although it is tempting, let me tell you three good reasons why you shouldn't hire a Top Agent. And my definition of "Top Agent" here is an agent with a very high sales volume. This is typically the agent whose name you see on lots of signs around your community or billboards around town.
- Availability- The Top Agent has a huge client load at any given time. He or she is working with many families to accomplish their goals of buying or selling a home. It's impossible for an agent to work with more than a handful of clients at one time and deliver incredible service. It's just impossible. Especially if any or many of those clients are buyers. Buyers typically require more time than those selling. The Top Agent may not be available to return your phone calls quickly, to see a home you'd like to tour or to show a prospective buyer the home you're selling. Real estate is not a purchase that can be delayed. If you want to see a house, your agent needs to show you right away or someone else may buy it. And if you have a house for sale, your agent needs to be able to handle last minute showing requests and return calls to answer questions or discuss offers. The list could go on but simply put if your agent puts quality of service ahead of commission, he or she will not take on too many clients at once.
- Client Commitment- Your agent should be your best friend through the entire process. You will probably tell this person personal details about your finances and your family. You'll talk with this person often. And you'll trust him or her with a huge financial transaction. You can't expect someone to deliver that type of commitment to a large number of people at once. Just like availability, the Top Agent will be too busy and have too many transactions in the works to truly be committed to you. Often times these agents have assistants helping them so be prepared to talk with the assistant often. This wouldn't be a big deal except that the assistant is not the experienced professional you hired. It's kind of like hiring an attorney but never talking with him because his secretary seems to handle everything. Without the relationship and commitment needed, your agent is not going to go to battle for you when issues arise and not going to customize his or her process to your needs.
- Numbers Can Be Deceiving- Some top agents get hired to sell your home because they meet with you and ramble off some impressive number of how many homes they list in a time period. This number is evidence of how well the agent can sell himself to potential clients. But says nothing about how well the agent can sell a home. What you really want to know is not how many listings this person gets but how may of those listings sold. If an agent tells you he or she has had 50 listings this year but it turns out that the agent only sold 25 of those, that's not very good. Meanwhile another agent may tell you he or she has had 20 listings this year and 15 of them sold. Well I will take the 75% success rate over the 50% any day.