By Anthony Marguleas
Special to the Palisades News
With hundreds of real estate agents in the Palisades and thousands more on the Westside, how do you go about picking the right agent? Do you use the top agent in town who may have ample experience but may be too busy? Do you go with a newer agent who may give you more time but may not have as much experience? What about a relative or friend who just got into real estate? How do you separate the good agents from the not-so-good agents?
Buying or selling a home is a major financial transaction, so you need to choose your agent wisely. Here are some tips on how to find the best agent for your needs.
Find what makes them unique.
Ask an agent, “Why should I hire you?” or “What sets you apart from the other 200 agents in town?” Then just listen and see what they say.
Set expectations now.
Make sure to set expectations early in the process. For example, how frequently do you want to be updated? What methods of communication – phone, text and/or email – do you prefer? Get a list of all the marketing that the agent says they will do and the frequency of those ads and ask to attach that to the listing agreement.
Ask for referrals.
The National Association of Realtors does an annual profile of Home Buyers and Sellers who have recently bought or sold a home. From their most recent profile, the most important factors that people want are honesty and trustworthiness (24 percent) followed by agent’s reputation (21 percent). But how do people find someone who is honest, trustworthy and has a good reputation? The NAR survey found that the most common way buyers found their agent was by referral from a friend, relative or neighbor (40 percent), followed by the Internet (11 percent).
Go with first-hand experience.
For sellers looking for an agent, the results from the NAR survey were similar with 38 percent finding their agent from a referral via friends, relatives or neighbors. Interestingly the second most common way sellers found an agent was not from the Internet. Instead they used the agent who previously sold them the home (23 percent). It makes sense that sellers would use the agent that sold them the home because they would already have seen first-hand how that agent works. It is actually somewhat concerning that such a low percentage of sellers find their agent this way as one might expect this number to be higher.
Check online reviews.
Another important way that you can gauge a real estate agent’s honesty, trustworthiness and reputation is to check references and reviews online. Most of us are used to going online to check the references and reviews of a product or company. Yelp.com, is one of the largest community review sites with 100 million reviews. Yelp has become so popular because people want other users’ unbiased opinion if a service-provider or product is good or not. They have a very strict process for filtering out reviews written by friends. There are also other websites that allow you to check an agent’s qualifications and reviews online. Zillow.com and Realtor. com are reputable sites where you can search for an agent and check their reviews.
Anthony Marguleas is the broker/ owner of Amalfi Estates. For the past 25 years he has successfully helped 1,000 Palisades families. He has 150 five-star reviews on Yelp and Zillow and has ranked the #1 Palisades agent based on number of sales and dollar volume for the past 5 years. Contacts: (310) 293- 9280 and Anthony@amalfiestates.com.