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.
Interview at least three people.
It is very important to interview at least three agents since you will be spending a lot of time with this agent over the next several weeks and months. Find out how many homes each agent has sold and the price range of the homes they have sold.
Consider your market and price.
Make sure to hire someone who specializes in your market and price range. For example, if you are selling a $10 million home in the Riviera, it is probably not the best strategy to choose an agent who specializes in selling condos in the Highlands, and vice versa.
Scout at open houses.
Go to open houses and see how the agent interacts with potential buyers. Take a look at their marketing pieces, their ads in the paper and online to see how they market properties.
Ask the right questions.
In the interview process think of a challenging situation – for example, you change your mind while you are in escrow on a home – and ask how that broker would handle the situation. This can reveal how adaptable a broker is and how well he or she responds to challenges.
Test their market knowledge.
Ask the agent how the market is doing. A knowledgeable agent should be able to give you the median price, average price, cost per foot, average number of days on market and number of homes that have sold over the past three months, six months, year and two years.
Check their bio or résumé for continuing education, advanced degrees, professional recognition and more. Make sure to find an agent who has extensive training in negotiation.
Go by the numbers.
Ask how many home sales they have negotiated. Someone who has negotiated 50 sales in the past 10 years may be good, but someone who has handled 500 will be even better. Remember the average agent sells just two or three homes a year, so experience is very important.
Make sure you mesh.
Lastly, remember that personality counts. You will be spending a lot of time with your agent so it is very important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable. To quickly recap, when you are looking for the best agent to buy or sell a home, be sure to interview potential agents; ask for references from your friends, neighbors and family; and check out their reviews online.
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. Contact: (310) 293- 9280 and Anthony@amalfiestates.com.