NAR surveys show that 60% to 65% of home buyers hire the first real estate agent they talk to. Perhaps this is because they have not fully considered the complexity of a Realtor’s job.
The agent you hire will end up saving you (or costing you) thousands of dollars, so make sure you start by hiring a real estate agent that you trust because when it comes time for the most important functions that your real estate agent will provide, you will need to trust that you have already made the right decision in hiring your agent.
What started out as a purchase you thought would be relatively simple turns into a process with twists and turns and ups and downs – you’ll find most people are not prepared and must turn to their agent for advice and guidance. If you do not trust your agent (remember 90 percent of agents are new, poorly trained, and/or part-time), you’ll end up questioning their advice and some buyers will even impose demands that actually work against them.
The average homeowner does not buy a home very often, so it’s crazy to assume that a homeowner would be an expert at the process of buying or selling. Real estate is changing at a rapid pace due to technology, changes in the lending business, updates to the standard forms we use and changes in the law. A good agent will stay on top of all of these things.
In addition an agent who is expert at real estate valuations is worth a lot of money to buyers and sellers alike. Why? Because when negotiations get to the decision-making point, it comes down to understanding what the other side can do. If you have selected an expert on valuations, you can trust your agent's advice on how to handle multiple-party negotiations. Multiple buyers often compete for the best houses on the market. And in these situations, knowing the likely appraisal outcome (home value) is paramount.
Home sellers often hire the first agent they interview or make their decision to hire based on the agents opinion of value - so the agent that says the home will sell for the highest price gets the job. In fact, this is a common trick of the unscrupulous agent, they list a property at a price that will not produce a sale, and then badger the homeowner to lower the price until it sells. This technique helps a mediocre agent gain business, but it can cost the sellers involved time and money by failing to produce a quick sale. A well-priced property will often get multiple interested buyers who will bid over asking – so pricing right actually gets the owner top dollar. On the other hand, an overpriced listing that sits for months becomes “stale” and even when the price comes down, people perceive that “something is wrong” with the home since no one else wanted to buy it.
The prudent home seller can avoid this problem by demanding evidence of market expertise on valuations, which will be critical when negotiations begin. It's easy in our MLS system for agents to pull up their own Agent Production Report. Ask to see it - on my listings I average getting 98.33% of the list price. This tells you my pricing is nearly perfect.
Another resource in Hawaii is RICO (Regulated Industries Complaint Office) as they will do a complaint history search for an individual or a company. You can call RICO at 808-587-4272 or look up their website. A few references from past clients is another excellent idea or check out online reviews, which can be found on websites such as Trulia, Yelp and Zillow.
Whether you have a home to buy or sell, you'll need to trust the expertise of your agent during the process. The best agents will have your best interests at heart and will guide you toward the outcome you desire.