John's Florida Real Estate Blog

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Defining Who Is The Best Real Estate Agent In An Area

Not long ago in the Question & Answer section of Active Rain I saw a person ask for the name of the best agent in an area of Florida. Specifically, the seller wanted to know who had sold the highest dollar amount over the past year. Perhaps the one who brought in the most dollars is the best agent. But then again, maybe not. When you focus on just one quality of an agent, you may not get the person that is best able to help you sell your home within your time-frame, at the best price that can be achieved, and with as few hassles to you as possible. Just like it would be foolish to marry a person simply because they were very attractive, only to find out later that they had many negative issues about them. In the same way, you need to look at the whole agent that will be working with you to sell one of your most prized investments.

Here are some things to consider before you decide who is "the best" agent in your area:

  • Do not go simply by the total dollar amount of an agent's sales for a year. It could be that they only sold a few high priced properties that are very unlike your own home. They could have sold many homes, but each for less than the market should have commanded. They could be using a business model where one agent and/or broker gets credit for all the listings in the office, and the other agents act more as assistants to the "main broker".
  • Do not completely rely on the total units sold by an agent. Typically there are two sides to each sale. A listing side and a selling side. If a listing agent also finds a buyer who purchases the home, then he or she gets credit for two sides. For the same reasons mentioned above, the number of sides that an agent has may, or may not be a reliable indicator of how the agent will work for you. Getting credit for a "side" does not necessarily mean that the agent got a good price for the seller. Were the sides an agent got for 2007 thirty good sides or thirty sides where the sellers lost money? Also, if an agent has a huge inventory and has sold a ton of homes, will they be able to give you the one-on-one attention that another agent might Will they have the time to handle all of the details that are unique to each property and its owner? You may get better service and thus a better sales result from an agent who sells fewer homes because he or she can devote more time to you as a customer. Can an agent who sells 100 homes a year devote the same amount of time to you that an agent who sells 40 homes can? Kind of like the difference between the local fast food restaurant and a classier restaurant. Which gives you better service and attention?
  • While franchise or company awards are never a bad thing, they do not necessarily indicate who is the best agent in the company. Many companies have awards that they may call "Market Leader", "Top Seller", etc. But if you are going to base your decisions on these awards, you need to know the criteria that was used to determine who won them and who did not. By the same token, ask prospective agents what it means when they say they are "the best in the area". The statement could be true, but only for the first two weeks in June 2006. Not a lie, but not the whole story either.
  • When you consider the total sales that an agent has made in a specific period, ask how close the sale prices were to the asking (list) prices. If they are close, that may be a good indicator. However, if they are always at or very near 100%, keep in mind that it could be that the homes have been underpriced making it much eaiser to close the gap between selling price and list price.
  • Do ask what exposure your home will get on the internet. Today it is believed that from 70% to 80% of home buyers begin searching on the web. If the agent you are interviewing is just using the automatic sites that their office has set up for them, then your home is not going to get the exposure it needs to get it sold quickly and for the best possible price. My listings appear on 25 sites, including 3 that I personally own and set up. There are other agents that have done the same thing. But if your agent cannot tell you what special things they are doing for web advertising other than placement on a few webpages like their company site and the REALTOR.com basic site, then perhaps you need to keep searching for an agent that will get your home the prominence on the internet that it deserves.

My main point here is this, there is no ONE indicator of who is the best agent in your area. Total sales, total dollars brought in, etc are not the sole indicators of which agent will be the best one for you to use. If you rely on just one specific thing on which to make your decision, you may be regretting your decision sooner than you think. My recommendation is that you speak with several agents and ask relevant questions that will help you see who will do the best job for you.

For more information or questions about this topic please call me at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at: jelwell1@tampabay.rr.com

I also invite you to visit my my website where I think you will find a lot of useful information. To get there just click on the following link: www.jelwell.century21bnr.com

John Elwell - REALTOR

CENTURY 21

Bill Nye Realty, Inc.

813-783-4444

Licensed in Florida

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Comment balloon 2 commentsJohn Elwell • February 09 2008 09:17PM

Comments

This is a great point you make.  There is an agent in DC - who is "The TOP" agent.  Even the OLD-Timers see him as the "Top" agent.  Well - he has about 10 Buyers Agents; a couple listing agents  and a staff of other folks.

Is he the "Best"... well he does the most volume... but will you get HIM - or another agent who works under him?   Most likely an agent who works under him (unless you are selling a 6.5 Million Dollar property... then I am sure you get him.

The point is - Every agent has a different niche; different personality and may or may not be the "Best agent" for YOU.

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORSĀ®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 11 years ago
James Yep, you can make the numbers give any impression you like and some play that card all the time, often to the detriment of the buyers and sellers. Wish you lived closer to the Tampa area. We seem to think alike about a lot of issues. Would be great to have lunch and talk business. In any case, your comments are always appreciate. John
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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