We live in an era where technology is king, so when you’re choosing an agent to work with in your real estate transaction, you need to pick someone who is tech-savvy. This is especially true since we live on a little island in the center of the Pacific, where the time zone differs so much from the continental states. Technology will help bridge that gap.
You also need to decide if you want to work with a team or an individual agent. A team usually has specialists for each aspect of the buying process; an individual agent will be doing it all and must excel in each area.
Once you’ve made that decision, then hopefully that agent or team of agents will ask for a consult. This consult is key because it’s during that phase that they’ll identify all your needs, wants, and desires. They’ll also identify any potential problems, which is good, since it’s better to catch those issues earlier than later. This will help you and your agent(s) create a more seamless, relaxed, and joyful process. If the person you’re interviewing doesn’t ask for a consult, that indicates that they’re probably an order-taker, which aren’t as valuable as a team or agent who will guide you in the right direction for your goals.
Your team or agent needs certain qualities: experience, negotiating skills, great communication, tech-savviness, and trustworthiness, to name a few. These qualities can be identified during the consult, which can be done while you’re on the mainland or when you’re here on the island. Using the consult as an opportunity to vet your agent will save you time, energy, and heartache.
To expand on that, during this consult, you’ll want to ask the agent or team a series of questions to help determine whether they possess the qualities you’re looking for. Some examples include:
- “How long have you been in the business?”
- “What was your volume for the past year?”
- “How many days was that particular home on the market? What was its list/sales price?”
Knowing an agent’s volume is important because in our quick-moving industry, you need to be doing deals in order to be on top of your game.
In addition to volume, an agent or team’s average days on market is a telling number, as well. Since we’re in a seller’s market right now, for instance, their days on market could be zero; zero days on market would mean that they captured that particular property before it even hit the market, got their client into it, and gave them a competitive negotiating position. That would mean that agent is going over and beyond the norm, which says that they’re an agent who would look out for your best interests and put you in a position of strength.
Next, look at their list-to-sales-price ratio. If they’re a good negotiator, you’ll probably see a certain percentage taken off the list price. Whatever that ratio is, you can use that number to help you make a decision for yourself regarding whether to work with that agent or team of agents.
It’s also important to gain an understanding of that agent or team’s system. Take note of their communication processes and how their team (if they have one) works together so that you can know if you’ll feel comfortable working in that system.
Finally, be sure to ask them a few questions to determine how much they understand your needs. Ask them what features you’re looking for in a home or property, and also ask them what your motivations are; if they didn’t get that when you told them the first time, you might consider looking to work for someone else.
Hopefully, this process you use to interview agents will give you the competitive edge you need when you land on the island. If you have any questions or need any assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help. Aloha!