Consumers are in a new age wherein they research and compare products' value online prior to making in-store purchases. In Google and the National Association of Realtor's joint study The Digital House Hunt, Google refers to this phenomenon as "Zero Moment of Truth." ZMOT is so groundbreaking that Google has an entire handbook dedicated to it.
ZMOT appears to be a phenomenon that is set to efface the role of brokers and marketers in the real estate sector. Yet, as Washington Post writer Lydia Depillis has stressed in an article, the technology (i.e. the internet) that is very much "supposed to drive real estate agents out of business" has been the leading medium that has helped them stay afloat through challenging economic times.
Indeed, real estate brokers' roles have become more significant than ever in this new era of connectivity. Citing NAR data, Depillis noted that "agents are as widely used as ever" with 89 percent of home buyers consulted one in 2012, translating to a 69 percent rise in 2001. The same is true for agents brokering the sale of homes. Depilles added that only nine percent of home sellers sold a home without the help of a real estate agent.
With real estate brokers proving to be a crucial asset in successful home sales, it certainly pays to employ one. Here are some tips from RealBiz Media Group, Inc. (OTCQB: RBIZ) on how to choose a real estate agent that's right for your endeavor:
- Look for an agent with whom you have chemistry.
Brendon DeSimone, an authority figure in real estate, and author of book Next Generation Real Estate, advises home buyers to "pay attention to chemistry." The practical advice is also applicable to home sellers, in this case.
"An agent could come highly recommended and be thoroughly experienced. But with any relationship, chemistry (or lack of it) comes into play," DeSimone stated in his article on Zillow.com.
DeSimone told home buyers to only employ agents they are "willing to spend time with" and completely understand their goals. He also said advised homebuyers to ditch an agent if there is lacking in chemistry. "Will you feel comfortable sharing your financial and other personal information with him? If you answer 'no,' keep looking for someone you click with," DeSimone noted.
- Find out how well-versed the agent is about your neighborhood.
Keller Williams agent Cotty Lowry advises home sellers to choose an agent who is "intimately and passionately familiar with your neighborhood." Unfortunately, this does not mean that the agent with the most "for sale" signs in your neighborhood is the right one for you. "If a prospective agent has little constructive input about price and condition for you, be curious: Do they want to help you sell your house or do they just want to put a sign in your yard to bring in buyers?" Lowry was quoted saying.
- Find out how much the agent would charge you.
Paul Valentino, president of Washington-based Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, believes the agent's commission rate is a discerning factor in home sellers' search for the right real estate agent to market their properties. "Marketing your home is more than just selecting an agent…The real issue here is what agent/company can help you walk away with the most dollars," Valention said in a report on the Washington Post.
Home sellers should enlist the help of agents or companies "who consistently outperforms the market," Valentino said. To find out whether the agent is one, home sellers, he said, should look at the sales price to listing price ratio of the homes the agent has sold in the past. If the agent manages to sell the home at the highest sales price for the owner, then it means he or she is doing a great job.
RealBiz Media Group, Inc.'s recently rolled out consumer site Nestbuilder.com is a perfect place for home sellers to find great agents they can work with.
Nestbuilder.com is a social platform for real estate agents to build their reputation and the visibility of their listings. Since it went live in January, over 350,000 real estate agents have signed up for an account on the site. As of press time, there are 1.6 million listings on Nestbuilder.com.