One on One With Susie Denton By Gina Dostler
When deciding to either buy or sell a home, finding the right real estate agent can make a world of difference. Real estate transactions are complex. It is imperative to select a competent, honest agent to skillfully represent your best interest throughout the entire process of selecting, negotiating and closing on property. Industry veteran Susie Denton of Denton Properties Group in Newport Beach shares tips on what to consider when seeking a real estate agent.
Q: What do I want to look for in an agent?
A: The most important is selecting one who has many transactions under the belt. Real estate is a learn-by-doing process and an experienced agent should be closing at least 10 property transactions per year. Each transaction is complex, and each time the agent obtains new and relevant “training” on each deal.
Q: When would be the right time to look for one?
A: Before you even go looking through the system for homes just to get a feel for what is out there, obtaining a real estate agent from the beginning saves you a lot of confusion. Though the minute you decide to buy or sell a home, agents come out of the woodwork so finding one is not a problem. Selecting the right one for your needs is a lot more challenging. You need a real estate agent that understands your needs and can navigate the system.
Q: Is it an interviewing process?
A: Absolutely. Interview at least three agents and ask them how many transactions they’ve closed in the past 12 months and several years. If they have not closed that many, it doesn’t mean you can’t select them. Ask who is guiding them as they learn the business and what professional training they have had in preparation to assist you. Look for honesty, another important aspect of home buying and selling. You don’t want one who is going to tell you every house is the best house they’ve ever seen. An agent gives you both the pros and cons about each house and is even honest enough to tell you why you shouldn’t buy the house or sell your home. Ask them lots of questions.
Q: What questions should I ask?
A: Be sure to ask the same questions so you won’t be comparing apples to oranges. Have them explain the market place and conditions, basically who is buying, what price range is moving and why. Let the agent explain to you who they are and what makes them different from their competitors. Then ask why you should choose them. It’s good to ask about their firm, why it is different and why you should choose them.
Q: Is it okay to call their former customers?
A: You should always get references from the sales professional’s recently closed transactions. Take the time to call the references to ask how the agents performed and what they thought about their whole experience. Listen carefully to how and what they say because you can learn so much about the agent. Inquire about how many current clients they have. Also Google the agent’s names and check the state for licensing information and any disciplinary information.
Q: Why current clients?
A: You want an agent who has the time to work with you. Though these days are slow for agents, you’d be surprised how one agent will get several hits all at once. An agent that has too many clients might be too busy for your needs. Make sure they have the time to sit with you and educate you about the industry. You need someone willing to write offers on properties you want to buy. Iff occupied with too many clients at once, service to you may suffer.
Q: What is the best place to find a real estate agent?
A: Referrals are a good place to start. Ask friends and family if they had success with an agent and liked their services, but don’t feel obligated to use them if you don’t think they fit your need. Don’t be swayed by personality alone. You do want someone you can get along with and get the job done. If buying a home, make sure they know the location in which you want to purchase the property. Some agents are going to be familiar with the entire county and can talk to you about each neighborhood. But find a sales professional who is very knowledgeable about your targeted location.
Q: Other things to consider?
A: Ask yourself, “Will they help you make smart decisions?” Your real estate professional should be well versed in the business so they can advise you how to do your “homework” when buying or selling a property. For instance, does buying make financial sense? Did you get a fair deal on your mortgage? Have you looked at the HOA documents, title abstract or plat? Are you procuring the right insurance for the proper amount? A good agent can guide you in these areas and should be on your side in a transaction. They should also help you navigate the escrow and closing process and negotiate in your best interest, whether it is the price, repair requests or other contract terms.
Susie Denton, Broker Associate
DRE No. 00993999
Denton Properties Group
First Team Estates
4 Corporate Plaza, Suite 100
Newport Beach, CA 92660