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I Found My Agent – Or Did I?

January 06 2012

I’m in a tough spot. I thought that picking a real estate agent would be pretty easy. I’d get a referral, check the agent’s ratings, meet them in person, and we’d be good-to-go. WRONG. My experience has been quite different.

Trusted Advisor
I look up to my father as one of the smartest, most ethical people I’ve ever known. He’s also a terrific judge of character. So, when he says, “I’ve found a great agent for you,” I’m inclined to believe him. He handed me the agent’s card and explained that he’s a friend and a neighbor. He lives in our little town and has spent his entire professional career as a REALTOR® here. I hear quite a few things I like:

  • I’d much prefer a local agent, someone who lives in our small community, not just the entire county. If the reasons for this aren’t obvious, I’ll explain that our aspirational neighborhood has its quirks and nuances. Someone hyper-local will “get” this while someone in another area might not. I could be wrong, but that’s how I feel.
  • I’d like a seasoned professional, someone who has the years of experience my husband and I lack. Do I believe that new agents are less capable than experienced agents? No; I’m positive that there are new agents who are total rock stars. We’re just looking for someone who can counterbalance our inexperience.

I suppose my experience here is proof that most people turn to their trusted advisors first when they’re trying to find an agent. I’d also like to point out that whoever we choose will play a dual role for us. They will help us in the purchase of our next home AND they will be the listing agent when we sell our current home.

Lack of Ratings
Although I trust my dad’s opinion, I’d like to get confirmation that this is a great agent. So I decide to check out some of my favorite agent rating sites (ReachFactor.com and Mountain of Agents). He isn’t listed on any of them. He also doesn’t have any ratings or reviews on Zillow or Trulia.

Even worse, his broker’s website is terrible! They don’t feature their current listings; they don’t include bios for their agents; their property search links out to REALTOR.com.

This worries me. If this agent and his broker not actively managing his online reputation effectively, can I trust him to manage the sale of our home in the online space?

What Do We Do Now?
Clearly I’m feeling ambivalent about my choice of REALTOR®. I’d like to hear some opinions here.

Should I meet with this guy and see if we click? I can ask him questions about his use of technology and online marketing. Or, should I scrap it and look elsewhere?

To view all the articles in this series, click here.