Buying a home at San Diego prices can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you’ve done it before, so make sure you select the right agency to guide you through the process. Regardless of whether our agency is selected, do yourself a favor and follow this protocol:
- Identify 3 Agents for Interviews – the simple act of interviewing multiple agents will help you steer clear of new, incompetent or unethical agents. If your first three don’t pan out, find three more. Find one at an open house, one through mail advertisements and one with a recent sale in your target area.
- Check Their License – visit http://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp to verify that they have at least 2 years of full-time experience, no disciplinary action, and then ask them if they have any other jobs. You want someone honest, ethical, and dedicated.
- Check Their Productivity – Call their broker to receive a printout of recent production. Ideally you want someone who is “always in escrow” which typically means 10+ transactions per year in San Diego. Any less and you may be dealing with a part timer, a new agent, or a moonlighter.
- Schedule Interviews – set at least 30 minutes aside to properly interview an agent and firmly instruct each of them that you will not be selecting an agent until a later date. If you let them know you will not be signing up or committing during the interview, and they attempt to push you toward a commitment… run, don’t walk. It will be common for them to ask, but you shouldn’t have to say “no” more than once. Boundaries and communication are very important aspects and if the agent doesn’t understand this, chances are they’ll treat you like a number. Their value proposition either stands up on its own or it doesn’t…
- Interview with These Questions – Each should be framed to cover the previous 12-24 months
- Where is your area of expertise? Don’t lead them, don’t tell them where you’re looking. Ideally their focus area should be within a 5 mile radius of your target area(s).
- What is your approximate ratio of successful to unsuccessful purchase agreements submitted? Depending on market conditions this could be anywhere from 1:3 and you shouldn’t be alarmed until 1:5.
- For purchases, what is your approximate closed price to list price percentage? Ideally the agent will present at least a 1% discount (99% of the list price) and the better agents will provide upwards of 4% off the listing price. The one exception are top tier houses in very hot markets, if there are multiple offers within the first week or two, chances are you’ll have to pay the asking price or more if you want it. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of the competing offers, they won’t always prove it but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Do you require an exclusive representation agreement? This isn’t always a negative aspect, but if they do require this type of agreement they should have specific reasons and included services which justify exclusivity.
- What services do you provide which set you apart from other agents? This will vary and should be used as a tie breaker.
- Test Their Communication and Follow Up – Upon completion of the interview, ask them to send you an email showing their recent production on a spreadsheet and on a map, and to provide references from recent clients. Be specific on when they expect to provide this information to you. If an agent cannot meet this basic commitment, it should be a red flag in regard to professionalism and communication.
If we’re lucky enough to be selected for an interview, we’re sure you won’t regret it. Please don’t hesitate to call or write with any questions you might have, and if you’re a First Time Home Buyer, contact us today and we’ll send you this FREE book chalked full of helpful information…
To your success!