How will you choose your real estate agent in 2023?
Not all Realtors are created equally – choose wisely.
Don’t let HGTV mislead you; the stakes are high when buying or selling a home.
From missed liabilities during a purchase to not preparing to have the upper hand on negotiations during a sale, choosing the wrong agent can be the single most expensive line item on the settlement statement produced right before closing — when it’s much too late.
Did you know that the number of years your agent has been in the business does not equate to their expertise? That's because of the 80/20 rule in real estate: 80% of the business – the vast majority – is done by just 20% of the agents.
So why do so many people choose to work with 80% of the Realtors who do very little business and, subsequently, do not have advanced skill sets?
First, many buyers and sellers may not realize the stark differences between working with a proven professional and a part-timer. They may pick an agent they know personally – it might even be a friend or a family member. Think about it this way: If you were going to have major surgery, would you pick the general surgeon who does the procedure a few times a year or a specialist who does it five times a week?
Second, research tells us that nearly 90% of buyers and sellers interview just one Realtor before making their choice. A recent study also found that most home buyers spend more time researching TVs than they spend on finding the right type of financing or learning how to choose a Realtor.
And notably, ask a busy agent about the quality they see among the agents who practice real estate in their market. Many know the agents they want on the other side of the table because they’re established professionals. Others they fear working with because their lack of professionalism and/or expertise may endanger the closing if complications arise.
DOES YOUR REALTOR HAVE THESE 3 SKILLS?
Your Realtor is your advocate, expert adviser and project manager. A Realtor's job is to navigate the minefield of minutiae, identify blind spots and most importantly, provide you with the information that empowers you to make your best decisions. After all, the decisions you make today could impact your life for decades.
You should treat your search for a Realtor with the same due diligence as any major investment or decision. Here are three essential skills your agent must have to earn your business when selling or buying a home:
- Preparation & promotion
- Does the agent have a project management style that will ensure a clear objective to getting you to the market, while focusing on relieving your stress?
- Does the agent understand how to promote your property to generate the highest dollar, beyond relying on Zillow and Redfin to do the work?
- Pricing and positioning
- Given the nuances of pricing on Bainbridge Island, is your agent familiar with the housing stock and understand why the price per square foot is arguably useless?
- Given the nuances between property characteristics on the island, does your agent have a tried and true method of establishing a potential list price, and can they show you historical evidence of their successful pricing strategy over years of closings?
- Negotiating and closing
- How well does the agent understand your motivations, and how can they strategize and communicate with all parties to ensure your goals are met?
- Does your agent have a track record of problem-solving to keep deals from dying when problems arise because they understand the importance of collaboration and teamwork?
- Honesty and integrity:
- Does the agent have a moral compass pointing to true north with the creed that there are no unhappy clients allowed?
- Will the agent get to know you and work to achieve your goals, not theirs?
- Knowledge of the local market and the logistical process:
- How active is the agent to be able to fully understand the local nuances to the current purchasing process?
- How well does the agent know the market’s rhythm, based on data and collaboration with the agent community?
- Knowledge of the island’s uniqueness to ensure a house is a good match:
- Does the agent even live on Bainbridge Island?
- How well does the agent know the ins and outs of island life?
BONUS CONSIDERATION FOR BOTH BUYERS AND SELLERS:
- Does the agent have hard business skills, such as negotiation?
- Is the agent well-connected to local vendors and able to problem-solve while navigating escrow?
WHAT DOES A QUALIFIED REALTOR LOOK LIKE?
Data often helps inform our best decisions, especially for our largest purchases and investments. When you meet with a prospective Realtor, you need to make sure you have chemistry but also are confident that they have the skills you need.
Looking back over the last several years, how many transactions have they closed? What is the price range of these sales? Does your home fit into their price range? How do they perform when compared to the overall market? Do their metrics show they outperform the market or underperform?
You need this information to make the right decision and your agent should provide this to you.
For comparison, here are some highlights from Jason Shutt’s track record:
- Closed sales between $82,000 and $8,800,000
- From 2020-2022, Jason’s 30 sellers sold 38% faster than the average Bainbridge Island listing
- And in this time Jason’s sellers have sold above their list price by a higher average percentage than the island’s average listing
- Closed sales between $45,000 and $4,970,000
- Jason’s buyers have always reported appreciating the thorough due diligence process conducted, no matter how frenetic the pace of marketplace
- Jason’s buyers have never reported being rushed or pressured to buy the wrong house
Jason Shutt is in the Top 10 of experienced Bainbridge Island active Realtors, as measured by total number of closed sales, since 2017.
HOW WILL YOU CHOOSE YOUR REALTOR IN 2023?
Buying or selling a home requires due diligence, and hiring the right Realtor is key to short-term and long-term success. Making sure the Realtor you hire has the three most essential skills is vital. Understanding how their expertise and track record compare with others may be more important than chemistry.
The best Realtors can demonstrate their value and show you why they are successful at what they do.
Remember, it may seem to take more time to hire the right Realtor, but it could cost you a lot more than money if you hire the wrong one.
Click below to receive Jason’s complimentary Buyers Guide and/or Sellers Guide.
You’ll gain extensive information about the value he brings to his clients.
"We hired Jason because we’ve been told by numerous people that he is a top-drawer real estate agent. What stood out for me in his exceptional work was his deep knowledge base and an approach that understands how to prepare for success. I’d say he hit the sweet spot"
Kol Medina & Elsa Watson
"Every time we hit a wall, he had several solutions for me to choose from, keeping it simple and strait forward."
"Jason IS the realtor to hire- he has your best interest in mind, did the extra research to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, even catching things most realtors wouldn’t think of."
"Our work with him was meaningful and so much more than just a “transaction”; he always showed up in ways that went above and beyond his professional responsibilities and it’s sad to not have had more time working with him!"
Stacy & Kelsey Marshall
"Jason listened to the family goals and formulated clear, reasonable plans to accomplish their vision."
"Jason is a listener, and his advice was always on-point; he always respected my point of view and shared his perspective in a real conversation and every meeting bore fruit."
"Jason was remarkably communicative, even letting us know even when there was nothing to report to prevent uncertainty. Most importantly, he was quite skilled at giving us advice we could rely on, but left the decisions to us."
Steve & Lynn Rowe
"Jason LISTENED to our needs and desires and took the time to really get to know us as people and not just as his clients."
Marcus & Heidi Kitley
"He is trustworthy, collaborative and a clear communicator that brought a personal touch of finding out about my true priorities and was determined and persisted to problem solve every step of the process."
PS. Have you heard about the national class action lawsuits shaking up the industry’s model of realtor compensation?
Sadly, most Realtors are afraid to talk about it because it is disruptive. The lawsuits are about:
- Transparency in how commissions are paid
- Increased competition among agents to prove their value
- Giving consumers a chance to have more informed participation in the process
Because these cases are moving through the courts, it’s becoming increasingly clear this issue is unlikely to go away. And if these changes are made, this information will be even more valuable in the future.