The role of a real estate agent in today’s economy is markedly different than the role agents played 30, 20 or even ten years ago.
It is important for all parties involved in a real estate transaction - including buyers, sellers, renters and agents - to understand these significant changes. As a buyer or seller, you do not want to work with an incompetent agent.
As a real estate agent, you want to keep your skills useful and up to date to best serve your clients.
So what exactly does it take to make a good real estate agent today? Well, here are the 4 most important qualities in today’s real estate agents.
Be a Transactional Guide
This feature was valuable in an agent 20 years ago, but is just as important - if not more important - today. In years past, agents were gatekeepers of information.
Today, that information is readily available through services such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. So instead of relying on a wealth of “hidden” information, agents must now serve to interpret this now public information for their clients.
A good transactional guide will advise clients of various mortgage and loan strategies; they will pay careful attention to the specific terms and details of all of your contracts; and they will oversee the various parties and service providers involved in the real estate transaction.
Have a Deep, Local Expertise
In the age of Big Data, there are countless sources of helpful information regarding homes, neighborhoods and cities across the country. The role of a real estate agent is to study and analyze these numbers and present it to the client in a way that reflects their needs and wants.
The website WebMd contains a plethora of information on all issues related to health. However, only a doctor should use this information to diagnose a patient. Similarly, Zillow and Trulia contain a wide range of data on the real estate market but only a real estate agent is best suited to interpret this data for the buyer or seller.
Be a Good Negotiator
Today’s real estate market is competitive. Homes sit on the market for less than a few days before receiving multiple offers. Homes receive offers that are several thousand dollars above asking price. There are fewer qualified home buyers in the market than years past. With such cutthroat conditions for buyers and sellers, how can you navigate these heady waters?
Real estate agents - good ones, anyways - are trained in the art of negotiation. They are sales professionals, and sales professionals understand the nuances of making a good deal. They also know the market better than anyone else, and have hard numbers to back up their art.
Be a Good Marketer
In the old days, a home was sold through the MLS and by placing ads in the newspaper. Today, anyone with Internet access and a Twitter account can be considered a marketer. How can you differentiate your home (or your buying prowess) to potential buyers (and sellers)?
The answer is a real estate agent who understands where buyers and sellers are looking for homes, how they are looking for homes, what type of home features sell a home, and what financial qualifications make a buyer more appealing.
Unlike the travel agents of days past, a good real estate agents will always be in high demand. While purchasing a plane ticket is a relatively frequent, standard, and inexpensive process the purchase or sale of a home is infrequent, contract-based, and often expensive.
It is these qualities that make a good real estate agent desirable and it is those four important traits that separate today’s real estate agents from agents long ago.