8 Most Important Qualities of a Real Estate Agent
What do sellers and buyers look for in a realtor? Here are the 8 most important qualities of a real estate agent.
Buying or selling a home is an arduous process. To help buyers and sellers make profitable decisions, real estate agents provide comparative market analysis, facilitate showings, convey offers, handle paperwork, and facilitate negotiations on behalf of the client. But these are not the only things clients consider when hiring a real estate agent. Good real estate agents display positive traits that will make the homebuying or selling process as seamless and meaningful as possible.
If you’re a seller or buyer looking for an agent, or a real estate professional who wants to attract and nurture long-term relationships with their clients, read along to know the most important qualities of a real estate agent.
1. Professional reputation
Real estate agents work in a retention- and referral-based industry. Based on the Zillow Group Report, 28% of sellers learn about their agent from a friend, relative, neighbor, or colleague, while 23 percent have worked with the agent before. This means that agents generate business through referrals from friends and family members, as well as repeat clients.
A good real estate agent is someone who has an outstanding reputation in the local community. They also have valuable connections with real estate attorneys, stagers, contractors, and other vendors who can help clients successfully close every transaction.
Tip: If you’re a buyer or seller, you can check out online reviews about an agent or their business on sites like Facebook or their website. If your agent is someone your friends or family referred to you, ask them how it was working with the agent. Their feedback will give you helpful insights into the agent’s character and work ethic.
2. Integrity and honesty
No client wants to work with a dishonest agent. In a cut-throat industry such as real estate, it’s important to have someone whose character is unquestionable. Suffice to say, honesty and integrity are one of the top qualities of a good real estate agent.
Before anything else, the client’s interests should come first—even before commissions and earnings. This means that agents make sure what the client wants is beneficial and right for them. Agents do this by providing clients with accurate information and honest opinion to help them make the best buying or selling decisions.
Tip: If you’re a buyer or seller, do your due diligence in researching the agent’s character and track record. You can review online testimonials and even ask the agent for character references from previous clients.
3. Positive work ethic
An excellent real estate agent is someone with a good work ethic. This means establishing strong communication with the client and not taking overpriced listings. They also show all available properties to the buyer (regardless of commission) and don’t steer them to a certain neighborhood that’s not good for them. Lastly, an agent with good ethics is someone who doesn’t burn bridges with other professionals in the field.
Being a real estate agent is not a nine-to-five job, unlike typical office jobs. A great agent embraces this and accommodates clients even outside of traditional working hours. They also won’t take off for a vacation without informing the client.
Tip: If you’re a real estate agent, you need to hold yourself to high ethical standards to maintain trust with your clients. It’s also important to have a genuine heart for serving others, making selfless decisions, being professional at all times, and even going the extra mile to serve the client’s best interests.
4. Knowledge and expertise
Buying a home is probably the largest investment anyone can make in their lifetime. A good real estate agent is someone who has in-depth knowledge and expertise in the local real estate industry so clients get the best deals. Agents should also know more details about local developments and the ins and outs of the neighborhood. Furthermore, an experienced and knowledgeable agent will provide the tools clients need to be successful in selling or buying a property.
Tip: First-time buyers tend to hire part-time or inexperienced agents who are friends or relatives, or an agent they meet at an open house. When choosing an agent, make sure they are not only experienced but also have expert market knowledge in the area you are purchasing.
5. Effective communication
A good agent is someone who can communicate well and can match the client’s communication style. This is important so that the agent and the client are on the same page when discussing important topics, especially when so much information is being shared.
While personality plays a role in how people communicate with others, a good real estate agent will make the client feel comfortable asking any questions. Great agents also thoroughly explain what the client needs to know even when they don’t know they need to know it yet. Someone with a sense of humor and who provides emotional support can further help clients manage all the stress when selling or buying a home.
Tip: Meet with 2-3 real estate agents before deciding on one to work with. A good real estate agent is not just a great communicator but also someone who matches your energy and communication style well.
6. Negotiation skills
Clients want to work with someone who understands what can be negotiated and provides creative solutions. This said, real estate agents should have outstanding negotiation skills. Experienced agents are capable of professionally pushing for better terms or making requests on the client’s behalf even if the answer is likely to be “No”. Great real estate agents also make clients feel that they are being heard and understood without judgment.
Tip: Good negotiation skills are developed over time based on the agent’s experience, knowledge, and diligence. For clients looking for an agent, consider the agent’s experience, work ethic, and empathy.
Real estate is a relationship business. Being trustworthy is among the top quality sellers and buyers look for in an agent. In a recent study, 86% of sellers considered it a very important trait when doing business. A trustworthy agent won’t try to persuade sellers by giving an unattainable listing price. Reputable agents always set reasonable expectations, outline the client’s responsibilities, and give them time to review any agreement before deciding to work with them.
Tip: A trustworthy agent provides buyers and sellers with multiple options instead of narrowing the field of opportunities right away. For example, if you’re a buyer, look for an agent who can offer you a wide range of listings to choose from, as well as a list of service providers in your area who can make the homebuying process easier.
8. Compassion and empathy
Plans always change and not every deal works out. Good real estate agents know this and understand their client’s motivations on a professional and personal level. For example, if the seller decides to take the home off the market, good agents won’t hold them to the commission agreement despite their change of heart.
Furthermore, great agents always put their client’s best interests first. They are always responsive, transparent, and display patience throughout the homebuying or selling journey.
Tip: If you’re looking for a real estate agent, always gauge how the much the agent has the client’s best interest at heart. Ask the questions “can I work with this person?” and “would they perform the same level of due diligence and negotiate as fiercely as if this was their home being bought or sold?” Oftentimes, what separates great agents from ordinary ones is their ability to empathize with their clients.
Selling or buying a home doesn’t have to be a stressful journey. With the help of an outstanding real estate agent, buyers and sellers can secure a valuable deal in the most seamless way possible within a reasonable timeframe. Clients evaluate agents not just based on the services they offer, but also their skill level, expertise, and character. Ultimately, the best real estate agents are those who understand their client’s goals and expectations.
To recap, here are the 8 most important qualities of a real estate agent:
- Professional reputation
- Integrity and honesty
- Positive work ethic
- Knowledge and expertise
- Effective communication
- Negotiation skills
- Compassion and empathy
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