In most cases, a personís home is their largest single asset, yet when it comes time to sell, many neglect the basics of selecting the right real estate agent. Itís astounding, says Nancy Leslie of RE/MAX Realtec Goup, an award-winning agent and consistent top performer in sales in the state of Florida.
"Itís amazing how many people automatically pick an agent that a friend told them about or someone from their church recommended," said Leslie. If they are lucky, that recommendation works out, but "luck" is about all one has when they choose an agent without the proper due diligence, Leslie warns.
"Iíve seen it many times," said Leslie, who recalls far too many instances of sellers stuck with an underperforming agent, or worse, an agent who promised the sky just to get the listing. Itís a case of let the seller beware, says Leslie; when it comes to agents, itís important to realize "one size doesnít fit all."
So just how does one make sure they pick the right rep to handle their sale? It takes a little effort, common sense and a good sense for when something sounds too good to be true, says Leslie. She offered the following tips for anyone looking for an agent.
Nothing trumps success, said Leslie, and that means sales numbers. She advises anyone interviewing a potential agent to ask how many homes theyíve sold in the past year. In 2017, Leslie closed deals on some 400 homes. An agent doesnít have to come close to a number like that to be effective, but as Leslie puts it, "Would you rather have an agent who sold five homes last year or 25?"
Another critical question to ask is the average time an agentís listing was on the market. Leslieís listings were 48 days on the market in 2017. Again, an agent doesnít have to match that kind of average, but homes on the market for months on end are an indication of a problem.
Beware of agents who promise an inflated selling price. Leslie said sellers should ask to see listings of comparable sales in their neighborhood to find out if a selling price is realistic. Some agents will attempt to "buy a listing" by projecting an unrealistic selling price. At best, "itís pie in the sky," says Leslie. At worst, itís a "lie." Leslie said in her 37 years selling, sheís never put money or herself before a client. "If you treat customers right, then money is automatic," she said.
Be sure the agent knows the local market. Leslie is based in Pinellas County and focuses on that region. Too many times, an agent from out of the area will take a listing with little or no market knowledge of the neighborhood.
Ask if the agent has a personal assistant or a support staff. Leslie has an assistant and a small, effective team to ensure optimum customer service. It means the agent is both smart and busy enough (read that to mean busy selling) to warrant help.
Get references and do internet searches for reviews of potential agents. Try to assess whether the agent enjoys their work. "You have to have a true passion for real estate. If you donít, youíre not going to do a very good job," Leslie believes.
John Rurkowski, RE/MAX Realtec Group broker, says home sellers can count on Nancy Leslieís advice: "Nancy is an amazing professional, providing exceptional service to ALL clients, regardless of price. By focusing on whatís truly important, her customer, Nancy has established herself as a leader in the market. As a mentor, she takes pride in her teamís individual growth and is truly inspirational."