- Area Specific Experience
Experience is often referred to as the greatest teacher; able to give wisdom and insight in areas where a book is unable. In real estate, as in life, we are often forced to navigate through unfamiliar territory. When this is the case, it becomes necessary to have an experienced guide, one who has not only studied the maps, but walked the trails. When dealing with the buying and selling of commercial real estate, mistakes due to naiveté have costly consequences. The weight of these consequences is frequently transferred from the back of the broker to the client. Experience has, more so than education, proven an immeasurably valuable asset when attempting to mitigate both the frequency and severity of mistakes. An experienced broker also adds the benefit of unlocking certain trade secrets learned over decades of successful transactions. It is of critical importance to find a broker who has years of success in a certain geographical area and particular niche of real estate so you are able to trust they will care for your interests in an efficient and effective way.
Just because there is such a heavy focus on the importance of experience, does not mean the significance of education should be disregarded. If anything, a good realtor will testify to the importance of continuing education due to the experience they have received. When education is paired with experience it creates a powerhouse of effectiveness. When looking for a qualified realtor to represent your needs, be sure to take note of the education they received both prior and during their career in real estate. Check if they have bachelors, masters or doctorate degrees in a subject pertinent to real estate investment. Also, be sure to research the designations they have received while working in this career field. For example, SIOR (Specialist, Industrial and Office Real estate), CPM (Certified Property Manager), CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) or any designation distributed by the National Association of Realtors. Efforts to continue one’s education show the dedication of a realtor to provide the best service possible to their clients.
- Transaction History
Actions speak louder than words, and in real estate, a broker’s transaction history speaks volumes. How many deals has your broker closed successfully? How many happy clients do they have? What kind of properties have they dealt with? These are all important questions to answer before working with any realtor. As this information is more difficult to garner via the internet, the best solution is to simply ask the realtor about their transaction history. Also, do not be afraid to ask people who have worked with your potential realtor about what it is like to do business with them.
- Market Knowledge
This point is fairly straightforward, every realtor should know the facts about the market they work in. A client should always feel they are able to receive accurate information from their realtor regarding the property market; a third party source should rarely be necessary. If a realtor seems unversed in their market knowledge, this is a warning sign pointing directly to their inexperience and lack of education.
- Owning Property
This may come as a surprise to some, but there are countless numbers of realtors who have never owned investment property of their own. A realtor without experience in owning property is unable effectively to advise a client who wishes to own property. Without first-hand experience in this area, a realtor will not know how to manage properties well. There is a strong possibility they will be unoriginal in their investment ideas; and most importantly, they will pretend to lead while they themselves are blind.
By following these five tips, one is better able to determine the good realtors from the great ones. While these are not all the contributing compositional factors of a great realtor, they do outline some critical points. Lastly, it is important to remember the importance of affability; one must establish a good relationship with a realtor and it should be easy to do so. If there seems to be great difficulty when trying to work with a realtor, do not feel the need to hire them simply because they are experienced and well educated.