The Very Best Way to Choose a Real Estate Agent0

Posted by Thomas Miller, CCIM

best-practicesOccasionally, over a weekend, in the evening, or even on a holiday, I’ll get a call from a prospect about a property I have listed. During these calls, I always ask if this person is has a real estate agent representing them. More times than not, the answer is a version of, “Yes, but I’m just looking for something they may have overlooked.” My follow-up is usually something along the lines of, “Why are you spending your weekends looking for properties when your agent is taking the weekend off?”

Of course, real estate agents come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to have a solid plan and a proven method when it comes to selecting a partner to solve your industrial real estate needs. Here’s what I recommend.

First, let’s review with some of the reasons people have shared with me for choosing their agents:

  • “I have a friend who does real estate.”
  • “He was referred to me.”
  • “She works for a big company.”
  • “His name was on a sign in front of the building.”
  • “I saw her ad online.”

In every case listed here – and others along the same lines – you are selecting a pig in a poke. You don’t want to rely on your friends, referrals, or someone just because they work here or there or are on a sign or in an Internet ad. You want and deserve the best. That may require a small bit of work, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Remember that first and foremost, you should be looking for an agent who only represents you – not the landlord. When you’re speaking with a potential agent, ask who they will exclusively represent. Be clear, you absolutely need exclusively. How can one agent advocate for two sides? They can’t. You need your own, exclusive agent. If you are a tenant, look for a tenant representative agent. Search online – start with “tenant representation” and the name of your city, and see who comes up. That’s a good place to start.

Second, select an agent who is experienced in your specific area of need. Most locations are large enough to allow agents to specialize. You want the best for what you are looking for – don’t be an opportunity for an agent to branch out and try to learn new real estate skills on your project.

Third, find someone with experience. Experienced agents can save you incredible time, money and resources in so many ways. And, you can – and should – expect top-shelf service. No matter how experienced or qualified an agent is, he’s got to deliver the goods in terms of timely, effective service.

One critical measure of great service certainly reverts back to the prospect that was talking to an agent on the phone on the weekend or on a holiday or after hours while his agent was off work. You shouldn’t be doing your agent’s work anytime, and if you find yourself in that scenario – on the phone, off-hours, chatting with an agent who is not only available but is actively working on behalf of his client – consider it a sign to reconsider who you’ve hired.

No one can predict when a prospect will present himself, and agents who expect the parties to a transaction to work into their working hours are providing a disservice to the industry. Expect excellent availability from your agent, and expect it on your schedule, not on his. Of course excellent service takes on numerous other elements, but availability should be very high on the list.

When you consider this selection process, and compare it with the reasons people have chosen their agents listed above, it’s not difficult to see why things don’t always go well for those folks. How can you expect a high quality result when your initial selection was literally random?

Don’t make that mistake. Remember the traits that your agent needs to have, and set about finding one who has them in spades. A little work on your end upfront will pay off tenfold in the long run.

As for me and my reasoning for answering calls after hours? It’s simple. I work in a service business, and I’m well aware that we live in a society where instant access to all data is expected. That’s why I’ll always take a business call, even when I’m not working. I figure if a company or an individual lists their real estate assets with our firm, I owe them the best chance to lease or sell it.

If you have a property that needs a tenant or a buyer, or you’re looking for industrial property, let me show you how I can make it happen. Contact me today.

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About the Author

Thomas Miller, CCIM

Thomas Miller, CCIM is the president and broker of Miller Industrial Properties in Reno, Nevada. He has worked in industrial real estate since 1991, with 15 years of previous experience designing and building industrial warehousing and manufacturing facilities in the northern Nevada market. Contact Tom at tom@mipnv.com or 775-742-9891.

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