8 Questions For Agents About Their Experience
With real estate, the 80/20 rule comes into play. If you are unfamiliar with the 80/20 rule, it’s simple. 80% of the transactions will include agents who are within the top 20% of the agents in the market. For example Mitch is in the top 5% of all of the greater Indianapolis Agents.
This concept is true regardless if we are talking about Listing agents that work for Sellers, or the Real estate agents who represent buyers that are commonly known as Buyer's agents. Some agents only represent Sellers and others only represent Buyers. However, most agents like Mitch, represent both Sellers and Buyers. Unlike most of the agents though, Mitch will not represent both a Seller and a Buyer at the same time, on the same property. Mitch shares a lot about why many states have made this concept of representing both Buyers & Sellers at the same time, on the same property, known as limited or dual agency illegal. While not illegal in Indiana Mitch considers this practice to be very unethical! You can read Mitch's Top 10 Reasons to work with an agent that only represents you as a buyer here.
When interviewing REALTORS®, your goals should always include being represented by a REALTOR® who has great Experience & Expertise, that's relevant to your needs, and an agent who will will be Available to serve you best! The best place to start your search is with a REALTOR® who is also among the Top 20% Producers both within their brokerage and within their local community of Agents.
When you hire representation, you should be more focused on the Agent than their brokerage. However, even the most experienced Agent will from time-to-time encounter something that is very atypical or unusual. Being part of a larger brokerage gives the agent the ability to speak with fellow agents easily and confidentially in the office to determine the best and most effective path forward.
Additionally, a larger brokerage almost always will mean more listings in the marketplace. So, when your buyer's agent is part of this environment, that means your agent may hear about properties coming on the market even before they are listed. While you can't typically see a property before it's available to the public, this advance knowledge may allow you to arrange your schedule to be among the first to see the property and in a seller's market, this can often be a huge advantage for you as a buyer.
A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS®. Every agent is not a REALTOR®. While most Agents are also REALTORS®, you should always confirm if the Agent is also a licensed REALTOR®. REALTORS® are held to a higher ethical standard than just licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.
The average REALTOR typically only handles 12 transactions per year. By comparison Mitch averages 30-35 transactions per year. The optimum skill sets for listing agents are different from buyer's agents.
So, a great buyer's agent will handle at least 10 or more Buyer transactions per year! Stated another way, an ideal Buyer's agent will typically have 40% to 60% of their annual transactions helping Buyers. So, it's possible that a Top producing Agent, who handles 20 to 40 transactions per year, where only 10%-20% of all of the transaction are working with buyers is not typically an ideal buyer's agent.
Frankly, the steps representing a Buyer are basically the same regardless of if it's a $200,000, $400,000 or $2,000,000 home!
What does change though, are the expectations of the Buyer and the locations, neighborhoods/developments where the potential homes exist. So, if you are looking at homes with a price point that's well above the agent's typical buyer, then the agent may not be as aware of properties about to hit the market as well as the good and bad points about the neighborhoods and developments you are most likely to buy in.
Conversely, if an agent's typical client is spending much more than your budget, then you may find the agent not spending as much time working on your search as you would need and expect.
Great Agents want to be even better! They typically understand that the real value of a sale is more about how happy the buyers or sellers are, and who these clients can refer to the Agent down the road, versus focusing on the commission from an individual itself. The best way for the agent to improve is to get independent 3rd party reviews specific to both Buyers and Sellers.
These reviews will usually include reviews, good and bad about the agent. Being able to see these surveys and reviews allows you to identify specific past clients that you might want to speak with in person to gain even better clarity on their experiences in working with Mitch.
As part of this question, you should also ask if these reviews are published online where you can see them.
Lastly, you should confirm if the Agent would be willing to request permission, from 2-3 of these past clients based on your review of the surveys, for you to reach out to speak directly with the past clients about their experience in working with the agent.
A great agent will NOT represent both a buyer and seller at the same time. Mitch shares a lot about why many states have made this concept of representing both Buyers & Sellers at the same time, on the same property, known as limited or dual agency illegal. While not illegal in Indiana Mitch considers this practice to be very unethical! You can read Mitch's Top 10 Reasons to work with an agent that only represents you as a buyer here.
Frankly any agent who says yes, they will still help you as a buyer, is likely not a good option for you since these agents are likely more interested in making the commissions as both a Seller’s agent and a Buyer's agent vs fulfilling their fiduciary role to you as a Buyer!
As an example, with Mitch, he will give you 2-3 options depending on if you or the Sellers are willing to represent themselves. Self-representation is not an approach Mitch encourages; however, Mitch understands many Buyers and Sellers would prefer this approach and this does decrease the commissions being paid making your offer more competitive than offers from other agents.
If neither you nor the sellers want to represent yourself then Mitch will refer you to a fellow agent who typically who will represent you for less than they typically would which also makes commissions less, although not as low as they would be with only one agent. Lastly with Mitch the buyer can always find an independent agent to represent the buyer with the offer. Since this agent will typically be compensated the same as any other agent though, this means any competitive advantage the buyer has is lost.
While every Agent may have a different approach, it is important that you know what this scenario will look like. It is also important to keep this potential outcome in mind when you view the listing Agent's own listings to avoid sharing info about your level of interest with the Listing agent since that insight can and likely will be also shared with the seller.