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Choosing the right agent

Choosing the right agent


Choosing the right real estate agent is something that’s important when buying — and especially when selling — real estate. This is because agents aren’t one-size-fits-all for every deal. And finding out what an agent is good at, and where they are located will help you determine whether or not you should hire them.


Let me explain.



Not all agents work in the same area of real estate. To understand what I mean, I want you to think about mechanics. There are some who specialize in rebuilding engines, others who specialize in tires and front end alignments and still others who only work on transmissions.


If your transmission malfunctions, you don’t take your vehicle to an engine guy. And if you need an alignment, you don’t take your vehicle to the transmission guy. Instead, you seek out a mechanic with the specialized knowledge for the particular area where you need help with.


In the same way, real estate agents specialize in different areas of real estate, and you need to use them accordingly.


There’s a big push here lately to get into multifamily dwellings. While any agent can show you an apartment listing, you’d do well to use one that specializes in apartments and multiplexes because the negotiating and purchasing process in that arena is far different from other areas of real estate. And you need someone who knows the ins and outs of that process.


There are agents who specialize in commercial properties, vacant land, storage units, mobile home parks and the list goes on. And because of that fact, you need to have an agent who’s accustomed to the particular deal you’re working on.


In the single-family world, there seem to be niches where agents tend to thrive. Some are great at selling starter homes to first-time home buyers, while others deal better with people moving up into larger homes. With that idea in mind, if you have a $750,000 house you are wanting to sell, you don’t want to list with an agent who typical deals in $150,000 homes. Likewise, you don’t want to list your starter home with someone who sells McMansions.


The next thing you want to consider is where the agent is located. I work with region-specific agents. This means I use a different agent for each county we work in. The reason for this strategy is because the markets are different in each area and the dominant MLS’s (multiple listings service) are different as well.


I want a top producer, with good communication skills and local knowledge advertising selling my houses. These are the folks who can spitball you an after-repair value over the phone and may already have a buyer lined up for you before you finish the rehab. These folks live and work in the community where they sell real estate, know their markets and they perform way better than an “out-of-town” agent.


Speaking of that fact, I met with some sellers this week who had hired an out-of-town agent to list a property for them that requires some specialized knowledge. The sellers had a doublewide mobile home on half an acre of land. Their agent was from four counties away, sold mainly houses and didn’t know this market. The sellers home had been overpriced when listed and was sitting on market. The property was also not ready for sale.


I’m not talking about condition. The house was in great shape. But in order to sell a mobile home on land with FHA or VA financing, there are some things that have to be done. The titles to the home have to be retired by the state and the home has to have a permanent foundation under it. This house had neither.


The sellers didn’t know about retiring the title, and they had been given erroneous information from their agent as far as what constitutes a permanent foundation on a mobile home. They were planning to have footers poured and blocked laid under the perimeter of the home, just like a regular house. And it was going to cost $6,000.



That process would’ve been a waste of their money because the piers under the trailer are what constitute the foundation on mobile home. Those are what have to be finished correctly to qualify for FHA or VA financing. What they were about to do would have been considered expensive skirting.


This is a prime example of why you need to choose the right agent for the deal you are working on. Because choosing the wrong one can cost you big time.


Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to or call Joe at 678-986-6813.



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