The other day I was talking with Kim, a friend of mine in the real estate industry.  She was over at an investment home that she’d listed and sold, and was now helping her client pack up the house and clean it.

“You know, I don’t mean to toot my own horn,” she said, “but if I ever needed a real estate agent, I’d want one who treats clients the way I do.”

I immediately knew what she meant, because I know Kim.  She’s the kind of real estate agent who will cut the grass or paint a wall or pack boxes if it helps a home sell.   She’s a shoulder to lean on—and cry on—and is always finding ways to improve her clients’ experiences.   The people she represents are very lucky indeed.

It got me thinking about those who are buying or selling investment homes and looking for an agent.  What should they expect from their agent?

So I put together this list about what your real estate agent should do:

  1. Put your interests first.  When you engage the services of an agent, you have the right to expect them to represent your interests—not theirs or anyone else’s.   In the case of a buyer’s agent, they should find you investment homes in the price range or with the “must-haves” you specify.   If you need 4 bedrooms, they shouldn’t waste your time by showing you a 2 bedroom property, and vice versa.  If you have a firm budget of $250,000, they shouldn’t be showing you properties over $300,000.
  1. Be professional.  This includes being professional in their dealings with you, with prospective sellers or buyers and with other agents.  Your real estate agent is an extension of you and should act accordingly.
  1. Do their research.  Whether you’re selling investment homes or buying them, your agent needs to do the legwork necessary to know appropriate pricing in the area in which the property is located.
  1. Be honest with you.  If you want to sell your investment home and its appearance is less than ideal, they should tell you.  Likewise, if you want to offer $125,000 on a property that clearly appraises for twice that, they should be upfront in letting you know the seller’s likely reaction.
  1. Always be prepared themselves—and help you to prepare, too.  This is their business, so your real estate agent should do everything in their power to reduce the possibility of surprises and delays.   That may mean having (or having access to) appropriate documents and information needed for the transaction on your investment homes, and it may also mean holding you accountable in getting your documents (and act) together, too.

In short, what your real estate agent should do is to make your buying or selling experience an excellent one.  Just like Kim.

How does your real estate agent measure up?  Twitter us about it at twitter.com\askpmi.

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