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How To Determine An Agent's Integrity Posted On :Nov 01-2011

“How can I tell if an agent is honest, sincere, and most appropriate?”

-A long-time Santa Monica homeowner

That is a great question! I think you must meet in person with at least 2 real estate agents to answer that one. The qualities you seek cannot readily be determined by talking on the phone, and an experienced agent will be the most appropriate in almost every case. If you are not comfortable with the rapport with either agent, then take the time to meet with a third one.

An honest and sincere agent is one who is fair in dealing with you and all others. He or she would not even think of trying to trick you or manipulate you into an action or decision that is not truly in your best interest. Neither would he or she suggest or agree to withhold any information about your property that could significantly affect a buyer’s perception of its value or suitability to them.  The agent’s intention would be to accurately portray your home’s features and benefits, and to avoid making false statements or implications designed to mislead you or a prospective buyer.

One indication of an honest and sincere intent is if the agent asks you a lot of questions, rather than trying to convince you that they are the best one for the job. If this agent demonstrates a genuine interest in what actions and results might truly be in your best interest, instead of attempting to persuade you to list your home with him, that would surely indicate a high probability of the character you are seeking.

It may be easy to determine which of the 2 or 3 agents would be the most appropriate for you simply by how you feel with him or her. If you are comfortable with their manner of presentation, if they seem to be able to fit your style of communication and processing of ideas, then they may well be the most suitable for you to work with. Watch your feeling-response to them. Does it feel like they care, or do you get the feeling that they just know a lot? Trust your instincts. Do your feelings tell you they are sincerely interested in you?

Do you prefer to get right to the point, or is your style more of a gradual approach to issues? Are you accustomed to a more general overview of subjects, or must you have a more detailed analysis before making important decisions? Is your inclination to put a high degree of trust in professionals you engage, or do you feel more comfortable retaining most of the control in arriving at conclusions.

Would you prefer working with an agent who tries to do everything themselves, or do you think you would be better served by an agent who has the support of an assistant or team of specialists? Would it matter to you whether your agent was highly skilled in computer technology? Do you place a high value on wide-ranging marketing and advertising activities, or would you be satisfied with a less active and narrower exposure of your listing?

Is it important for your agent to be available to answer questions or show your home nearly every day? Would it make any difference to you if he or she asks you to occasionally do a showing or be home for an inspection or appraisal? Would it matter to you if your agent gives you feedback from all of the showings and periodic updates on market activities, or do you prefer not to be bothered with any details until there is an offer?

With over 300 real estate agents serving Santa Monica, including many from other nearby areas, I am certain that you will be able to identify one that you feel is honest, sincere, and an appropriate fit for you. If you would like to have more guidelines for selecting an agent, please let me know. We have a booklet that also includes 20 questions to help objectively compare the qualifications of different agents you may be considering.

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