How To Select A Princeton Real Estate Agent – The Myths And The Truths

If you are considering selling or buying a home in the Princeton area, selecting a New Jersey real How to select a real estate agentestate agent that would be right for you is one of the most important tasks. This article discusses a few points to keep in mind.

Buying and selling a home is stressful -it  involves big changes in peoples lives, represents big financial stakes, and is often a very emotional process. The stress is more so now, given declining Princeton real estate and housing prices in some Princeton areas.

I bought and sold houses prior to becoming an a real estate agent. I know first hand how essential it is to select the right agent. When I switched careers to go into real estate, my goal was to provide the type of service I wanted when I was a buying and selling my own home.

Unfortunately, the task of selecting a Princeton area real estate agent is not easy and there are a lot of myths surrounding what is a “good agent”.

1. “The best agent is the one who has the most listings”.

The idea here is that the more listings the agent has the more experience they have. Some sellers also think that if so many others selected this agent, they must be good.
Granted, there may be competent agents with many listings. On the other hand there is only so much time in the day and the more the listing an agent has, the less time they could dedicate to each. They may have an assistant, but then you would be hiring an assistant, not the agent.

I limit the number of clients I have, so I could give each the attention and personal service they deserve and reduce their stress as much as possible.

2. “The best agent is the one who agrees to the highest price for the home.”

This one of the very dangerous misconceptions which could result in the exact opposite – a home taking a long time to sell, price reductions and more stress.

Real estate agents don’t set prices- the marketplace does. You should expect for the agent to understand the dynamics of the Princeton real estate market. How do you check for this understanding? Do it before you even meet the agent in person -look on the Internet for the articles and analysis the agent has written. Statistics could unfortunately be misleading and simply selecting reports from the MLS is not enough. To really understand what goes on in Princeton real estate, an agent needs to know and understand the history of individual transactions and be able to explain to you why sometimes similar properties sell for different prices.

3. “The best agent has been in the business for a long time”.

This could be true, but it may as well be false. Many agents have not changed the way they do business and do not understand the the mindset of the new generation of buyers. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Flickr – these are just some of the names used by forward looking companies and even candidates for political office. These new media channels offer new opportunities for real estate as well.

When interviewing real estate agent to sell your Princeton home, ask how they participate in social networks and how they would use them to sell your home.

4. “Alphabet Soup” Designations

The many letters abbreviations after the agents’ name indicate that they took a several hours course. I am all for continuing education ( and have enough degrees to prove it), but taking the course to get the designation would not make one an expert in anything.

5. The Final Test

The test for selecting a real estate agent is called the “BS” (not the Bachelor of Science) meter. I borrowed the “BS meter” expression from this TheStreet.com article (via my colleague and a great Phoenix agent -Jay Thompson ). We all have such meter, it’s just may not always turned on. “The one who promises the moon and the stars may not be able to deliver, but your B.S. meter could be turned off because you want to sell so badly.”

The article suggest “it’s really about personality and who you trust will work in your best interests”.  So, how could you decide who you could trust? Surely, you won’t find an agent who says they are not trustworthy. The BS meter is a good one to use in the agent selection. What does your gut tell you? Do you feel comfortable? Being comfortable with a person who will handle such an important event in you life, is a crucial factor not to be overlooked.

I have another suggestion about trust. Use the Internet.
 You could tell a lot from the agent’s Internet presence, especially if they have a blog. Anyone could make/buy a fancy web site, but a blog is different. It allows Princeton real estate buyers and sellers to learn about the agent well before meeting them in person. It is hard to fake the blog. You will get to know the the blog author and decide if they are the right agent for you. My clients say I am the same person “just like in the blog”.
Writing 4-6 articles for the Princeton Real Estate blog every week is not easy, but beneficial for my readers. It helped them not only learn everything about Princeton real estate, but also to decide if I am the right Princeton NJ real estate agent for them. It’s been great for me as well – all my clients are the best ones for me.