Referral business has been most of my work over the years. An agent has to work hard at providing an optimal service all the time to consistently have their clients refer them to friends and family. Though just because a real estate agent is referred to you, does that mean you should just go with them?
As powerful as a referral from a trusted person is, you should always cover your bases. The first thing you you need to know is what the referral is based on. For instance, I missed a listing a while back, this was a strange one, as I had received a phone call from the owner telling me that we got the job, then after going AWOL for a few days, he went on to explain that he signed with another agent based on a referral from a friend.
They had said that the agent had sold their friends property within weeks after listing, which was great because the property had been on the market for a long time with another agent. Now this sounds great to anybody who doesn’t know the business, but if you were to research the days on market for properties that move from one agent to another, they generally sell with a couple of weeks because the first agent had done all the work to bring the expectation of the owner down and the second agent plays hero as they swoop in and sell the property at the lowered expectation. If they would have researched the said agent’s first to market listings, they would have found that he generally has a reputation of providing inflated appraisals to owners buying their listings and his days on market were over four months on market. Just over nine months after they listed their property, they sold it far lower than it should of, but unfortunately the strategy they went with kept their property on the market until it staled and they left themselves open to bargain basement buyers.
What you want to find out from the person referring is from start to end, what was the overall experience with the agent. What sort of service they provided, how much did they communicate and what sort of information did they pass on throughout the campaign, what strategies did they implement to assure the best price and what was the end result and how did it come about.
When you are interviewing the agent, try to remember to bring them through the same sequence of questions you asked your source. If by the end of the interview you feel the agent has covered off all the important factors of your sale and the sale of your referrer, then you can probably cut the hunt short and go with them. If you still feel you need to speak to more agents, then do so. Always remember that you are selling an asset of such large magnitude, that the outcome of the sale with change the course of your life. That’s why who you choose to sell it, really does matter.
The following advice is of a general nature and intended as an opinion and broad guide. For all legal, financial or real estate advice you should obtain independent professional advice to do with the specific nature of your circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.