When you’re selling a unique and valuable property, the importance of using a top-ranked agent can’t be overstated.
In any given area, the top 10% of agents sell 90% of the homes, and it’s this elite group that you want to deal with.
But here’s the thing: most agents will say they’re top ranked.
That’s why it’s crucial to get hard proof from them that backs up their claims. After all, it’s likely that your property is the most valuable thing you own, so it’s worth taking the time to be absolutely certain about who you’re dealing with.
Why Hire A Top-Ranked Agent?
In reality, everyone benefits by using a top-ranked agent. But for anyone looking to buy or sell unique, luxury homes or commercial properties, the stakes are even higher.
Essentially, there’s added importance not to settle for average. So, what specific advantages can a top-ranked agent offer?
If you’re a seller, a well-connected agent will be able to target the most motivated, qualified buyers. Instead of dealing with a potentially endless queue of tire kickers, you’ll be showing your property to a select group of individuals with the desire and the means to purchase.
If you’re a buyer, a top-ranked agent can show you properties that aren’t on the MLS, giving you privileged access to the most unique and luxurious homes the general public does not know about.
Ultimately, the reason 10% of agents do 90% of the business in an area comes down to a combination of unique skills, insider information and invaluable contacts.
With that in mind, here’s how to find the best real estate agents in your city.
Ensure Their Numbers Support Their Claims
As already mentioned, plenty of agents will sell themselves to you as “top-ranked.”
But don’t be taken in by a convincing sales pitch (that’s their job, after all). What you want to see is clear evidence that supports any claims. Asking an agent to supply you with in-house brokerage numbers is a great idea. But it’s even more useful to have an independent third-party verify those numbers.
For example, Top Agent Network verifies that every agent listed in its member directory is ranked within the top 10% of his or her local market. This is based on their closed-home sales over the past 24 months.
Ensure They Are Knowledgeable
Once credentials have been established, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Just how knowledgeable is the agent you’re dealing with?
If they’re providing you with the kind of information you could easily find yourself, you might want to question what added value they’re bringing to the table.
A top-ranked agent will give you insider advice and access to listings you can’t simply dig up on the MLS. They’ll be able to find the kind of properties other agents can’t.
They’ll also be on top of the latest industry trends and have an in-depth overview of what’s happening in the local marketplace.
Ask What Sets Them Apart From Other Agents
Real agents are competitive by nature, so getting them to tell you what sets them apart from other agents is something they should relish.
Start by asking them what they can do that other agents can’t, but push for specifics. Don’t be taken in by a slickly delivered sales pitch that’s actually lacking in substance and detail.
Going through this process is a great way of getting an idea of what makes your potential agent so special, while also seeing their sales skills in action.
So what kind of skills can you expect to hear about?
A top-ranked agent might have expertise in a particular market or type of home. Perhaps they have a way of closing deals that gets results, a specialized list of connections or access to exclusive listings. Maybe their impressive sales figures speak volumes alone.
In the end, you’re looking for something unique: a distinguishing attribute that goes beyond the basic skills you might expect to hear.
There’s also something to be said here for trusting your instincts. If you haven’t been sold by an agent’s overall pitch, you have to question if they’re the right person to sell your home.
Do Your Homework Before Hiring
So your potential agent is looking good. They’ve proven their credentials, demonstrated their expertise and defined why they’re different from their competitors.
Next step? It’s time to see how they’d go about selling your home.
Request examples of properties they’ve dealt with that are similar to yours. You want clear evidence here that they know how to handle a unique, one-of-a-kind home.
It’s also worth asking what kind of marketing materials or tools they rely on. A top-ranked agent can draw upon a wealth of resources to showcase a property to its best, from producing virtual tours and video content to creating customized web pages.
But don’t stop there.
Even if you’re impressed by what you see and hear, it’s worth seeking out 2-3 independent references for extra peace of mind.
Watch Out For These Red Flags
Throughout the process of finding a real estate agent, there are certain red flags to watch out for.
Bear in mind the following regarding your potential choice:
- They work part-time: As a buyer, an agent should bring you the latest properties as soon as they’re available. As a seller, they need to be on hand to show your property to prospective buyers – sometimes at the drop of a hat. An agent working part-time makes both of these things tough.
- They rarely work with properties in your price range: While plenty of agents have a range of specialities, pick one with plenty of experience in your kind of property. Selling a luxury $10 million townhouse naturally requires a different approach to selling a one-bedroom condo.
- The agent is not familiar with your local market: Prices can fluctuate massively from one block to the next – something an agent with local knowledge will be aware of. They’ll also know what properties are being sold for nearby, which helps you gauge a good deal from a bad one.
- Their commission is suspiciously low: Most real estate commission fees fall between 5% -7%, and this fee is divided between the buying and selling agent. Choosing an agent with a lower commission rate might sound tempting, but it can actually result in fewer showings from other agents.
Looking for these kind of red flags will ultimately help you determine whether an agent truly is top-ranking.
When you’re looking to buy or sell an expensive or unique property, understanding how to find the best real estate agent becomes particularly crucial.
As a buyer, you get exclusive access to the kind of properties most people don’t know about. As a seller, you get to deal with serious, qualified buyers with the intent and the means to make a purchase.
The methods of choosing a top-ranking agent are effectively the same: ask lots of questions to determine credentials and get clear evidence that back up every claim. In the end, a top-ranked agent will not just say they’re top-ranked, they’ll be able to prove it.
Need help finding the best real estate agents in your city?
Take a look at our list of verified top agents from across the U.S. Every person listed is a Top Agent Network member, which means their past 24-month closed home sales put them in the top 10% of their local market.