Whether you are buying a house or selling land, it is one of the biggest things you will ever do in your lifetime. Therefore, you need to hire the right real estate agent. You may ask, “How do I do that?” Here are some things to look for or consider when making that selection.

  • Trustworthy: First and foremost, you need to feel completely comfortable talking with your real estate agent. Choose someone you can relate to because you will be spending a lot of time with them. Make sure they feel real to you and most importantly, trustworthy. You want someone who is experienced, ignore all the flattery and promises. Finding a trustworthy agent can go a long way in ensuring your property sells at top dollar or that you’re buying at the best price in the market. Don’t go with an agent who promises you the highest price for your property, find one that has a proven track record of success and the skills needed to get you the highest price. Don’t ever be afraid to ask agents for testimonials or referrals from their past clients to make sure they check out.
  • Expertise: People use the terms REALTOR® and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not the same. Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and subscribe to the REALTORS® Code of Ethics. This Code is strictly enforced by local real estate boards. The standards that they uphold and adhere to are much more restrictive and confining to conduct than those state guidelines governing agents who simply hold a real estate license.

Take it a step further and choose a REALTOR® who is a member of the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) as they are experienced professionals that specialize in land transactions. If you want the best of the best in the land real estate business then you need to choose an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC). They aren’t just land sales professionals, they are the most prestigious, experienced and highest performing land sales experts in the country. They have a proven track record of success in completing land transactions and are certified to have completed over 104 hours of education courses in conducting land transactions.

  • Connections: Having a good network of other agents in the industry can help sell a property faster. They can also help provide their clients additional value because they may know an expert in everything from conducting 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges to conservation easements. If they are not exactly sure about something, they have a national network of land agents they can easily reach out and connect with to help make sure their clients are getting the best value out of their property.

  • Tech SavvyTechnology advancements in the industry have provided more tools for real estate agents to remain connected while on the go, which is especially important in fast-paced market places. At the same time, these changes have also raised the bar for what it means to be a good agent. It’s no longer about possession of information, but about being able to translate that information into useful insights for buyers and sellers.

Looking back 15 years ago, the real estate market was a different animal, information-wise. It could take hours trying to find old documents and records that were buried in folders. It put buyers in a much different place than they are today. Not only do you get answers to simple questions much faster, but you can also get any document sent to your email without leaving the comforts of your home. With today’s technology, you can access detailed property records right from your smartphone. There is more transparency for consumers, making them feel empowered during a real estate transaction.

Technology enables agents to deliver more value through new and innovative ways to connect and communicate with their clients. Having software, along with apps and tools at their disposal gives them an edge in today’s market. These tools take the “grunt work” off the agent’s plate so they can spend more time building relationships with their clients.

Make sure to also take a close look at how the agent is marketing other properties and ask how they plan to market your property. Are they using a website, social media, and digital ads? Do they have brochures or information packets available? Is there an MLS listing? Drone footage? Property maps? Is there signage clean and up to date? Using the latest technologies to market a property can help decrease days on market and increase the final sale price.

Finding the right agent takes balancing credentials and interaction. You want to choose someone you like. Keep in mind, not all real estate licensees are qualified to assist you in buying or selling land. Their license may make it permissible to practice, but their inexperience in land transactions could be costing you thousands of dollars and potentially getting you or themselves into legal trouble. Do your research, ask for referrals, talk with the agents’ recent clients, and do some interviews before choosing the best agent for your particular real estate needs. Don’t forget to check for license and disciplinary actions with your state’s Real Estate Commission. All agents are not all created equal. If it feels right after doing your research, vetting against the above considerations, and meeting with them, then they just might be the guy or gal for the job!

Looking for a land professional in your area? Use the REALTORS® Land Institute Find A Land Consultant search tool to find an agent in your area that specializes in conducting land transactions.

This post is part of the 2019 Future Leaders Committee content generation initiative. The initiative is directed at further establishing RLI as “The Voice of Land” in the land real estate industry for land professionals and landowners. For more posts like this, click here

About the Author: Wendy Forthun, ALC, is an Accredited Land Consultant with 1 Stop Realty Inc in Kasson MN. She specializes in farmland sales, management and 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges.