With all the glamour and buzz around the Hawaii real estate industry these days, it’s no wonder that more people are getting their real estate license. With one of the most expensive markets in the country, many eyes are on our island home. For home buyers and home sellers, having more agents to choose from can either increase competition for your services or lower the standard of the profession via dilution. After all, no matter how many licensed realtors there are out there, at the end of the day you still just want ONE that can serve your real estate needs.
For Home Sellers
Firstly, you need to decide if using an agent at all is what’s best for you. If you’re looking for a fast cash sale, then it may be in your best interest to speak to a direct home buyer. If you don’t have any special need to sell quickly or are willing to test the market, then it’s time to choose an agent.
Here are some of the criteria that you’ll want to look for when choosing an agent to sell your home:
- License — By all means, verify they hold a current real estate salesperson or broker license.
- Experience — You may not want this to be their first rodeo. Be careful that too much experience doesn’t lead to complacence, but you want someone who has enough experience here in Hawaii to know how to properly market your home, handle negotiations and process the appropriate paperwork.
- Plan — Ask about their marketing plan. Any agent can stick a property on the MLS and wait for the phone to ring. That’s not a plan. You want a plan.
- Communication — You’re not hiring a servant, but your agent or broker should be relatively reachable if you have specific questions or just want an update. Remember that you’re likely not be their only client or listing, but this is a relationship that they should value and respect.
- Personable — You may be spending a lot of time with this person, so be sure it’s someone with whom you’ll get along.
- Affordable — While there may be industry standards for agent costs in selling your home, don’t assume these are set in stone. Everything is negotiable. There are also flat-fee brokers that may help reduce your costs. Just be sure you understand what level of service you’re getting.
For Home Buyers
Many people make the mistake of thinking that being a realtor means he or she is equally capable of representing both home buyers and home sellers. This is simply not true — they are different skill sets, even though it’s the same industry. Here’s what you want from an agent to help you find a house:
- Licensed — Of course, this one’s still here. Don’t forget about it.
- Experience — You likely have a few neighborhoods picked out, so be sure to find someone who’s familiar with it. Hawaii Kai is not Kapolei — choose an agent who knows your desired area.
- Negotiation — While the Hawaii market is showing tight inventory right now, don’t think that you can’t negotiate. A quality real estate agent will know how, when and what your offer should be.
- Speed — You’re not the only one looking to buy a house in Hawaii right now. Your agent should be able to help you analyze and put together a strong offer quickly.
There have been a lot of new real estate agents getting their license these past few years. It can be a great career for the right person, but many are surprised by the amount of work and effort required. You want to find the one who “gets it” and is ready to take on the challenge of helping you buy or sell your Hawaii home.
Where to Find a Good Hawaii Real Estate Agent
Here are a few ideas for helping you select a good agent to fit your needs:
- Referrals — Real estate is no different from other industries in this regard. Referrals from people you respect can be very valuable. Make sure these referrals are from people who’ve actually used the realtor’s services here in Hawaii, not just from people who are friends.
- Hawaii Board of Realtors — check out the HBR website here.
- Social Media — Use a good level of scrutiny, but don’t be afraid to look for realtor pages on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Open Houses — Is there an open house for a home in your target area? Why not stop by the open house and meet the agent? It doesn’t mean that they’ll be the right match for you, but at least it’s a start.
Remember, a great Hawaii real estate agent can provide a ton of value for your specific real estate needs. Again, if you wish to sell your house fast for cash, an actual home buyer may be your best bet. If you are looking to test the market and put it out there for the public, then a good agent is what you need.
We hope this article is helpful for you!