The Consumer’s Guide to Hiring an Amazing Real Estate Agent


When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s crucial to work with a qualified real estate agent. Not just a professional, but an amazing agent and a market expert. So how do you ensure you’re hiring an amazing real estate agent?

There are currently more than two million real estate professionals in North America.1,2 With so many options to choose from, how does a prospective home buyer or seller choose the right agent or broker? According to the National Association of Realtors®, trust and reputation are the top deciding factors consumers use when hiring an agent.3

But how do you measure trust and reputation … and what criteria can be used to help you make your decision?

In this guide, we’ve outlined the top attributes that amazing agents possess, as well as the questions you can ask to make sure you’re working with the right market expert to achieve your real estate goals.


As we mentioned above, not all real estate professionals are the same. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and information about working with real estate professionals to buy or sell your home. In fact, many real estate markets are oversaturated with agents.

To help you understand what makes top agents and market experts stand apart from the competition, following are five key attributes of an amazing agent:


  1. A Pricing Specialist

If an agent has their real estate license, they know the basics of the transaction process. They know what goes into buying and selling a home. However, there’s a difference between knowing the process and navigating it for an ideal result. This ideal result often means buying or selling a home for the best price.

For buyers, amazing agents have a strong understanding of market trends, competition, and how to make your offer attractive to sellers. They can help you identify and secure a deal to ensure you get the home you want, within your desired budget.

If you’re selling a home, market experts have experience pricing homes optimally for the market, and creating pricing plans to minimize the time spent selling the home. This will help you sell for your desired price, and avoid costs like additional mortgage and utility payments.

Takeaway: Whether buying or selling a home, pricing can be tricky. Market experts can help navigate best-possible pricing strategies, and also secure the home you want within your budget.
  1. An Effective Time Manager

It’s common to underestimate the amount of time it takes to buy or sell your home. The average real estate agent may not be utilizing the latest tools and technology to make the transaction easier and more cost effective for their clients. Market experts have tools and strategies at their disposal to minimize the amount of time you spend on the process.

For sellers, market experts can make sure you only deal with qualified buyers, not the “window shoppers” who can waste your time. We also utilize the latest marketing practices to advertise and price your home effectively, ensuring it gets sold quickly.

When looking to buy a home, inexperienced agents may waste your time by showing you homes that are not a good fit for you. A market expert knows how to prioritize your needs and wants to find you the ideal home within your budget. They also know how to spot “red flags” and can steer you away from homes that are likely to turn up major issues in a real estate inspection, saving you time and money.

In addition, well-networked Realtors can gain access to the hottest listings before many websites do. Their extensive professional networks can help identify “pre-list” homes before they’re officially on the market. This can be invaluable in a highly-competitive real estate market.

Takeaway: Even a well-intentioned agent may not have the skills, tools or technology to make the experience easy for you. There are lots of hidden activities that may take up unexpected time, and a market expert will save you time and energy.

  1. A Market Insider

While most agents can pull market stats about a neighborhood, community or city, they may not understand important trends or developments that would affect your transaction. These can include the state of the school district, issues with a homeowner association, new businesses in the area, zoning rules or trends in home prices.

Market experts live and breathe local real estate and know the trigger points for buying and selling in this market. We also stay current on effective marketing and negotiation practices, resulting in our track record of success.

For sellers, we understand what features of your home and neighborhood are assets in the selling process. And for buyers, we share a deep understanding of market factors, including school and neighborhood quality, crime statistics, speed of sales and more.

Takeaway: Getting relevant and specific market knowledge can be difficult and time consuming, which is why many real estate agents don’t have it. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, an experienced real estate agent is often the best source of information about a city, neighborhood, or even street … we’re literally conducting market research every day.


  1. A Strong Negotiator

Amazing agents truly set themselves apart in their ability to negotiate. Unfortunately, a large portion of agents don’t commit their full time to increasing this key skill.

Real estate negotiations can be challenging, even for seasoned professionals. It takes skill, experience and a knowledge of how to fight for your client’s best interests. While any agent can enter negotiations to buy or sell a home, they may not know the effective strategies to exit those negotiations with the result you want.

Experienced Realtors focus on negotiation as a key skill. We understand what to do before entering negotiations (establishing the upper hand to set up the best outcome), as well as during the process (when to offer or accept concessions).

Takeaway: Many agents can feel the stress of the negotiation process, and may agree to terms of the buyer/seller. Working with a market expert will help ensure you get the best deal, not just the fastest deal.


  1. An Effective Closer

Closing a deal fast is often a good thing. For buyers, it means you found the home you wanted quickly. For sellers, it often means you can avoid the added expenses of mortgage and utility payments, and maximize the value of your home sale.

However, an agent solely focused on speed can make decisions that aren’t in your best interests. Top real estate professionals know how to not only achieve your real estate goals quickly, but in the right way to avoid potential pitfalls.

Just like negotiations, the paperwork and process of closing a real estate transaction are complicated. And they can be overwhelming for the average agent who hasn’t handled a lot of transactions. Sales contracts, property disclosures, occupancy agreements and even lead paint records need to be executed with precision. Your agent not only needs to be familiar with these, but also stay current on any changes in requirements or regulations.

Market experts have a strong understanding of real estate contracts, timelines, clauses and contingencies within the closing process. In fact, avoiding pitfalls during the closing process is where many sellers find an experienced Realtor is a huge asset.

Takeaway: Many agents don’t have a firm understanding of contracts. Because a real estate transaction often involves a significant investment, even a small mistake can mean serious trouble. With that in mind, it’s often best, and most responsible, to work with a true market expert.



So how do you know if you’re working with an amazing agent?

The first step would be to “shop around.” Many people work with the first agent they come across without a firm understanding of their level of experience. It’s always a good idea to interview a number of agents before selecting one. If you’ve gotten referrals from people you trust, then you may only need to interview 2-3 agents.

However, it can be tough to know what to ask in the interview process. Here are some questions that can help you qualify the best agent to help you achieve your real estate goals:


  1. Can you send me some information about yourself?

Look for professionalism and consistency. What are their professional accomplishments? Also, try to identify how they approach their work. Look for a business person who has a strategy and solid support system. If they’re a newer agent, ask about their team’s dynamic and accomplishments.

  1. How long have you been in real estate?

The average Realtor has 10 years of experience4. But while longevity is important, even more telling are the number of transactions they have closed or been involved in. So feel free to also ask: “How many homes have you sold in this area?”


  1. What will you do to keep me informed?

Do you want daily or weekly reports from your agent? Will the agent be able to meet these expectations? Determine how much communication you want, and then find an agent who will give you the attention and time you want and deserve.


  1. Can you provide me with further resources I may need?

From market reports and pricing trends to school performance and crime statistics, top agents have resources at their disposal. In addition, market experts have built strong relationships with their extended team of professionals, and can often get expedient service or be able to “cash in a favor” for you should a need arise.


  1. Seller only: Can you share with me your plan to market my property? Many agents will simply put your home in the MLS and wait for it to sell. An amazing agent should have a detailed plan of how to get your home exposure on social media, to their local networks, and more.


Now that you’re armed with the 5 Attributes of Amazing Agents and the Top Questions to ensure you work with the best possible real estate agent, you’re ready to start interviewing agents.

We’d love an opportunity to win your business. Schedule a free consultation with us to find out how true market experts can help you achieve your real estate goals!



  1. National Association of REALTORS –
  2. Financial Post –
  3. National Association of REALTORS –

  1. National Association of REALTORS –

NextHome Valleywide Market Update October 2017

Phoenix Market Update courtesy of Craig and Stacey Akers at NextHome Valleywide.  Contact 480-621-6828 or for a Seller Solution book that will give you selling tips, pricing, and comparable home sales in your area.

Third Quarter MLS Sales Up Only 2% Over 2016

High End MLS Sales Over $600K Up 27%


Market For Buyers:

The median home size sold through the MLS this year is 1,774 square feet. Interestingly, this measure hasn’t fluctuated more than a couple square feet up or down since 2015. Considering the increasing cost per square foot, the fact that the median sized home sold hasn’t fluctuated much means that buyers are willing to pay more for the right sized home if they have the choice. For buyers with less flexibility on price, the cost of waiting comes in the form of sacrificing extra closet space, work space, or even a bedroom. Last year, the median home size for buyers in the $150K- $175K price range was 1,470sf. This year it’s only 1,380sf, a difference of 90 square feet.

Market For Sellers:

The first half of 2017 was more exciting than the second half is turning out to be so far for MLS sales. 1st Quarter 2017 MLS sales outperformed 2016 by 14% and 2nd Quarter sales were up 7%, so a 2% growth rate for the 3rd Quarter puts a damper on our excitement. Low supply in the lower price ranges is mostly to blame as it’s difficult to have record sales growth if there are fewer people willing to sell their home. There are more people willing to put their home on the market in the higher price ranges however. New listings over $600K were up nearly 10% in the 3rd Quarter and sales were up an impressive 27%.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, search for homes at, where you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more. Visit our blog at NextHome Valleywide for a monthly Phoenix Market Update.

Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Real Estate Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2017 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

5 Mistakes That Will Turn a Home Buyer Away

mistakes home seller
Don’t do these 5 things when selling your home.

If you’re preparing to sell your home you’ve likely heard many tips and tricks to help close quickly, however few people will ever tell you what you’re doing wrong with your overall home presentation.  Don’t be your own roadblock to success!  Avoid these common seller mistakes to ensure that your home leaves a lasting impression on buyers, instead of sending them running for the hills.

1) Dirt: It’s A Don’t

Perhaps one of the biggest turn-offs in real estate, dirt gives the impression that your property is not well maintained. A dirty home is simply not aesthetically appealing and can often be the root cause of other turn-offs, such as bad odors. Keeping a clean, clutter ­free home will show potential buyers that your property is a beautiful, healthy place where they can live comfortably without any foul surprises.

2) It’s Nothing Personal

While you may love looking at family photos, funky trinkets from travelling, or your colorful assortment of bath products, personal items such as these should be stored away during an open house. Showings are for buyers to see if they can see themselves living in your home, which is difficult to imagine when there are someone else’s belongings scattered throughout the house. If you’re serious about selling, pack away any items that send the message that this is your space.

3) Old News

Most often when people are looking for a new home they’re looking for just that: a NEW home!  Having old, dated fixtures in your house tells prospective buyers that your property is stuck in the past, rather than prepared for the future. Make your property a place that anyone can move forward in.

4) Street Style

You may have spent so much time and effort making the inside of your home immaculate for a sale that you’ve completely forgotten that the outside is equally as important. Curb appeal is the very first impression that your home will have on buyers, and it’s essential that your property looks just as nice from the street as it does inside.

5) Snoopy Seller

You know your home better than anyone else, and you want to sell it to someone who genuinely cares about your property. While this statement may be true, it is counterproductive for you to participate in showings, pointing out all the great features of your home to interested buyers and grilling them on their intentions for when they purchase it. Give buyers space they need to see if your home is the right fit for them, and you’ll be selling it in no time.

If you’re currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.

How to Differentiate Your Home (from the Neighbors) for a Faster Sale

3 Ways to Differentiate your Home and Sell Quicker!
3 Ways to Differentiate your Home and Sell Quicker!

When it comes to selling your home, there are a lot of options on the market, and nothing is quite so competitive as having your house listed right alongside the home of your neighbor. If you’re struggling with how to highlight or differentiate your home and make it more appealing to potential home buyers, here are three things you can do to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.

Engage All The Marketing Options

First and foremost, make sure you hire a real estate agent with a proven sales track record.  This agent should have extensive knowledge of the area and should be willing to go above and beyond the typical measures to get potential home buyers interested in your home.  While full color flyers are nice, your agent should also utilize social media, blogs, and online community groups as a resource for getting the word out.  Another method is creating a Facebook page or website for your home that will highlight your home features and show off those professional photos.

Real estate franchise NextHome Inc. has taken it a step further and has implemented sign “riders” which enable drive-by buyers the ability to send a text (to a specific property number) and receive back detailed information and photos about your listing on their mobile device.

Emphasize The Special Details

You may not think that the small things matter when it comes to selling your home, but the little details add up and they can actually make your home quite memorable to someone who’s seen a lot of open houses. Whether you’ve installed them or they were there already, your house probably has a special feature like brightly cultured kitchen tiles or an interesting light fixture; just ensure it’s effectively displayed and your home will stand out from the pack!

Clean Up The Curb

It’s possible that you have a stunning panoramic shot of your home from the outside, but if your house looks nothing like this when potential home buyers arrive they’ll immediately be reconsidering the visit. Instead of leaving this to chance, make sure that you’ve done any minor repairs to the exterior of the house, cleaned up the lawn and organized everything so nothing looks messy or disheveled from the street. Your exterior will provide the initial impression, and nothing will make your home stand out from your neighbors like an immaculate facade.

It can be a struggle to know how to best display your house so it stands out, but by organizing the exterior and highlighting your home’s special features, you may be on your way to an ideal offer. If you’re currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.

Selling in 2016?  Hire the Right Real Estate Agent

Hire the Right Real Estate Agent at NextHome Valleywide
Hire the Right Real Estate Agent at NextHome Valleywide

Whether you’re familiar with the Arizona market or you’ve never sold a home before, an effective real estate agent can be exactly the thing you need to make for a positive market experience. With the world of real estate in a constant state of flux, here are a few reasons why the right agent can successfully guide you through the muddled waters of the market.

A Skill For Communication

In the case that the real estate market makes you nervous, it’s particularly important to have the kind of agent who will keep you in the loop and give you the information you need to make an informed selling decision. An agent with the powers of communication will be able to give you honest advice when it’s required, like if it’s time to lower the price of your house, so that you can have success in achieving the offer you’re looking for.

A Willingness To Work Hard

There are many agents out there who won’t be willing to put in additional effort for a client, but the kind of agent you’ll want to choose should be someone who is a go­-getter and will chase potential business for you. Instead of waiting around, an ideal agent should be following up with potential buyers and ensuring that they’re chasing any leads that may guarantee the purchase of your home. If you have to ask them to be proactive, they’re probably not the right person for the job.

A Throng Of Client References

A real estate agent that is worth their salt should not hesitate to provide you with client references so you can make an informed, educated decision. Instead of asking for their personal references, though, request the names of their last ten clients as this should give you a pretty good grasp of that their capacities as an agent are, and how they will serve you. If they are indifferent about providing references, you’ll want to move on to your next potential agent.

The real estate market is rife with a lot of things to know and it can be complicated to jump into the tides, but the right agent can actually make the process of selling your home a lot less stressful. If you’re currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.