Let’s face it; there are many of us who’ve found it difficult to sell or buy a home through regular marketing, the internet, or other advertising channels without the help of a representative.
If it has never occurred to you why, here’s the obvious reason: When it comes to buying, selling, or managing real estate property, agents mostly have an edge over the average real estate investor. Their education and experience, knowledge of the market, networking circle, negotiation skills, ability to handle pressing tasks, pride, guidance, and knowledge, amongst other skills qualify them to handle such tasks with precision.
Does it matter who you choose between a part-time and full-time agent? Well, there’s no straight answer to this. At the end of the day, who you decide to have as an agent is a decision that shouldn’t be purely based on the part- vs full-time aspect.
However, knowing what to expect from each, plus the advantages and disadvantages each presents, is something you can’t afford to ignore when choosing an agent.
That’s what this article aims to delve into, in addition to other related information you may find helpful.
Dedication, Responsiveness & Personal Service
Part-time and full-time agents differ in many ways. However, if one can offer the best of these three aspects (i.e., dedication, responsiveness, and personal service), consider the agent an excellent choice. Later on, you’ll learn about other factors revolving around these three aspects that will assist you in deciding who to pick between these two types of agents.
One common question lots of investors pose to agents when vetting them is whether they work full-time. This arises out of the assumption that if an agent invests lots of hours into their work, it means they have a flexible schedule that lets them attend to the needs of everyone and they dedicate significant time to their assignments, among other things.
It’s good at look at it that way and, in fact, we can all agree that real estate work calls for consistent practice, knowledge-seeking, and training. It would be wise to assume that the agent who doesn’t seem to give the trade the time it requires probably won’t do well in those areas.
However, don’t fail to ignore the fact that more hours doesn’t always translate to better productivity or results. Simply setting aside plenty of hours to work doesn’t guarantee excellent performance.
That’s why you should focus on the following aspects. In the end, you will be in a better position to know which agent suits you well.
6 Things to Consider
1| Networking Factor
If an agent doesn’t interact a lot with other agents from the industry, which is often the case with part-time agents, chances are high they may not always make the right moves. Talking to a colleague or consulting them on a next move can help to add insight to an agent’s decisions and ensure they don’t commit avoidable mistakes. This is an advantage full-time agents have over part-timers.
2| Cooperation and Expertise
Agents, financial and marketing specialists, valuators, you name it, all play a specific role in ensuring the process of buying or selling a home is smooth and right. Such a team is what many part-time agents lack as the majority usually juggle multiple tasks or jobs and rarely have time to put together such a team.
3| Cost Factor
It costs less to hire a part-time agent as most work on fixed rates instead of commissions. So, if you are trying to cut down your expenditures, they could be a viable option.
4| Examine the Agent’s Track Record
Does the agent have a database comprising their past, current, and future clients? If they do, such data will help you analyze their performance, but more importantly, the presence of such a list means that they can easily reach out to potential buyers or sellers from their lists. Any agent, whether full-time or part-time, with an impressive past and a decent list of such clients is a great choice.
5| Commitment and Availability
The common myth linked to part-time agents is that they are often busy with other things. Well, in some cases, this has turned out to be true. Similarly, a good number of full-time real estate agents do have busy schedules and this often ends up affecting their level of commitment to the client.
However, the majority of full-timers commit to their work because that’s all they have to do to survive and stay ahead of the competition. Likewise, there are flexible part-timers who maximize the time set aside for real estate work and work just as hard or even harder than the full-time agent because of the limited they have to devote to the job yet still need to earn the money.
You may never know the availability of a part-time agent if the clients they are currently working with fit perfectly into their schedule. Make sure to vet them thoroughly, including full-time agents.
6| How Many Clients is the Agent Managing?
Part-time agents mostly work with a small number of clients compared to full-time agents. Admittedly, offering a high level of service to such fewer clients is a lot easier than when you have a higher number. If a full-time agent has a ton of clients and lacks a team to help in offsetting the tasks, avoid them.
It would be wise to conclude that your decision on which type of agent suits you best should be narrowed to the individual agent’s capabilities. While vetting them, ask questions that touch on the factors we’ve mentioned. Rest assured, the responses will help you choose a suitable agent for your real estate business.
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Sabine Ghali is director at Buttonwood Property Management, a property management company in Toronto. She is an entrepreneur at heart who endeavors to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Sun and Gulf News, among many others.