How to Use Zillow to See if You Have a Good Agent
When you are trying to buy/sell a house, choosing the right agent is a critical part of the process. Every agent will put a sign in your yard, and many will go through the motions of holding an open house, but is that really all you want from your agent?
Sometimes, it is hard to judge the quality of an agent without having personal experience with him/her. But there are a variety of ways to check agents out before deciding to hire them.
One good way, is through Zillow Agent. If your agent has a Zillow Profile, it can tell you a lot about their experience and effectiveness. Here are methods on how to use Zillow to see if you have a good agent.
Look for Quality User Reviews
User reviews are one of the main things to look at when you are using Zillow to try to see if you have a good agent. Here are a few specific things to look for in a Zillow Agent Profile.
Is Your Agent a Star?
The easiest and first thing to do, is to check the overall star rating of your agent. Anita Clark, the agent we will be using throughout this article as an example (she has a great agent profile), has nearly 5 stars with 24 reviews.
You are looking for both quantity and quality of reviews. A High star rating with 10 or more user reviews is good, a high star rating with 20 or more user reviews is great, and a high star rating with 50 or more user reviews is top of the line.
Does Your Agent Have Negotiation Skills?
Reading through user reviews can also reveal specific skills that your agent has. As you can see in one of Anita’s reviews above, one of her clients mentions specifically how her skills at negotiating a deal saved them a pile of money. Several other clients mention here negotiating skills as well.
Looking at her other reviews, there are other words that show up in multiple reviews, like “responsive,” “sold quick,” “upbeat,” “knowledgeable,” “listened,” etc. When a reviewer takes time to identify specific traits about a Realtor, it means that they had a good enough experience that they are willing to take the time to write a specific review, which tells you something. That’s what you are looking for.
Look At Your Agent’s Past Sales
Regardless of whether you are a buyer or a seller, you want an agent that has a track record of moving houses. If you are a buyer, this means you will have a lot of selection, because your agent is wheeling and dealing with a lot of properties.
If you are a seller, it ups the odds that your agent will sell your house quickly and efficiently. Checking out your agent’s sale’s history on Zillow can tell you a variety of things about your agent. Check out the specifics below.
Is Your Agent a Newbie or a Veteran?
The first thing to check in the past sales section, is your agent’s total number of sales. You want an agent with lots of experience. The higher overall count of houses sold, the higher the odds are that your agent knows what he/she is doing. Anita has sold 128 overall. Clearly she has seen a house or two in her day and knows what she is doing.
Has Your Agent Been Killing It in the Last Year?
The total number of houses an agent has sold is great. But, you also want to be sure your agent is still performing well. You can do this by looking at Zillow’s Recent Sales count, which is right at the top under your agent’s star rating.
As you can see in Anita’s profile, she has been very prolific in the last year, selling 50 houses. That’s a testament to energy, drive, and hard work.
Is Your Agent Quick on the Draw?
One thing that is always on a seller’s mind, is how quickly can my agent sell my house? Although determining an exact time-frame is impossible, you can use Zillow to get a general idea of how long your house might take to sell, based on your agent’s past sales. But, it takes a little more work.
Zillow does not just spell it out for you. You have to dig. Go to your agent’s past sales section and click on a listing. Next, scroll down until you see the Price History Section (see image below).
Some listings might not have all the steps and dates listed, so you might have to go through several listings before you find some helpful ones. But, once you do, you can see how quickly the house sold.
In this case, Anita sold the house in a month. I looked at a variety of her listings, and she generally sold within 2-4 months, which is a decent. If you are checking your agent’s sold listings and there are quite a few houses that have taken more than 7-8 months to sell, you might want to re-evaluate your choice.
Look for Little Profile Details that Set an Agent Apart
If you have a trained eye, there are little clues on Zillow’s agent profiles that can clue you in on other important info about your agent. Here are some of the things to look for.
Is Your Agent an Online Marketing Whiz?
In a real-estate world that is increasingly more tech-based, you want an agent that is tech-savvy and able to market their listings online. That’s why it is important to look at their Zillow profile and see what marketing avenues they are utilizing.
In Anita’s case, she has all the major social media avenues covered and linked-to in her profile, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. She also has a link to her professional website and blog, which has some great content. Down further in her profile, she also has a link to her YouTube video feed. No wonder she has sold 50 properties in the last year, she is utilizing all the major digital marketing avenues available to her.
Does Your Agent Have any Bling?
To the right of your agent’s name, there should be a little box that tells what kind of agent they are and if they have any Zillow Badges. Anita has the Zillow All-star badge, which just means that she has contributed content to Zillow.
In reality, the badges themselves are really not that big of a deal. But they are important because they show that your agent is taking steps to be involved in the real-estate community and take time to answer people’s questions, both qualities that you want in your agent.
Is Zillow the Best Tool to Check Your Agents Caliber?
In all reality, your agent’s Zillow profile should not be the be-all-end-all measurement of whether your agent is a “good” one or not. Meet with them. Tour some houses/talk about your house you are selling. Get some personal experience.
However, what Zillow can do, is tell you a lot about an agent and be a solid tool to help you figure out whether an agent is a good fit for you. Is a Zillow Premier Agent right for you? You do not know until you have done your homework!
More Resources on the Pros and Cons of using Zillow
Why Zillow Zestimates Are Not Accurate via List.ly
How Agent Reviews Assist Zillow from inman.com
What Realtors Do For Buyers That Zillow Cannot by Tina Israelson
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