When searching for the best real estate agent, it's crucial to find someone with hyper-local knowledge of the market, including the absorption rate, average days on market, and inventory levels. They should possess a deep understanding of the local housing market, including comparable home sales, local building codes and restrictions, seasonal market trends, and have an extensive network of relationships with other realtors. They should also have a comprehensive understanding of every home that is for sale, whether on or off the market, including the property's history, any previous price reductions, and the potential for future value appreciation.
Moreover, the best realtors take their professionalism to the next level when it comes to working with legal contracts. Real estate in Los Angeles is incredibly litigious, so it's essential to work with an agent who focuses on the details, with a particular emphasis on understanding the contracts, such as purchase agreements, addendums, and disclosure forms. They should be able to explain legal terms in plain language and be able to address any potential issues before they arise, such as title defects, zoning violations, clouds on title, or easements.
Negotiation is a critical skill in a local market, and the best real estate agents are experts in this area. They should be able to negotiate price effectively, having been inside every single home that's been on the market. They should also have a deep understanding of the motivations of both buyers and sellers.
Honesty and transparency are vital traits in any real estate agent. An experienced agent will know the pros and cons of every street and neighborhood and will articulate those points to you upfront. They will not try to sugarcoat the reality of a property or downplay any potential issues. Instead, they will be honest and forthright about what you can expect from a property and a neighborhood.
The top 1% of agents do the majority of the deals and control most of the homes available for sale and the buyers that are out looking for such homes. Speaking with an excellent agent means you are speaking with the person that has most of the conversations with new buyers and sellers before anyone else. This gives you an advantage in the market, as you will be among the first to know about new listings and market trends. The agent should also be able to provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine the fair market value of a property.
Finally, off-market sales are a significant value-add to both buyer and seller clients. Approximately 15-20% of home sales in the Beach cities of Los Angeles happen off-market. Top agents can give you access to this exclusive market that is not available to the general public. By having access to off-market listings, you can find unique properties that are not yet on the market and get a jumpstart on your competition.