By Shelley Sakala

After the initial slowdown resulting from the coronavirus lockdown, the real estate market bounced back in a big way. Home buyers who were ready in January were even more ready by the time summer arrived. Many sellers, however, pumped the brakes on their plans to move. There was just enough economic uncertainty to make them think twice about relocating from the safety of their nests. The net result: inventory went down, home prices went up, and houses started flying off the shelves. Our team saw homes list and sell in a matter of weeks, days, and in some cases, hours, as buyers scrambled to grab their dream homes and lock in the historically low interest rates.

During times like these when homes “practically sell themselves,” we often see a slew of new real estate agents appear. Enticed by the illusion of easy money, people will complete a course, take an exam, and join the other 27,000 real estate agents in Phoenix. Personally, I love seeing people begin a new challenge. That was me 18 years ago when I changed careers from TV news to real estate. Whenever new agents enter the market, the increased competition pushes me to keep grinding, to stay current in my knowledge base, to keep sharpening my skills, and to continue serving my clients. All of these things have helped prepare me for markets like this, where sellers want top value and buyers are competing for the home of their dreams.

So…does experience make a difference in a robust real estate market?

You bet your bottom dollar it makes a difference!

Here are five ways an experienced realtor can make a huge difference for both buyers and sellers:
1. Experienced realtors leverage their experience on your behalf. Whether it’s guidance on the offer you’re making or suggestions about the repairs you’re demanding, experienced realtors know the difference between deal breakers and dealmakers, and can advise you accordingly.

2. When multiple buyers want the same house, an experienced realtor can take you to the front of the line. How? By presenting you along with your offer. All things being equal, sellers would rather sell to someone who loves the home as much as they did. An experienced realtor knows how to communicate your enthusiasm for a home.

3. An experienced realtor recognizes when a buyer is a “flight risk” – someone likely to cancel the deal on the house you’re selling. Perhaps the buyer objects to putting down a substantial deposit, or insists on a long closing period. These are red flags sellers shouldn’t ignore—and an experienced realtor will spot them.

4. Experienced realtors have a network of professionals who specialize in helping get deals done: lenders, repair people, title companies, painters, and staging companies. All of these can contribute to the speed of the sale. If your real estate agent is Googling title companies and mortgage lenders, you might be dealing with someone who has less experience than you’d prefer.

5. An experienced realtor has a team of people to help keep everything on track. From research to marketing to paperwork to communications, a realtor with a strong team of specialists has more time to spend focusing on the most important deal there is: yours.

Shelley Sakala is a local realtor with The Sakala Group.