How to choose the right real estate agent for you?
Now, more than ever, it is important you hire an experienced and professional realtor. With interest rates and the number of homes available for sale at historical lows it is vital you don’t just hire the friend or family member that has their real estate license. Real estate agents are not created equal! It is very easy to get a real estate license, but having the knowledge to identify market and consumer trends takes more than a real estate license; it takes years in the industry and the ability to think critically. So how do you choose the right realtor? Interview more than one! Whether you are buying or selling a home you should choose the realtor that best meets your needs.
Real estate is a relationship business, not transactional; get to know your realtor a little. At the end of the day this is going to be the person that guides you through an incredibly, if not your most, important financial and life decision. Your friend or family member might be a great person but buying/selling a house is going to be stressful. This could create some tension or strain on that relationship during, and beyond the transaction. The transaction may go perfectly, you move into your new house and everything is perfect. What happens in a year when suddenly the house isn’t what you originally thought it to be or now the market has shifted and you owe more than the house is worth? The most experienced realtor can’t predict future values but they should be able to speak clearly and knowledgably about what factors affect the value of a home.
Don’t just use the listing agent, you will not get a better deal! The listing agent is hired by the seller, so when it comes down to negotiations whose interests do you think the listing agent will take? The seller’s! A buyer does not typically pay their realtor a commission, so don’t go at it alone! Select a realtor to represent you, and solely you.
So, what should you look for in a realtor? That answer is going to be up to you, but here are a few qualities to consider (in no particular order).
Experience – How long has the realtor been licensed? How many homes have they sold recently? A realtor could have been highly productive for many years, but hasn’t been active recently. Particularly in today’s marketplace where homes are selling at incredible rates of speed and for amounts exceeding high list prices, you need a realtor that has experience selling homes today and not just over decades. An experienced realtor will talk with you about what a winning offer looks like. And it’s not always more money! As a buyer, are there particular conditions of the offer that the seller would prefer to see rather than more money? As a seller, at what point is the offer price no longer a factor because it is so high you have concerns it won’t even appraise that high? These are answers that come with experience. A realtor should be able to answer these confidently for you.
Communication –Throughout a transaction you will have many questions, and your realtor needs to make you feel you are able to ask every question you have. Realtors don’t know all the answers, but they should have the resources and know where to get it for you. Whether you call, text or email it all goes to our phone. You deserve a quick response to every communication and should never be left wondering when you will hear from your realtor.
Availability – Working hours, what are those? Realtors work around the clients’ schedule and end up needing to work many nights and weekends. And that’s ok, it’s what we signed up for when becoming a realtor! It is not uncommon to present and negotiate offers until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. If your realtor has “working hours” how can they have your best interest? If you are in a multiple offer situation and the seller is reviewing offers a particular night your realtor needs to be available.
Same could be said for touring homes. Homes are only on the market for a few days right now and if you found one you like you need to act fast! Gone are the days that you can wait a few days to tour multiple homes at the same time.
Trustworthy – Like I mentioned before, this is most likely your most important financial and life decision. You need to be able to know that your realtor is there for you and truly cares about getting you in the best home.
There are several websites on the internet where you can read reviews past clients have written for realtors; Yelp, Zillow, Facebook and Google Business to name a few. Spend a little time reading about realtors in your area to identify those that you feel would best serve you and call them to set up an interview. The realtor you select will be instrumental in your home selling/buying process, don’t just hire someone that you feel you have to! If you, or someone you know, are thinking of buying or selling a home I would love to be one of the realtors you choose to interview!