The process of buying or selling a home can be stressful, especially if you attempt to bear most of the burden yourself. Thankfully, the right Realtor can make either the buying or selling process less stressful and more productive and rewarding. Here’s some advice to keep in mind as you start your search for right Realtor for your needs.
How to Choose a Realtor – The Basics
A search for “how to choose a Realtor to buy a home” will produce very different results than what you would get when searching for “how to choose a Realtor to sell a home.” This is because there are different factors to consider with each process.
If either one of these searches has brought you here, you’re in luck! We’re going to provide advice for both buyers and sellers on the hunt for the right Realtor.
Before getting started with your search, it can also be helpful if you know the following tidbits of info:
• Your general price range if you’re looking for a new home
• The current value of your home if you’re planning to sell
• Any unique needs or priorities you may have
How to Choose a Realtor to Buy a Home
Buying and listing agents have different roles as well. So, if you are working with a buying agent, don’t call the listing agent since they work for the seller. Some listing agents do work for dual agencies. However, there’s a potential for conflicts to arise.
So, a good starting point is to interview potential Realtors specializing in home buying. Just don’t interview agents from the same company. During your interview, ask about such things as:
• Their knowledge of your preferred area of town
• How many homes they’ve sold within your preferred location
• How involved they are in the buying process
Set your expectations with what you expect from the client-agent relationship. For instance, it’s common for agents to meet potential buyers at home showings. But most agents will be willing to pick you up if this is easier for you. Also, set expectations involving:
• Your general time frame for finding a home
• How you wish to be contacted – e.g., email, text, phone
• How flexible you can realistically be with the home’s price tag
Seasoned Realtors typically have no problem with letting you know what you are signing before you actually do so. But don’t contact a buying agent until you are absolutely ready to buy. It’s perfectly fine to attend open houses on your own if you’re still in the deciding phase.
How to Choose a Realtor to Sell a Home
A simple way to get started with finding a Realtor to sell your home is to take a drive around your neighborhood. Check out the real estate signs and pay particular attention to companies and individual names that pop up on multiple signs – especially ones with “sold” attached to them!
Another excellent way to find a real estate agent is to go to their “natural habitat” – open houses! Pay attention to the following details:
• How they interact with potential buyers
• Their personality and demeanor
• Whether they are overly aggressive or just assertive enough
You can also compare Realtors in a more subtle way by doing an online search. Read reviews posted by real clients. This will give you a better idea of what you can expect from the same agent.
Also, pay attention to how real estate agents respond to negative reviews. This will help you find agents who are responsive and willing to take extra steps to keep clients happy.
Referrals from friends, family members, and neighbors can be equally helpful. But still do in-person interviews with a handful of agents who’ve made your narrowed down list of prospects. During interviews, ask about such things as:
• How many homes they’ve sold recently
• How many active clients they have
• How they would go about marketing your home
• References they can give you so you can talk to some of their clients yourself
• Whether they primarily work with sellers or buyers
• If they are prepared to handle any unique needs or requests you may have
You’ll also want to discuss and set your expectations, clarify your motivation(s) for selling, and talk about how you want to handle home showings. Lastly, make sure you agree on details such as the list price, your flexibility with the asking price, and what would happen if your home doesn’t sell within a certain period of time.
No matter what your purpose is for choosing a Realtor, never underestimate the power of your gut instincts. When you meet with a potential agent, get a feel for their personality and demeanor. This individual will be a big part of a very important transaction in your personal and financial life, so it’s important to be fully comfortable with them.