Choosing the right realtor entails more than just hiring someone with credentials. Preparing to buy or sell a home can be daunting, but hiring the best realtor for your needs can make an overwhelming process much easier. What makes a realtor “right” can vary on your aspirations, requirements, and even personality. Here are our tips for helping you choose the best agent for you and your real estate goals.
Know anyone that has bought or sold their home recently? Happy clients love to sing the praises of their realtors. See if you can line up 2-3 recommendations, and (depending on availability) set up appointments with each. Prepare to ask a lot of questions that will help you narrow your options before committing.
Don’t know anyone with a realtor? That’s ok – there are sites online that can help you locate real estate professionals in your area. Try to find 2-3 agents that you can meet with by narrowing the search down to your specific needs (part of town, type of real estate, etc.). Since you won’t have the benefit of knowing their clients, don’t be afraid to ask for and call references.
These inquiries will help you and the realtor determine if you’ll work well together. Doing this leg work now can make things easier down the road for both of you. When first meeting with a realtor we suggest asking the following:
“Do you specialize in residential real estate?”
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to confirm this right away.
“Can you tell me about your business?”
Discovering who the realtor is and what inspires them in their business may help you determine if you’ll be a good match personality-wise.
“How do you prefer to communicate? Are you available via text and email or is calling best?”
Communication is a vital part of this process. Make sure that you are able to communicate in ways that work well for both of you.
“How do you process paperwork? Is it all done online or in office?”
Some realtors prefer handling paperwork in an office setting while others appreciate the ability to do this online. This is not only a scheduling preference but a technological one. It’s a good idea to ensure that you’re on the same page with how the agent manages these tasks.
“What is your schedule?”
Speaking of schedules, determine early on if they’ll be available to look at or show properties at the same time that you are.
“How long have you been doing business in (insert city)?”
While you shouldn’t disregard experienced realtors that are new in town, keep in mind that locals are going to be more in tune with the ins and outs of real estate in your city. This can be especially helpful if you’re moving to a new area and have specific questions about neighborhoods, schools, waste management, etc.
“Do you work with related service providers that you can recommend going forward? (home repair companies, loan officers, etc.).”
You’d be surprised just how much realtors know about home maintenance. When something goes wrong in your new place or if you just need a professional for an upcoming renovation, knowing that you can count on your realtor for recommendations can be a big help in easing home-buying jitters.
Before making a decision, remember why you’re looking for a professional. When you hire a realtor, you’re hiring someone to keep your best financial interests at heart. Someone who will fight for you in negotiations, who will be clear on fees and associated costs, and who will continue be present in your journey as home-owners before and after the sale.
Trusted recommendations and asking the right questions can help, but at the end of the day, only you can decide who will be the best person for this job. With the right research, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect match.