Choosing A Realtor
Many buyers and sellers are unsure when it comes to choosing a realtor. How do you make the best decision? How do you decide whether to work with a large real estate firm or a smaller one?
Your success as a buyer/seller will depend on the quality of your real estate agent and the firm they represent.
One of the most often asked questions asked by potential clients is: “Don’t larger firms have more resources available to them and more agents to help sell/find my property?”
The answer is simple; No.
Whether they are an independent broker or large national firms, all Realtors/firms basically have the same resources and other agents available to them. All companies and brokers subscribe to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) where properties are listed and broadcast to the public. This is also where sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc. pull listings to post on their websites. Every Realtor, whether a large or small firm, lists homes for sale in the MLS and finds listed homes in the MLS to show potential buyers. We all have access to the exact same information.
Additionally, since it is against licensing policy for Realtors to share confidential information about a client, it doesn’t matter if you have one agent or 100 agents in an office, you can’t discuss your clients listing and/or buying power or preferences with other agents; even those in your office. A listing gets no preferential treatment from the firm it is listed with; it does, however, receive preferential treatment with the Realtor you select.
So, with this knowledge, Savvy Solutions, encourages you to do your homework when selecting an agent. Choose a professional who knows the market, understands what you want and need, and is committed to representing your best interests.
Listed below are questions that should be part of your interview process. With these answers, you will be sure to choose a good Realtor and will have the best possible experience and results when buying or selling your home.
How long have you been in residential real estate sales?
Like most professions, experience is no guarantee of skill; yet, much of the real estate industry is learned on the job. But keep in mind that new brokers must operate with the full supervision of their Broker-in-Charge who most likely has many, many years of experience. Additionally, new brokers are very energetic and eager. Weigh the pros and cons.
How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?
A real estate agent who pays attention to the way you prefer to communicate and responds accordingly will provide a much smoother transaction. If they are part time, will their full time job inhibit their ability to be available to you? Do they have someone for backup situations?
Find out how frequently you can expect your agent to check in with you, and when he or she is available for you to call with questions or for updates.
What specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home?
There is more to marketing a home than putting a sign on the lawn. Your agent should have an aggressive, innovative plan. In addition to MLS, where else can they expect to see your listing? Where will he or she look for buyers? A good marketing plan can be what makes the difference between a normal sale and a home that is on the market longer than necessary.
Will you represent me exclusively, or might you also choose to represent the buyer?
While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, your Realtor should be able to explain his or her philosophy on client obligations and agency relationships.
Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and so on? What type of support staff or resources do you have?
This could include anything from a real estate attorney, home warranty company, plumber, roofer, lenders, etc. Most agents have a network of trusted associates. Practitioners should be able to recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with any of the providers. Is there office staff to help you? Is your Broker-in-Charge involved in each transaction? Who can I contact if I can’t get you or you go out of town?
What are the negatives of my home?
We all love our homes, but every home is not decorated or staged to sell to the general public. An agent that is a good fit should be able to name several potential drawbacks to selling your home, from repairs to location and beyond. A good agent will provide specific advice on what would make your house more marketable—such as a major downsizing of house furniture, yard cleanup, painting, and other spiffing up. In cases of older properties, the agent may suggest a professional inspection so you are aware of any hidden problems.
What Kind of Guarantee Do You Offer?
If you sign a listing or buying agreement with the agent and later find that you are unhappy with the arrangement, will the agent let you cancel the agreement? Will the agent stand behind her service to you? What is her company's policy about canceled agreements? Has anybody ever canceled an agreement with her before?
What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?
A good agent won't hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to fire off why she/he is best suited for the job.
Everyone has their own standards, but most consumers say they are looking for agents who say they are:
Honest and trustworthy, assertive, excellent negotiators, available by phone or e-mail, good communicators, friendly, analytical, able to maintain a good sense of humor under trying circumstances, and personable.
After all of the questions, be sure you feel at ease with the agent. The way you feel with them is most likely the same as others feel. You will be spending a good deal of time with your real estate pro, so seek out someone with a realistic but tactful approach, someone who is confident, who makes you feel important, who listens, yet can still take charge and guide you through one of the most important processes of your life.