Buying or selling a home is no small task. It requires a lot of know-how, professionalism, and ability to work with others to help you get the home you want. A realtor can help you through the process—you just need to choose the right one. Here’s what you should look for when selecting a realtor:
How Long Have They Been In Business
A good rule of thumb for choosing a realtor is that they should have been selling homes for at least five years. Of course this does not mean that someone who has less experience will be a poor choice—after all, that is how they get experience.
A realtor should also be full time. Part-time realtors sometimes won’t be able to dedicate the necessary time to you and your needs and the needs of other jobs they may have.
The Right Credentials
Check the realtor’s licensing and credentials. States will have regulatory boards that provide public information about a realtor such as their licensing and any complaints or disciplinary actions against them. It will also show you their specialties like:
- CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): These agents specialize in residential real estate.
- ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): These agents specialize in representing home buyers during transactions.
- SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): These agents specialize in helping senior home buyers and sellers.
There are many more specialties and credentials available, so be sure to do your research to ensure the realtor of your choice will be able to handle your specific needs.
When interviewing a realtor, they will emphasize their positive points like sales record. While that is well and good, you should always do more research and get references from them. References are the clients with whom they had done business with in the past and will be able to give you an idea of what it was like to work with a realtor. If you don’t know where to start in asking people about the realtor, sites like nolo.com have reference questionnaires you can use to help.
Pro tip: People and their emotions can be unpredictable. What worked for one person with this realtor may not have worked for another, so always interview several references to get a good average of what working with this realtor.
Where They Sell & Any Current Listings
Where the realtor sells is just as important as their credentials and other qualities. For example, if you want to purchase a home in a specific neighborhood but the realtor has no experience or knowledge of the homes there, move on. A realtor should be able to tell you about a market “off of the top of their head” and give you a comparative market analysis (CMA) of homes listed and sold in an area as well as tell you about school districts and other services.
Can Work As A Team & Communicate
Who would you rather work with: A realtor that you can easily get in touch with and listens to you or one that never seems to be around and seems standoffish? Of course you would choose the realtor who takes time for you to answer your questions.
Selling or buying a home is a team effort and the ability to work well with others is an essential skill for a realtor. If a realtor has a history of not working well with others, it’s best to find one that can.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Finally, a good realtor will be honest and won’t force you into a contract you aren’t comfortable with. Watch out for real estate scams like a realtor who appraises the home too high or asks you to wire them money. A good, reputable realtor will be able to tell you about:
- Their realtor fees
- How they will market a home
- How many clients they care currently representing
- Lenders they have teamed up with or recommend