A big decision before you buy or sell.
For some people choosing a REALTOR® to work with is a matter of seeing a phone number and calling it, but for most people the selection of a REALTOR® is almost as important as choosing which home to buy. It’s not a simple decision and what works for one person, might not work for another. I thought I’d give some info from my perspective that might help you choose the right REALTOR® for you.
Referrals – Often the first suggestion you’ll hear is to ask your friends and family that have bought or sold a home. This is always a good idea. These are people you trust and they care about you enough to give you their honest opinions and what was good and bad about their REALTOR®. Of course, what works for Uncle Bob, might not work for you – so take that into consideration when getting a referral.
Skill – The three components of an agent’s skills that you hear most often when people are giving their opinions on what makes a good agent are education, experience, and skill. If you’d like to check an agent’s real estate education here in Texas, just log on to the Texas Real Estate Commission’s website. Although education is important, it doesn’t mean everything (just because you took the class, doesn’t mean you learned and retained anything). A REALTOR®’s experience is usually counted in years of real estate practice, but I don’t think it always counts for much. I’ve seen agents with years of experience do terrible work and have seen brand new agents do incredible work (and vice versa). It’s really down to the individual on this. You can always ask a REALTOR® about their sales volume, but just because an agent is busy and has closed a lot of transactions, doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you. Again – it’s all down to what makes you feel most comfortable.
Comfort – I think this is the most important aspect of the entire agent/client relationship. If we’re not comfortable together how will we work together? An agent/client relationship is a partnership. The REALTOR® needs you to help them and you need the agent to help you. By being comfortable, you can build a trusting relationship and be able to tackle just about anything that comes your way during your transaction. You spend a lot of time with your REALTOR®, what good would it be to not be comfortable with them?
So how do I choose?
The best way to choose a REALTOR®? Ask questions. Know what you want out of your agent. Know what’s important to you. Know that not all agents are trained in all disciplines. Some REALTORS® do commercial real estate, some do property management, some focus on rentals – knowing what your agents core focus is can make things a lot easier for you. When you speak to a potential agent, you should be asking them about what they know that relates to your purchase. Remember, the potential REALTOR® should be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. They should be asking questions too. What are your goals? Your wishes? Your ideas? What do you want and how can they best help you meet those needs? In the answers to those questions, you will get to know the agent’s experience, education, and skills. A list of college degrees isn’t what’s important – what you can do with those degrees is.
So next time you hire a REALTOR®, be prepared. Ask questions, tell them what you want, and don’t be afraid to say “I just don’t think we’re a good match.” We want you to be comfortable, because we want to be comfortable. Nothing says “fun” like spending a Saturday away from home looking at houses with someone you have no interaction with.
image courtesy of Images_of_Money