8 Tips to Picking a Realtor
It seems so simple – selling or buying a house. You find the one you want, you negotiate a price, sign the paperwork and move in. Yes?
Uh – no.
Real estate is complex, trust us, we know. Don’t worry. We are here to help guide you through the process. Whether you select Nathan Fitts & Team or select another Real Estate professional it’s important to take the time, get your thoughts together, consider buyer or seller representatives, and come up with a plan, which usually starts with selecting a real estate agent. Steps to that decision might include any or all of the following:
- Don’t hire Uncle Mike – As tempting as it might be, resist the urge to enter into a real estate business relationship with someone you know and love. There are so many twists and turns in the process of buying or selling, that it’s better to keep your realtor at arm’s length – even though you want them close when you need them. The kind of demands inherent in the sale or purchase process require some emotional distance.
- That said, consult friends and family – Those close to you won’t mind sharing war stories about houses they’ve bought or sold. They’ll name names and tell tales, and they will be truthful and encouraging – or discouraging – about realtors with whom they’ve worked. There’s no incentive for them to be deceptive – you are, after all, friends and family.
- It’s a very local business – The national market for real estate has little or nothing to do with the sale-ability of your home or what you might pay for a house. If you’re a seller, ask how the agent will market your home, who the target buyer is – and get specific – and ask how they will get your home in front of those preferred buyers. Get listing presentations from at least three agents, who will tell you what comparable homes – in your region, your town, or your neighborhood — have sold for and how long they take to sell.
- Don’t go part-time — Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you want to choose an agent who is actively following the market every day. Working with someone who’s selling real estate on the side is rarely a good idea. If you’re buying, you want an agent who can jump on new listings and show them to you immediately. If you’re the seller, you want an agent who is always available to show your home to prospective buyers.
- Pick a good negotiator – You’re going to have to deal with the fine art of negotiation at some point. It’s good to find a real estate agent who’s practiced, poised and persnickety about the business of negotiation. Shyness and mousiness is not a virtue when it comes time to hold the line, or push for a price.
- Choose experience – It’s hard to resist that good-looking realtor smiling down on you from the big, brightly lighted billboard, guaranteeing an offer today! That might be the toothy grin of some sparkly new agent trying to make a name for themselves — and you might be among their first sales. Better to work with an agent who operates behind the scenes, in the trenches, with hundreds of connections, and plenty of experience in this business.
- Credentials, awards and certifications – Yes, these are important. Make sure your agent is properly licensed, or certified, and it wouldn’t hurt if their peers thought highly enough of them to make them Realtor of the Year. That speaks volumes to their talent, integrity and grit.
- Talk with recent clients—Satisfied customers mean a lot – and don’t stop with just testimonials posted to the realtor’s website. The realtor will show you what they want you to see. Instead, ask for, and follow up with, past customers of the realtor – and be willing to spend the time to do the research. How did the process work, what did the house list for, and what it sell for – and was the experience smooth or painful? Would you hire the realtor again? It’s like checking references for a job applicant.
Real estate is a well-worn business that’s been through a lot of turmoil in recent years – those who have endured the ups and downs deserve your consideration. They may be battle weary or they may be war heroes. It’s up to you to determine the difference, but ultimately it will be well worth your effort in the end.
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