In the Ukiah Valley, we have a lot of Realtors to choose from, so how do you pick the one that’s right for you? Here are some factors to consider.
In the best of times, it’s nice to have a Realtor you trust and enjoy working with. In the worst of times, having this type of relationship is essential. Ask friends and family for recommendations and be honest with yourself about what you need. Can you advocate for yourself, or would it be helpful to have a Realtor who will be a little more forceful about standing up for your needs? Do you have a pretty good idea about what you want, or would you like a Realtor to help you figure things out? Once you’ve got a few names, check them out online. YELP and other review sites can provide interesting insights. Look for trends rather than putting too much stock in one crazy testimonial (either good or bad). Funny story, our property management service once benefitted from a negative review. A guy ranted about how unfair it was that we didn’t rent to him after he was evicted three separate times. Property owners called us and said, “Hey, sounds like you’re pretty careful about who you rent to. Can you manage our place?”
The Right Kind of Experience
The Ukiah Valley isn’t exactly the San Fernando Valley, so most Realtors know the area. The more relevant question in our neck of the woods is whether your Realtor has experience with the type of property you’re buying or selling. If you’re looking for a single-family home, there are plenty of knowledgeable Realtors to choose from. However, if you are selling a vineyard or investment
property, you’ll want someone who knows the ropes. And while experience is important, so is bandwidth. If you find a new Realtor with more time and energy to devote to your property than someone with more experience, sometimes that’s the right move. It’s also incredibly helpful if your Realtor has a reputable brokerage to provide additional support.
Willing to Go the Extra Mile to Market Your Property
Years ago, real estate listings were printed in the newspaper and people would leisurely cross out the ones they weren’t interested in and circle the ones they were. Now, the whole game has moved online, and the competition is fierce. If you do not grab people’s attention quickly, they’ll simply scroll past your listing. When looking for a Realtor, it’s important to find one who can help you present your property to its best effect—with photos, copy (written descriptions), and potentially videos. It's fair to ask a potential Realtor, “How would you market my property? How important are professional-quality photos? What can you tell me about staging my property?”
Being Strategic and Well-Connected
Some of the biggest benefits of a good Realtor include their knowledge about popular trends and their ability to move the escrow process along. Realtors typically know what’s selling and what isn’t, and they can help you decide how to spend your home-improvement dollars to get the biggest return. They can also help you determine which inspections to get and provide lists of reputable inspectors. Then, they can refer you to trustworthy experts if the inspections come back with issues that need to be addressed. A Realtor’s network can be worth its weight in gold. Be aware that Realtors will not interpret inspections for you. If there’s a structural problem, they’ll refer you to a contractor, engineer, or architect. If there’s an issue of title, they’ll refer you to a title officer. If there’s a legal question, they’ll refer you to an attorney. Realtors who really know their stuff know they don’t know everything.
Finally, it’s important to choose a Realtor who communicates in a way that works well for you, both the tools and the timing. Do you like to text rather than email? Do you need to communicate after hours because you cannot step away at work? Do you want to touch base every few days, even if nothing is happening? It’s best to get these issues on the table early. The more you communicate your needs, the more likely you are to find a Realtor who can meet them.
If you have questions about property management or real estate, please contact me at email@example.com or call (707) 462-4000. If you have an idea for a future column, share it with me and if I use it, I’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to Schat’s Bakery.