Signs of a Good Realtor – Part 1

The Ukiah Valley has plenty of Realtors, so it can be hard to know who to choose. Here are some ways to figure out which Realtors can help you buy a home for the best price in the shortest time with the least inconvenience.

Start with Recommendations

The first thing I suggest when choosing a Realtor is to talk to people who have recently purchased or sold a home and can share detailed information about why they would (or wouldn’t) recommend their Realtor. Then, talk to your insurance agent, a loan officer, and anyone else you believe may have some insight. This is not a time to hire someone based on an old personal connection. Just because your brother-in-law or your high school buddy is a Realtor doesn’t mean they are the right ones to help you navigate one of the biggest financial decisions of your life (maybe they are, but it’s important to check).

If you’re new to town and don’t know any locals, you can still make a great choice. Here’s how.

Brokerage Affiliation and Personal Brand

To find a Realtor who really knows their stuff, start by choosing a reputable brokerage. Real estate is a relationship-based business, so if you can find a brokerage that has stood the test of time and manages a high volume of transactions, that’s a good sign.

A strong brokerage can provide the kind of support that allows Realtors to do what they do best. It’s best when Realtors can spend their time with clients, while the brokerage has people to take care of putting up lawn signs and ordering office supplies.

Within any company, there are standouts and those who do less business. You want a Realtor who does a lot of business. It’s like choosing an expert in any field: typically, the more they do, the better they get. If you need a pacemaker, do you want a cardiac surgeon who puts in three a year or three a day? A proven track record says a lot about a Realtor’s work ethic and usually indicates access to a vast network of people, from industry specialists to buyers and sellers.

Be sure to choose a Realtor who is familiar with the type of property you want to buy or sell. If you’re looking for a luxury home but the Realtor you’re considering specializes in first-time home buyers or fix and flip, you may want to keep searching.

To identify the busiest brokerage and the best Realtors, a quick drive around town will show you who has the most lawn signs and a quick internet search will show you who has the most listings. In fact, an internet search is a great way to evaluate how a Realtor would present your listing.

Online Appeal

Professional-quality photos have always been a wise marketing move, but now, they are essential. According to several studies, most people find homes for sale on the internet, so if you want to stop someone from scrolling past your listing, you need photos that grab attention. High-quality photos include two components: they must be technically excellent, which is to say sharp and well-exposed, and they need to frame the content for best effect.

The Realtor who runs out to take photos of a new listing on garbage day and doesn’t bother to position themselves to keep the trash cans out of view is putting you at a disadvantage. You want a Realtor with the experience and attention to detail to think about what buyers want to see. You also want someone who takes the time to do things right (or hire someone who can). When evaluating a Realtor, note whether their listings stand out or blend in with all the rest.

Once a good photo stops a potential buyer from scrolling past, the written description should highlight the property’s unique attributes. It’s hard to write copy, I’ll admit, but if you can find a Realtor with some creativity, then your property won’t be one of dozens of “perfect starter homes” or “comfy bungalows.”

Next week, I’ll share more insights on how to choose a good Realtor.

If you have questions about property management or real estate, please contact me at 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.

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