When choosing the person who will guide you through one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, it’s important to know what to look for. Last week, I shared some ideas on how to spot a good Realtor. Here are a few more.
Find Someone Willing to Give It to You Straight
Once you narrow your search for a Realtor down to a few people, interview them. Ask them what types of recommendations they usually give clients. Ask them how they manage high-stress situations—for themselves and their clients.
A good Realtor will sometimes need to give you advice you may not want to hear. It’s best to find someone with the confidence and experience to educate you about why certain decisions should be made, from the sales price to the renovations. They may have to let you know your décor doesn’t have broad appeal or that not everyone finds your rottweiler doggie as charming as you do, and as such, he should go stay with a friend during showings.
People are on Their Best Behavior During an Interview
Realtors who are interested in your business will get back to you in a timely manner. If you don’t hear back from a Realtor (or their assistant) when you’re a potential client, you have to wonder whether they will be on the ball when it comes to booking appointments for a prospective buyer, appraiser or home inspector; or whether they will deliver documents to your lender in a timely manner.
Most Realtors respond to inquiries within 24 hours—at the latest. Don’t string an agent up by their thumbs if they don’t answer the phone when you call. Busy agents may be assisting other clients. If you leave a message at 10 am, you can generally expect a response that same afternoon. If you leave a message at 6 pm, you should expect a response the next day.
Experience Matters, But New Realtors Can Be Great
I have said that a Realtor with experience is preferable to one without, but it’s important to remember that today’s experienced superstar was once a new agent ready to take the world by storm. When they first started out, today’s superstars provided great service, often by surrounding themselves with more experienced mentors. If you find a new Realtor who is responsive and you have a good connection with them, don’t rule them out just because they aren’t established, especially if they work for a full-service brokerage where they can get extra support. One upside to a new agent is that they usually aren’t as busy, so they can get right back to you when you call.
Balance Personal Connection with Technical Ability
Once you’ve asked all your questions, choosing a Realtor comes down to choosing the person who can help you sell your house for the highest price in the shortest time with the least inconvenience. There is a sliding scale between personal connection with a Realtor and their ability to get the job done. One of the ways Realtors can be responsive is by hiring support staff. This allows your Realtor to connect with you while someone else schedules inspections, entering information into the Multiple Listing Service, and follow up with title companies.
Do you feel comfortable discussing your family finances with your prospective Realtor? Does this person listen to and value your opinions? Do you feel confident they can manage a complex transaction? You need someone you can get along with, but also a professional who can look out for your business interests.
If you have lived here for any length of time, you probably know several Realtors. You’ll have to choose one. I caution against letting your personal feelings get in the way of a wise business choice. Buying or selling a home is emotionally stressful. Don’t add to it by choosing the wrong Realtor.
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.