To start with, there’s a reason I said Realtor® and not real estate agent. A Realtor® is a licensed agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). A real estate agent just has a license. The NAR holds agents to a higher standard, offers more training, and generally has higher caliber agents. I make this distinction because every Realtor® is a real estate agent, but not every real estate agent is a Realtor®. So when it comes to making sure you have the right person to help you on this journey, how do you go about picking the right Realtor ®?
Picking the Right Realtor ®
There are plenty of blogs and articles out there that go over picking the right Realtor ®. So I’m only going to cover the points I see most left out. The things I hear the most complaints about when people talk about an agent they worked with could be resolved by the following:
- Make sure you don’t just have a yes-man.
- Check their knowledge of your target area.
- Ask for stats on their results.
- Be clear about your specific wants.
- Pay attention to the questions they ask.
Don’t Get a Yes-Man
You want a Realtor® who is willing to tell you when they think you are wrong… someone who will champion your best interests.
We all know these types of people. They tend to cave under pressure, thrive on approval rather than feedback, and tell you everything you want to hear. Make sure your Realtor® is giving honest input. If they keep responding with absolutes without skipping a beat, ask them to back up their opinion with data to support it. Homeowners tend to overvalue their homes. You want a Realtor® who is willing to tell you when they think you are wrong. While they should be likable and tactful, you still want someone who will champion your best interests.
Do They Know Your Target Area
In an ever changing real estate landscape, it’s not enough to “just know” an area. You need to be able to research and find information. You want a Realtor® who moonlights as a detective. Do they have the ability to find information on surrounding properties? Can they check for purpose, plans, and opportunities that are nearly impossible to find in your target area? Furthermore, is your Realtor® willing to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out by tonight”? Remember, it’s not just about knowing, it’s about knowing how to find out.
Results, Results, Results
You may have heard that a great leader delegates results, not tasks. After all, results are what matters. Find out their ratio between asking prices and sales prices on past listings. This could indicate their ability to actually price the market. Find out specializations, target areas, and technical skills. Ask about their office. A single Realtor® can go a long way. But a fully supportive staff can go further. Being able to tap into the collective expertise of their office is beneficial. If they are a lone wolf, it could be dangerous.
Be Clear on What You WANT
Do you not want any shops or restaurants nearby? Are homes that back to the woods your dream? Is a soaker tub on your must-have list? What is the most important thing you are basing your decision to buy on? This goes back to knowing the area. The Realtor® should be able to find the data on the woods in question and show you the plans (or lack thereof) for it. There are things about a house you can change, and things you can’t. Make sure you are clear on what you want. If it’s not realistic, the Realtor® should have the fortitude to let you know.
Pay Attention to Their Questions
The best way to gauge someone’s intentions and capability is to pay attention to what they are paying attention to. If they are asking about interior paint colours and ceiling fans, they are missing the mark. Their questions should be geared towards finding your motivation, your preferences for what can’t be changed, and willingness to make changes if needed. Also, if there are things you should be asking that you haven’t, then the Realtor® should be making sure they probe you for that information before you end the meeting.
Put your Realtor® through the ringer right from the start.
When picking the right Realtor ® to represent and serve you, you can’t be too thorough. Don’t be afraid to put them through the ringer right from the start. After-all, you want someone who can take the pressure. Find someone who is willing to teach and instruct you as you go along. And don’t settle for the “because I’m the expert” attitude when questioning what they have going on. Effective communication is the key. If you don’t feel you can communicate in the first meeting, there’s a good chance it’ll always be that way. Remember that in the end you hired them, they work for you.