How to Choose a Realtor

Whether you are buying or selling your home, a good Realtor is guaranteed to make the process smoother and more pleasant (well, as pleasant as buying or selling a home can be). The problem is that there are so many Realtors out there, literally thousands of them (I bet you even know a few of them) and it can be a daunting task to find one of the good ones to help you with the purchase or sale of your home.

One of the very first things you need to know is not to feel obligated to use a family member or friend who has their Realtor license. Of course, if they are experienced and skilled at what they do, then by all means use them! But, consider them as you would any other Realtor and don’t just hire them because you know them. That could be a decision that ends in disaster, both for your purchase/sale and for your relationship.

So, how do you choose a Realtor when you are looking at such overwhelming possibilities? Here are some tips to help you. Interview a minimum of three Realtors before you decide who to hire and ask the following questions:

  • Are they familiar with your neighborhood? Have they bought and sold homes there in the past?
  • What forms of marketing they will be using?
  • Will a professional photographer be taking the photos or video of your home and property?
  • Will they provide staging services for your home or a consultation?
  • What are their office hours for handling inquiries and appointments?

Be sure you ask for references from the Realtors you interview. These references will ideally be recent clients who can tell you of their experience. If the Realtor is good at what they do, they will have happy clients and they will be happy to refer them to you. You can also get recommendations from friends and family who have used a good agent and you can check their Realtor Reviews online on websites such as Realtor.com and Zillow.com.

You also have to watch out for signs that an agent is not as great as they claim to be. There are some red flags when choosing a Realtor that can tell you to find someone else, including when the agent:

  • Charges a lower commission
  • Is unfamiliar with your neighborhood
  • Works only part-time
  • Makes suggestions as to the highest price for your home
  • Includes their photo with online listings
  • Doesn’t generally work with buyers/sellers in your price range
  • Doesn’t generally buy/sell your type of property
  • Does not stay on top of developments and transactions related to the purchase/sale
  • Is not a good negotiator

In the end, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for when you hire a Realtor. You don’t necessarily want the least expensive Realtor you can find. The important thing is to do your research and make sure you are choosing a Realtor who will take the time and effort to make your purchase or sale go through quickly and with as little effort as possible.