How To Choose the Right REALTOR®

Bob Jones General News

For millions of people, buying or selling a home is part of the great American dream. But where and how do you begin the process? Should you set out on your own or select a professional to guide you through the often-complicated process? These are important fundamental questions that you need to ask yourself before you set out on the home buying path. There’s a reason that the majority of homebuyers and home sellers seek the help of a REALTOR®. Their services & expertise can save you a lot of time and money, while also relieving you of emotional stress.

For home sellers, look for a REALTOR® that you feel you can partner with to get your home sold for the highest price in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of stress.

For homebuyers, before you walk through your next open house or call on a For Sale sign, take time to consider some of these helpful tips on how to select the right REALTOR® for you to interview.

As you scan the field of REALTORS®, consider their reputation. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 98% of all buyers cite the criteria of honesty and integrity as “very important” when choosing a REALTOR®. Selecting a REALTOR® by reputation can be a strong predictor of good results to come.

Another way is to ask for a referral from friends, neighbors and co-workers. If they have had a good experience with a REALTOR®, they’ll be happy to refer you to that agent. Even with a referral, it is still prudent to interview several REALTORS® before selecting one. After all, you’ll be working closely together for an indeterminate amount of time. You’ll want to work with someone that you feel comfortable with and who you can trust to represent your interests.

What to look for when selecting a REALTOR® to represent you:

  1. Meet with prospective REALTORS® in their brokers’ offices. Any good REALTOR® will want to know whether you have been pre-approved by the bank and what kind of loan you are getting. The REALTOR® should also ask what you’re looking for in a house. A good REALTOR® is a good listener and asks questions. Watch to see if the REALTOR® makes note of your needs.
  2. Listen for the REALTOR® to explain agency relationships to you. The law requires REALTORS® to explain whether they will be working for the buyer or the seller whenever they have substantive contact with a customer or prospective client. If the REALTOR® does not explain agency to you, go elsewhere.
  3. Ask if the REALTOR® will be showing you only in-house listings or if he or she will show you anything on the market that may be suitable. REALTORS® must legally place their buyer’s needs ahead of their own, so even if a REALTOR® will be paid more for selling an in-house listing, he or she must inform you about other available, suitable listings and take you to see those that you believe are viable prospects. A REALTOR® does not have to take you to see houses if you have not been qualified by the bank, however. Nor does the REALTOR® have to take you to see houses you cannot afford.
  4. Expect a home-buying education, not a scripted sales pitch. Competent REALTORS® help their buyers to think clearly as the home-buying process unfolds. For example, if a house is a good buy, a REALTOR® might suggest you look past the dated wallpaper and paneling and look at the space and structure instead. Likewise, a cute house with curling shingles and too much deferred maintenance may not be worth the asking price. Or if you decide to buy with the intention of building an addition, the REALTOR® should advise you to check the zoning rules for additions before making an offer.

Keep in mind that not all agents are REALTORS®. Only REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. REALTORS® proudly display the Block “R” Realtor brand on their business cards or other marketing and sales materials.

Buying or selling a home is typically one of the largest financial decisions you will ever make. A REALTOR® is an incredibly valuable asset to you when making this most important decision. To begin this adventure, contact a REALTOR® today.