Lisa Schade

Broker, BS, CDPE, SFR

10 Strategies for Choosing a Realtor That's Right for You

 

Now that the housing market is turning and home sales are getting a jolt, consumers who have been waiting out the market will likely jump on the buying and selling bandwagon. Before the hunt for a home even begins, you must first choose a Realtor, one with whom you feel comfortable. While it's easy to hire a friend or relative to be your real estate agent, it will pay off in the long run if you spend the extra time now and research to find the right person for the job. Whether buying or selling a home, try these 10 tactics to find a top-notch professional.1. Get testimonials and referrals. As with seemingly everything these days, the Web can be a good source for finding an agent- or at least finding out about one. In a competitive industry like real estate, it pays to go one step further and find out who is esteemed by colleagues, peers and satisfied clients.

2. Check out their credentials. Though it's easy to go with a Realtor friend or relative, that may not always be the best decision. Look for a full-time, full-service agent with years of experience and professional designations, especially 'RISMedia's Top 5' member agents. A well-connected agent will have a team of resources to help with the process, such as appraisers, brokers, title companies, etc.

3. Find the experts in your target neighborhood. A real estate agent who specializes in the area in which you're buying or selling will be able to offer more expertise than someone from outside the area. This includes knowledge of other home sales, appropriate pricing, amenities, zoning, and schools.

4. Look for a solid marketing strategy. If all a Realtor does is put a "for sale" sign in the front yard, that's probably not aggressive enough to get results, especially in today's market. A strategic Realtor will have a plan that outlines how, where, and how often the property will be promoted.

5. Look for a tech-savvy real estate agent. With more than 90% of homebuyers doing searches on the Internet, it's important to find a Realtor who is comfortable using the Web. If you're selling your home, ask about Web-based marketing and where your home (with high-quality photos included) will be listed.

6. Avoid dual agencies. If you're a buyer (especially a first time buyer), go with an agent who represents only buyers. These exclusive buyer agents are sure to have your best interest in mind.

7. Look for a listing agent who can think like a buyer. The best agents will know what homebuyers are looking for in the current market and will make recommendations to help you sell your home quickly and for the most profit. Making updates and improvements that speak to buyer needs can mean the difference between selling and waiting.

8. Choose someone who will listen and understand. No one likes to be pushed or patronized, especially with something as important as buying a home. Pick a Realtor who will listen to your needs and not waste your time showing you properties that aren't right. Your agent should voice opinions based on professional knowledge, but not try to overrule you on what suits you best.

9. Interview at least three agents. Have face-to-face meetings with at least three potential Realtors and interview them as if for a job. After all, they'll be doing an important job for you in selling your home or finding you a new one. Some important information to learn includes recent sales experience and client testimonials.

10. Trust your gut. No matter how good someone looks on paper, you must be comfortable spending time with that person and trusting them to do an important job. Go with your instincts and only hire someone you like and believe in.

For more information, visit www.frontdoor.com.

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