Country Mile Realtors

Homebuyer’s Guide: Choosing The Right Realtor

Homebuyer’s Guide: Choosing The Right Realtor

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

By: Marilyn Haber, Brokerage Owner, Country Mile REALTORS

No matter if you’re buying or selling, the real estate agent you choose will leave an impression, whether it’s a good one or not-so-good. In the final analysis, I and my fellow real estate agents have a fundamental fiduciary responsibility to you, our client, and your best interests.

I want to say from the onset that I have the privilege and pleasure of working with many wonderful real estate agents who do exactly that. But, like all industries, there are a few “bad apples.” So, how do you find the right real estate agent, one you can trust and who will represent you and your interests above all others?

Interview Them!

That’s right, interview them. In fact, interview two or three Realtors. They should be willing to earn your business and show you why they’re right for you. What does that mean? Here’s a practical example. Just the other day, one of the agents in our brokerage spent more than two hours with a prospective client. First, they listened, answered the prospective client’s questions, shared market data with them, and advised them on a plan of action. What was the end result? They got the listing!  I can’t reinforce enough the importance of this step because once you sign with that agent’s brokerage, you’re committed, at least for a little while. So, a little due diligence on your part going into the selection will save you from possible regret later.

What Questions Should I Ask?

Let’s start with a few basic questions, as well as some unconventional questions that should help you find the right Realtor for you.

How Long Have You Been a Real Estate Agent?

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced agent, one who knows the ins and outs of the business. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t get positive results from a relatively new agent. Why is that? That new agent could be working in a brokerage where they get a great deal of hands-on support and guidance, like ours. The new agent will still get their full commission, but we’ll provide them with as much help as they need because we want them to succeed. What’s more, newer agents are often “hungrier” and more willing to go “the extra mile” because they want to start building their reputation in the business.

How Many Homes Have You Sold?

On the surface, this appears to be a good indicator of the results you can expect from a prospective Realtor. And, generally speaking, it is. But, a word of caution: Choosing a real estate agent based solely on number of homes sold may not be the best criterion. Why? Some top-selling Realtors actually have a team of agents working for them. So, while they may have sold an eye-popping number of homes, they did so with the help of a team who assisted with various tasks, like showing homes or hosting Open Houses. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a top-producing listing agent hiring a team, be aware that the impressive number of sold properties associated with their name is actually the cumulative result of a team of 10-20 agents.

Will You Assist Me Through the Entire Process?  

This question really boils down to do you want more hands-on, direct attention from a dedicated Realtor, or, are you okay with being handed off to the listing agent’s assistants?  It’s important to know because as we’ve learned, many top-listing agents have teams that they delegate tasks to. So, while he or she may meet with you for your listing appointment to discuss the sale of your home that may be the last time you see or hear from them.  Again, some sellers and buyers prefer the team approach. It all boils down to what you’re comfortable with because you’re the client.

What’s Your Client/Agent Approach?

Remember, you’re the prospective client, interviewing a prospective Realtor, so don’t be shy about asking tough questions. I’d even encourage you to ask a question like, “What stories do you have when you discouraged a prospective sale?” This is liable to catch some agents off guard. But, it’s a good question because it cuts to the heart of the matter.

Integrity Matters

An agent should certainly always protect and promote the interests of their clients, but they should also have integrity and treat all parties, including customers, who don’t have a contractual relationship with the Realtor, honestly and fairly. Here’s an anecdote:  A few years ago, an out-of-state prospective buyer contacted me about a listing. The home they were calling about was very nice. It was priced right, situated in a highly-desirable neighborhood, and in my estimation wasn’t going to be on the market for very long. Nevertheless, the prospective buyer was planning to spend hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket to see the home. I knew what they were looking for, and I also knew that the home might not be the best fit for them. I shared why, but added that I was more than happy to show them the home if they decided to make the trip. Ultimately, they chose not to. Did my seller lose out on an opportunity? No, they didn’t. Their home was so popular with buyers, they received multiple offers, and the home sold a week later.

How Will We Communicate and How Often?  

I can’t reinforce the importance of communication.  You’ll want to work with a Realtor who responds promptly to your phone calls, texts, and emails. Why? Home sales happen very quickly. The last thing you’ll want is an agent who takes a few days to call you back or answer a text, especially if you were told they’d respond within a few hours. Again, don’t be intimidated to ask the prospective agent about their response window.  Pin them down on a timeframe. Remember, you want to work with a Realtor with a client-first attitude; someone who makes you feel like you’re their only client, not a so-so, “I’ll get around to calling you back when I feel like it” kind of agent.

What Marketing Will You Use?  

You might have the most beautiful home in most desirable neighborhood, but if no one knows it’s for sale, it’s doomed to just sit on the market. Marketing matters! Ask your prospective agents how they plan to market your home? In addition to uploading information and professional-looking photos to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), where prospective buyers can learn more about your home, the brokerage you list with should have a mobile-friendly real estate website, utilize social media platforms to promote your home, have a content marketing strategy with relevant and helpful content (e.g. blog) and have 5-star reviews on various platforms (e.g. Google Reviews, Facebook, etc.).

Do Your Research

Finally, while there are many more questions you could ask, it’s really in your best interests to do your own research. Do your homework, if you will. Interview prospective real estate agents, read those reviews, look at their website, their social media platforms, and ask for references from satisfied customers. Remember what we said at the beginning: The real estate you choose will leave an impression, whether that’s good one or bad one. Being proactive on the front end could mean the difference between an amazing experience and a disappointing one.  Be sure to look for our next blog: The Importance of Home Inspections. It’s a good one! Until then, if you have any questions about this blog or any listings in the area, just give us a call at Country Mile REALTORS. We’re here to serve you!


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