Ask questions, spot potential risks, and sign with the most qualified professional.
When you’re looking for a realtor to help you buy or sell your house, it’s easy to get dazzled by the hotshot in the neighborhood or coaxed into letting your sister-in-law’s cousin represent you. But before you make a hasty decision, it’s important to do your homework. Getting the right realtor may not seem important, but it can mean the difference between getting exactly what you want or losing out on the deal of a lifetime. So before you sign with anyone, be sure to ask these questions and be on the lookout for red flags.
1. Is this a weekend gig or is the realtor in it for the long term
Being a realtor can be a viable career and because of that, many people think they can just jump in and do it part time while keeping their “real” job. It’s always advisable to go with a realtor who’s in it for the long haul and is an active full-time agent. They’re not only more experienced, they’re focused on what’s happening in the market and all the legalities of real estate.
2. What’s the realtor’s number
How many houses has the realtor listed and sold in the last six months. And within that number, how many of them were in your neighborhood or the area you’re looking into.
3. What would clients say about your chosen realtor
It’s not common for people to be happy and satisfied 100 percent of the time. And that’s ok. But what you want to know is if you asked them, what complaints would the realtor’s clients have about the service he/she provided. This information, once shared, not only exemplifies an honest realtor, but also helps you get a clear picture of what to expect from this person.
4. What’s the realtor’s method of communicating
An important aspect of any real estate relationship is communication between you and your agent. Will he/she be calling, texting, or emailing you to discuss possible offers, showings, and any other pertinent information? How often will you hear from him/her? You may want advanced notice of showings and other important events so find out your realtor’s communication methods ahead of time.
5. How the realtor handles marketing
Remember that most realtors are independent agents who basically do all the marketing from their own business budget. They can choose to do whatever they want by way of marketing. Of course, any realtor worth their weight has a full scale marketing plan they use to ensure they get the right people interested in their listings. That being said, will he/she be running ads in the paper, placing flyers outside your home, posting on websites, or using other methods to draw prospective buyers to your property?
Now let’s look at those red flags
Even though you may have asked the question, it’s a good idea to do some research and see if there are any registered complaints or disciplinary actions against the potential realtor. It goes without saying to avoid realtors who have a few complaints regarding performance.
Obligations to lenders, inspectors, and others potentially involved in the process
While many realtors have a list of professionals that they can recommend to you when it’s time for inspections or to get approval for financing, you should never be obligated to work with those people. If a realtor states that you’re required to use their people as part of your deal with them, end the relationship.
Your realtor should not represent you and the seller of a house you’re considering. It’s a conflict of interest because it’s impossible for the realtor to get the best selling price for the seller while having the buyer’s best interest at heart. Find a realtor that’s not a double agent.
It’s ok for an agent to have help and a support team to ensure nothing falls through the cracks but when it comes to showings or responding to your requests for information, you want an agent who is going to be present. Personalized service is key because your home, whether you’re buying or selling, is your biggest investment. So if an agent has so many listings that he/she cannot personally handle yours, move on to your next option.
Flying too high
When interviewing potential realtors, the one that suggests you sell for a higher price than all the others is the one to stay away from. All agents you meet should have done comps and know exactly how much you can get for your property. The one that wants to list it too high is not being straight with you and will set you up for a long time on the market. Remember, if your home is priced too high, less people will be interested.
No local perspective
Only realtors who are experienced and familiar with your neighborhood should be considered. It’s as simple as having potential buyers lined up for you and/or knowing the value of your home. Think local!
Choosing a realtor is a big decision. Don’t take it lightly and make a mistake that can cost you. Instead, ask the right questions, check into each potential agent’s background, and experience and make a sound selection.
When you’re ready to buy or sell, get in touch with us. We were born and raised in South Florida and have many years of experience assisting buyers and sellers achieve their homeownership goals.