It’s important to team up with the best realtor when you’re buying or selling a home. You’ll work closely with this person throughout the entire process, and they can help you find the best possible deal while avoiding key mistakes and pitfalls. As you’re thinking about how to confidently choose a realtor to work with, there are a few key steps you should take to make sure you understand the realtor’s professional qualifications and personality style. This article will explain how you can think critically about which realtor you will choose to work with.
1. Read reviews from recent clients
It’s usually common to find testimonials and referrals from individuals a realtor has worked with. A quick Google search will often reveal both positive and negative reviews about a realtor’s work, but don’t be turned off immediately if you notice that a realtor doesn’t exclusively have positive reviews. It’s normal for any business to have a few neutral or negative reviews from past transactions, especially if they have worked in the industry for several years. A lack of negative reviews could even be a sign that a realtor is just getting started in the business or filters their negative reviews out. The time to be concerned about negative reviews is if they outweigh the positive reviews or if they all follow a similar theme or pattern. If many of a realtor’s past clients have had issues that center around the same topic or problem, chances are that your experience will mirror theirs. This is where friend referrals can be exceptionally helpful, as it’s always best to get someone’s firsthand experience to back your decision.
2. Try to contact the realtor during regular business hours
It’s normal for realtors to work during odd hours of the day. They want to serve their clients and be available when it’s most convenient for them. Chances are still better that you’ll get a quick response if you reach out during the workday. This can give you a better idea of how active the agent is with their real estate business. Some agents will get their start in the industry by working as a realtor on a part-time basis. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it could mean that they have another job or responsibility outside of real estate and might not always be easy to reach. In most cases, a full-time agent will be more invested in their practice and will have more availability to serve their clients. These agents will usually be quick to respond to questions and queries during the workday, especially if a new potential client is reaching out. If you contact a realtor on multiple occasions and never hear back until several hours later, this could mean that the realtor is wrapped up with other tasks and responsibilities during the day. It may also reflect how they will communicate with you when the two of you begin working together.
3. Check for recent sales
You can do research online to learn about how many deals a real estate agent has closed in the last several months. Usually, a full-time agent is anyone who has closed ten or more deals in the past year. You’ll want to know how many deals your agent has been involved with in the past twelve months, and you should also check to see how many deals they have finished in the last two or three months. If your realtor has stayed involved with completing transactions and facilitating sales, they might be more current on market trends and happenings. They will have also worked more recently with key industry professionals like home inspectors and title companies. These will be people you’ll need to partner with during your own home sale or purchase, and it would help if your realtor can recommend the best possible options for people who you could work with.
4. Meet with the realtor in person
Many real estate agents will agree to schedule a meeting with you even if the two of you haven’t officially begun working together. This can be a great time to ask questions about their professional qualifications and their passion for real estate. They should come prepared for the meeting and be ready to explain to you what would happen immediately if the two of you decided to team up. You’ll get a better idea of the realtor’s communication style and personality when you sit down together. After the meeting ends, perhaps you choose to follow up with the realtor by asking another question or two. Pay attention to how they respond and how quickly they get back to you. The way they communicate now will be a good indicator of how they will communicate with you throughout the transaction.
5. Ask to see a listing agreement
Before things become official with the partnership between you and your realtor, they will probably prepare a listing agreement for you to sign. This contract will outline the responsibilities and obligations of both parties. It will explain how long the two of you are agreeing to work together and what either side would have to do if they wanted to terminate the agreement. They may go over this contract with you, or they may provide you with a copy that you can read on your own time. Feel free to ask any questions or share any concerns that come to mind. Some people will even ask an attorney to review the contract for them. If you choose to take this step, use an attorney specializing in real estate.