How to Choose a Real Estate Agent: Part 1

Tips on How to Choose a Realtor 

Buying a home is such an exciting time. You combine hopes and dreams with the thrill of house hunting, and the practicality of budgets and markets. The whole journey can be significantly impacted by your choice of a real estate agent who is there to help you negotiate each step to your maximum benefit. Choosing a real estate agent might seem easy, but your decision will impact the largest purchase of your life, so it’s important to make sure you get the one that is right for you. Read ahead to learn more about how to choose a realtor that will enhance your experience. 

Seek Referrals 

If you have any friends or family who have recently purchased a home, ask them first who they recommend and why. Another important question to ask is what they might have done differently. This can help you not only hear about why they made their choice, but also give your ideas of things to look for yourself. Turn to social media to ask for recommendations but make sure you ask for specific details about why they make the recommendation. People make their choices based on different factors, and chances are…you will have different needs. 

Go to Open Houses 

This is a simple and straightforward way to see a realtor in action, especially if you go to an open house in your prospective future neighbourhood. You can ask questions about other homes and the area to see if they have the knowledge that will make them more effective. A great realtor will be interactive and pleasant. Don’t ignore your gut. If you get a good feeling at an open house, this could be your agent. Check or your local paper to find out where and when open houses are going to be. 

Check their Work 

Once you have a realtor in mind, sign up for their email listings. This will give you an idea of how many properties they represent currently and how many are getting their asking price. If you have the time, keep updated with at least 3 realtors to see what is happening with their listings on a weekly basis. Are they selling? Are there significant price drops? If you don’t have a lot of time, you can still learn about a realtor from how many properties they have at a time, and what their past/current clients are saying about them. Check their website to see how user-friendly it is. What do their brochures and signage look like? This person will be your “face” to prospective buyers/sellers, are they projecting themselves well? 

Conduct Interviews 

It is easy to be dazzled by the presentations and fanfare of real estate agents these days, especially in this technological age. Set a goal to meet at least three realtors for interviews before you choose one. Ask questions about their connection to the neighbourhood, their core values, and their game plan. You want to be reassured that they will be able to do the best job, but most importantly you want trust, chemistry, passion, honesty, and understanding. Choose the person first, and their experience second. You are going to be spending a lot of time with this person and you need to trust that they know you well enough to help you make the biggest purchase of your life. Ask yourself if you believe this person has your best interest at heart? If the answer is no, this person is not for you. 

Establish Communication Channels 

The last step before signing with an agent should be to start communicating in your preferred method. If you primarily work over email and your choice does not respond quickly, they are not right for you. It may seem like a small factor but we are all busy people and that last thing you want is to feel cut off from the process. You need to feel included in communications about the progress of your home at all times. This is not a make-or-break situation but it can greatly impact your comfort level so if it’s not working, ensure your realtor knows your expectations.  

Build the Relationship 

Once you’ve made the final choice, you will be asked to sign a contract. This ensures you are committed to using your realtor for the duration of your purchase/sale. They generally have a time limit also attached, often 3 months. This contract outlines not only the realtor’s rights and responsibilities but also yours. Make sure you read and understand it, and keep a copy for yourself. If you find yourself still undecided between one or more realtors, check out our next blog for more information on skills that will make your realtor more effective! 

At the end of the day, your realtor stands to have a huge impact on your entire home buying/selling process. They will be responsible for ensuring you get what you need materially or financially. You want to be certain that you feel comfortable giving them the responsibility. Follow these steps to confirm that you have done your homework and will make the best choice. At the Blackwell Group, we will do everything in our power to help you feel relaxed and secure in your decision to work with us. We would love to meet you to talk about how we can help you achieve your dreams. Reach out today!

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