Finding a great realtor can be a daunting task whether you are buying or selling a home. However, if you remember a few important things and keep them at the forefront of your mind when doing your research, you should be able to find an excellent realtor.
You first need to decide what type of realtor you want to hire. There are two types: a broker or a realtor. You also need to make sure you ask this person if they are just a seller’s agent, just a buyer’s agent, or are they both. This becomes important when you are negotiating buying a home. You don’t want your agent to suddenly be not only your agent but the homeowner’s agent as well; this can make for a very sticky situation.
Once you determine what type of agent you need, you will want to prioritize what is most important to you in terms of a realtor. Do you need to “click” with them and have a good relationship? Or as long as they are a great salesperson or negotiator you don’t care how your relationship is with them.
Once you have decided what your priorities are it is time to do your research. Of course the best place to check first is through word-of-mouth. Ask friends and families if they have any recommendations. Find out about their experiences both good AND bad. Research these realtors online make sure there are not any bad comments about them on the Internet.
Another place to look is in your own neighborhood. Notice the “For Sales” signs in front of houses and note how quickly houses are sold or how long it takes for a house to sell.
There are a number of great websites out there now with Realtor.com and Zillow.com being just two good ones. What is great about Zillow is you can check the approximate value of your home in the area without having to get a sales pitch from an agent.
Lastly, just remember that ultimately a real estate agent is a salesperson and they stand to gain a lot by taking you on as a client whether you are buying or selling. So just be cautious because it is very easy to get pulled in by an agent with a great personality, only to find out they are not worth their weight in salt.
Finally, I recommend interviewing no less than three agents. You will be surprised at how different their approaches to representing you will be. Some agents have a whole team working behind them. Some are a one-person deal. Either way you will want to know what they offer to see who is the best fit.
In the end, remember they may be selling you a house but you are looking to make a “home” in a great neighborhood with access to local amenities.