Maybe you’re buying your very first home. Perhaps you’re selling your first home, and you didn’t like your original realtor. Or maybe you’re starting to invest in real estate. In any of these situations, you need a top-quality realtor by your side.
But real estate is one of the most cutthroat businesses out there. It’s competitive, and there are tons of realtors to choose from. How do you find the one that will do the best job in your neighborhood?
Start Collecting Names
There are certain agents who are far superior to others, and that will become apparent as you begin your research. You’ll want to collect a list of names of top-selling agents in the area before narrowing down the right choice for your needs and personality.
It’s important to get someone who has your best interest in mind. You should also get along with them because you’ll be spending a lot of time with them now and in the future.
Start by finding agents who have the most listings. This indicates that a realtor is full-time, passionate, and dedicated to their work. They wouldn’t have as many clients if that wasn’t the case.
Having the most listings is a sign of a good realtor, but it can be a double-edged sword, Columbus-based realtor Jason Opland shared with the National Association of Realtors.
“If they have the bulk of the listing in your community, what priority do you think they will assign your home and yet another listing?” he asks.
That’s where the importance of in-person meetings arises. When you meet with a realtor, you’ll get a sense of just how dedicated they’ll be. A good realtor can handle many listings while making each one a priority.
Come prepared with a list of questions to ask and pay attention to their proposal. A good realtor knows that one client is worth a lot—not only will they make money on your house, but also on the houses of those you refer.
“See how polished and professional their proposal is,” Katherine Hutt, a spokesperson with the Better Business Bureau suggested in a Bankrate article. “The more effort they put into a presentation for you, the more effort they’ll put into presentations when they’re working for you. You want someone who is really savvy.”
You’ll also get a good idea of how your realtor prefers to communicate, whether they like long phone conversations with lots of details or short emails with only the essentials. Finding someone who matches your preferred communication style will make the process of buying or selling virtually painless.
Ask Someone You Trust
Friends and family are great sources of recommendations when it comes to realtors. Most people have interacted with at least one realtor in the area, even if they’ve never purchased a home. They’ll likely have plenty to say about who they used and whether they’d use that person again.
A referral from a trusted friend is useful, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’re getting the best. Your friend likely has limited knowledge in real estate, and they’ve had limited exposure with a realtor. They’re sharing a great experience, and if you use this realtor, you might have a good experience too—but that doesn’t mean it’s the best out there.
Instead, look for recommendations from someone you trust who invests regularly in real estate. They’ve likely been around the block a few times with multiple realtors and can make recommendations of who to ask as well as what to look for in a great agent.
If you don’t know any good investors, ask for references from several brokers in your neighborhood. The references should be for homes sold within the past year.
Be Willing to Let a Realtor Go
Your goal is to find a realtor who will be your number one from start to finish. Even if you’ve applied your due diligence before hiring a realtor, there’s always a chance that it won’t be the right fit. You need to be willing to let them go at that point.
Zina Kumok, writer for Money Under 30, talks about a friend who carefully selected a realtor, but they failed to perform their duties correctly. Thankfully, she had the good sense to fire him and find a new realtor whom she loved.
“When you hire a realtor, you are their client and customer,” Kumok says. “They should be primarily concerned with your needs, not how much they’ll earn on commission or how quickly they can close the deal. If you’re feeling ignored at any point in the process, don’t be afraid to walk away.”
Know that you might have to walk away from the beginning and write that option into the contract. You don’t want to get suckered into an unbreakable contract when dealing with one of the largest financial investments of your life.
Go for Experience
Occasionally, a realtor will be amazing from the time they become licensed. In most cases, however, you’re much better off going with an experienced realtor. You want someone with a LOT of transactions under their belt.
According to Elizabeth Weintraub of The Balance, a realtor must average about 10 transactions per year, so you want to avoid someone who does just the bare minimum. Typically, a realtor who’s been around for many years will have a lot of experience because otherwise, they would have quit long ago.
“You have probably heard the adage that 10% of the agents do 90% of the business,” Weingraub writes. “That’s because top producing agents are consistent, and this consistency comes from experience.”
The scope of experience goes beyond the number of houses they’ve sold. You’ll also want a realtor who knows the area. The majority of their transactions should have occurred within the vicinity of your neighborhood. That way, you’re getting expertise in your area of choice.
This is the reason that many home buyers, sellers, and investors in the greater Houston region choose Green Residential as their realty company. Our realtors have more than three decades of experience buying, selling, and managing properties in the greater Houston area, from League City to Cypress.
Besides that, we also offer a flat-rate realty fee. Rather than paying the standard 6 percent on a sales transaction, we ask for just one fee, which saves most people money. It’s a great way to get started with the best investment of your life.
For more information about our realtors, areas we serve, and anything else we can do for you, contact Green Residential today!