How to choose a real estate agent

I regularly get contacted by people looking for a Realtor who tell me they were referred by someone they know… and just as often by people who say they found me online by reading my blog. I have found that both of these tend to be satisfying relationships because we already have a common connection and are likely to share common values.

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest and most complicated financial transactions you will ever make. It is also likely one of the most emotional transactions you will ever make because it involves leaving the private sanctuary where you currently live and moving to someplace new, which can be very stressful.

Your transition will go much smoother if you choose a Realtor you can trust and relate to on both financial and emotional levels… which is a little different for everyone. But how do you find such a Realtor? 

Choosing a realtor

  • Talking to friends can be a good place to start… friends often have similar styles so personal referrals are often very successful. A good indicator of satisfied clients is a high percentage of business coming from repeat clients and referrals.
  • Another good indicator is feedback from previous clients…look for comments relating to items that are important to you.
  • In addition to professional competency and good testimonials what could be the best indicator is who makes you feel the most comfortable… trust your gut.
  • Sometimes people specifically visit open houses to check out agents. I have had clients introduce themselves to me at my open houses… they came not because they were interested in the property but they had heard about me and had read my blog and wanted to meet me in person.

Real estate transactions are complicated. Much like putting together a puzzle, an excellent real estate agent is skilled at pulling all the pieces together. Obviously that requires attention to detail. Some other characteristics to look for in a good real estate agent…

  • Communication â€“ the biggest complaint about Realtors has nothing to do with competency, it is lack of communication; does the agent’s communication style match your expectations? what do past clients have to say about this agent’s communication?
  • Knowledge â€“ does the agent have the experience and knowledge needed for your circumstances, both about processes and neighborhoods? if not, does the agent demonstrate the drive, ability and resources to research and find out about what he/she doesn’t know?
  • Honesty â€“ does the agent tell you like it is, even if it isn’t the easiest to hear? setting up unrealistic expectations can cause lots of worry and frustration
  • Ethics â€“ is the agent not only a licensed real estate agent, but also a REALTOR who pledges to a strict code of ethics?
  • Market knowledge â€“ does the agent know market values, both financial and neighborhood market trends? does he/she provide objective analytics and information so you aren’t pushed by the agent to make decisions a certain way but are armed with information, options and strategies so you can make your own informed decisions?
  • Teamwork â€“ does the agent have a team of professionals to recommend, including lenders and inspectors? what about agent backup if the agent is busy or on vacation? is the team so big or the agent so busy you might get lost in the shuffle and not get the time, attention and energy needed to get the service you expect? will you be working with one agent throughout the process?
  • Patience â€“ you should not feel pressured to make a move before you are ready, do you feel comfortable the agent will work on YOUR timeline?
  • Problem Solver â€“ the best agents are tireless problem solvers, good at dealing with a myriad of unexpected situations that may require creative solutions

Don’t forget your agent will essentially be your BFF while you are buying or selling your home. This relationship is about more than competency. Trust your gut and choose someone you feel comfortable working with… someone you feel you can trust.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – shensrud@homesmsp.com

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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