Studies have shown that people tend to make decisions — both trivial and life-changing — based on emotional factors, rather than on hard, cold facts. Whether you’re buying a car, hiring an employee, picking a college, or selecting a real estate agent, there will probably be a lot of feelings that come into play as you weigh all the pluses and minuses.
When it comes to choosing a real estate agent or Realtor®, first impressions and “chemistry” play a major role in the decision. While good rapport is a key ingredient in a successful relationship with a real estate agent, it is necessary to strike a balance between the agent’s likability and their performance record.
For example, when meeting with prospective real estate agents, it is considered appropriate to ask questions about how long they’ve been licensed, whether or not real estate is their full-time job, and any professional designations or certifications they’ve acquired.
It’s a good sign when real estate agents show a commitment to honing their skills and expanding their expertise. There are about two dozen potential certifications that The National Association of REALTORS® and other organizations offer — ranging from being an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) to being a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®).
Guidelines For Choosing a Realtor
Here are a few more “talking points” to keep in mind when interviewing real estate agents or Realtors.
- Experience: The length of time they’ve been in the real estate business and the number of clients they’ve represented in the past year can be useful points of reference in comparing qualifications.
- Knowledge: Your initial meeting should reveal a lot to you about the agent’s familiarity with the local housing market and their comfort level with topics like mortgage providers, the application process, property inspections, closing costs, and marketing strategies for your property.
- Track record: A couple useful pieces of information you can request are examples of how long their listings have stayed on the market before being sold and how much the final sale price differed from the initial asking price.
- Availability and communication style: Although you certainly wouldn’t want to be an agent’s only client, it’s nice to feel that you’re among their top priorities. While it might be unrealistic to expect daily progress reports, you do want to hear from them on a regular basis. Responsiveness is also the mark of a superior real estate agent. Let’s face it: Selling a house or looking for a new home can be stressful enough, without having to wonder if your agent is looking out for your best interests and providing you with top-notch service. Key takeaway: Asking them how long they typically take to respond to phone messages and emails is a good question to raise in your first meeting.
The ideal way to find a personable and results-oriented real estate professional is by getting recommendations from your family, friends, or trusted acquaintances. If that’s not possible, it’s acceptable to ask agents for phone numbers or email addresses of two or three recent clients who could be contacted as references. You’ll generally find home sellers and buyers to be pretty candid about their experience with a particular real estate agent or Realtor.