Hiring the right Realtor
Of all the
decisions home buyers and home sellers need to make, choosing a
REALTOR® is by far the most important. Hiring the wrong person can
make an already stressful experience even worse. Hiring the right
person can make your transaction smooth and problem-free. Given the
importance of selecting the right REALTOR®, why do some consumers
make a poor choice? Generally, they interview too few candidates,
ask too few questions or allow their emotions to interfere with
rational decision-making. But more to the point, most people just
don't know how to hire a REALTOR®.
mistake buyers make is to start shopping for a home before they
select a REALTOR®. Rather than interviewing candidates and making an
informed choice, they drive off with whoever happens to be holding
an open house in their preferred neighborhood. Or they pick a
REALTOR® whose name is on a for-sale sign or who answers the
brokerage's telephone when they call about a home advertised in the
rarely hold open houses personally, nor do they sit around the
office answering cold telephone calls. (This duty is known in the
industry as "floor time" or "opportunity time.") Productive agents
are busy with repeat and referral business from former clients and
personal marketing efforts.
exceptions, of course. Some solid agents enjoy holding open houses.
And some enthusiastic new licensees use floor time to build a client
base. It's okay to hire a REALTOR® who does these activities, but
you shouldn't hire someone based primarily on the chance encounter
of one telephone call, one open house or one for-sale sign.
similar mistakes. Some select a REALTOR® because he or she sold a
few other homes in the neighborhood or sent out seed packages last
spring. While these "neighborhood names" may be worth considering,
sales and seed packages shouldn't be the sole factors in the
mistake among sellers is to hire a REALTOR® because he or she states
a high opinion of their home's value. Some agents suggest an
inflated price to flatter the seller and capture the listing, only
to argue for a price reduction after a few weeks. Other agents
suggest a low price so they can sell the home quickly or attract
multiple offers. Rather than being a factor in selecting an agent,
pricing decisions should be made in consultation with the agent,
based on market trends, recent sales of comparable homes and how
soon you want to move.
The right way
to hire a REALTOR® is to know your own needs and find someone who
will meet those needs. Talk to several candidates and take notes.
Start by getting some background information about the agent. Ask:
How long have you been in the real estate business? What special
training or qualifications do you have? Do you have an assistant?
What difficult situations have you faced in this market and how did
you handle those situations? What are your strengthens in
negotiating? How many buyers/sellers did you work with in the last
year? How many of those people bought/sold a home through you? What
is your view of market conditions? Then find out whether the agent
is experienced with low-downpayment financing, condominium
associations, lease-options, multiple offers, high-end homes,
disclosure concerns or other special needs you may have. Finally,
call the agent's references and ask them whether they were pleased
with the service they received.