When it comes to choosing a realtor, many people leave it to chance. Maybe your mom’s best friend’s cousin is a realtor or you found someone off Zillow to show you a house and now they are your realtor. There can be lots of ways to go about it but the main takeaway is that– not every realtor is a good realtor.
One way that can help you decide who to work with is by interviewing them.
How do you find realtors to interview?
Referrals. Referrals. Referrals. This is the best way to start.
You can ask your friends, family, neighbors, make a facebook post, ask inside a facebook group for the community you are moving to etc. There are lots of ways to find good people. Ask them what they liked about their realtor and see if that matches what you are looking for in a realtor.
Most people stop here.
They get 1 referral and they start looking at houses.
We would suggest getting 3-5 referrals and sending them a message or email asking to set up an interview with them.
This is key for looking for red flags and also seeing if they will be a good fit for YOU and your needs.
What to ask your realtor
- How long have you been a realtor? It can be helpful to know how much they really know this realtor space. If you want to use your son/daughter or someone you know that is just starting out, you may want to see if they can partner with someone more experienced.
- How many homes total have you helped close? How many this year? Some buyers might focus more on selling homes and some might only help buy. Many of the realtors we interviewed were about 50/50. This can be helpful to know if they know what the current market is like. Someone may have been a realtor for 10 years but hasn’t sold a house in 12 months. They may be a little out of touch with what is happening. This can also be a red flag in a booming market if they have sold <10 houses.
- Do you work full time or part time as an agent? This will help you know how much time they are able to devote to you and their level of commitment to helping you get a home.
- How long have you worked/lived in this area? This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but someone who was born and raised in the area, may know more about the neighborhoods, parks, schools, home values etc. than someone who has only been there for a couple of years.
- Have you worked with out of state buyers before? This was an important one for us but if you are moving local you can skip this question.
- How long do you typically work with buyers from starting to look at houses to closing?
- Do you have any references I can call? You can ask them for previous buyers information –especially if they are people who are in a similar situation as you.
- How do you help buyers compete in the market? There are lots of ways to write an offer. This will help you to understand how they will help you to stand out– especially in a competitive market.
- Can you explain the home buying process from start to finish? Many of the realtors we interviewed did this without us even asking and sent some documents explaining it even further. This is helpful to know that both of you are on the same page.
- Is there anything else you feel I should know about you? How do you communicate with your clients? This gives them the opportunity to tell you anything you may have missed earlier and get a sense for how they will be communicating if you decide to go with them.
One thing to keep in mind
The last suggestion I would make is just like with any interview, it isn’t always what they say as much as how you feel. Do they have a good eye for things? Do your personalities go together? Do they seem like a go-getter? How is their communication? Are they organized?
All of these things you may not ask up front but you will hopefully get a good sense of how they are through the interviewing process.
Good luck and happy house hunting!
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