Just pick me! There you go, search over, problem solved…you’re welcome! I’m kidding!…Kinda. So, many people have no idea how or where to start the process of choosing a Realtor when it comes time to buy or sell their home. From this Realtor to you, we’re going to shed some light on this topic. Let’s start on the buying side. Where should I even start looking for a good real estate agent to help me find a house? Should I look online? Find one on Zillow? Ask my friends who have bought homes? Should I find a loan officer and get pre-qualified first? These are the common questions people have when they first come to the conclusion that they should buy a home and they are very legitimate questions.
First of all, start with a Realtor. Once you find a good, full-time, hard working one with a proven track record they will help with putting all of the other pieces in place. They can recommend a good, local loan officer, set you up to get the newest available listings, recommend a list of reputable home inspectors, etc…”But you haven’t told me HOW to pick my Realtor!” Just pump the brakes, ok? I’m getting there. Start by asking those close to you who have just bought a home who they used as their Realtor and if they liked them, if they did a good job, ANSWERED THEIR PHONE AND RETURNED CALLS, and answered their questions sufficiently. If they say anything but “They were amazing!” pick someone else. You can find a better one on your own using the information you read here. If that option didn’t work for you, go to your local title company. This is one of those best kept secrets kind of thing, although it’s not at all purposefully kept a secret. Most people NEVER think to go to the title company to ask who they should use for their Realtor or their loan officer. Think about it, they know every local real estate agent and they see who is doing good business and servicing their clients well!
Let’s say you don’t have that option because you’re relocating from a different state (you could always just call a title company in the city you are relocating to) or you just don’t want to do it that way. Go to Google. The Goog is your friend, especially when it comes to things like this. Look for Realtors in that specific area who have an actual Google business page with reviews and testimonials. Read what their past clients think of them and what they have to say about their experiences. Cross reference that with Zillow and make sure they have a complete profile with good reviews on there. Now, cross check that with Facebook and if they have a good business/personal profile with good reviews on there, you can be very confident they are professionals who will take good care of you and provide you with great service.
Now let’s talk about hiring an agent to list your home for sale. First off, if you were happy with the agent who originally sold you your house, hire them to sell it for you. They did a great job and they deserve your loyalty and your business! If you were not happy with their performance, if they are no longer in real estate, or if they only work with buyers then it’s time to start the hunt for a new Realtor. If you’re not careful, you can make some big mistakes here. DO NOT hire an agent just because you know them, work with them, hang out with them, or they are your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate and they happen to have their real estate license. Make sure any agent you trust with the sale of your home is a full-time professional! I can’t stress this enough. Far too many people hire their cousin, or co-worker or someone similar just because they decided to get their real estate license on the side. You wouldn’t do that when choosing your doctor, CPA, financial advisor, or your insurance agent so why would you do it when selling the biggest investment of your life? Also, do not hire your agent just because you play golf together, you are members of the same social club, or tennis pals, go to church together, or whatever. Again, they may be perfectly qualified to sell your home, but do your due diligence and make sure that they are. Be careful of hiring mega-agents with teams as well. I’m not knocking big real estate teams at all. I spent the first eight years of my career on a big team in the Goodyear, AZ area and they continue to provide their clients with a high level of service. However, there are these mega-agents who people hire to sell their home and they will literally never meet or even talk to them. Why would you hire someone to do a job for you that you will never even shake hands with? I think some people assume that they’re doing so much business and selling so many homes that they may likely already have a buyer just waiting to purchase their house. They don’t. They put a sign in the yard and advertise your home on Zillow so they can get buyer leads and sell them houses that aren’t yours. Then they wait for some other agent and their buyer to stumble upon your home and make an offer. They have a “listing specialist” come out and give you the listing presentation and they have a “buyer specialist” help find you a new home and every time you call because you need help you speak with their “executive assistant”. All the while they are on the lake or eating fancy lunches while they count what used to be your money. By the way, while we’re on the topic, hire a team not a “group”. The Winchesterton Group with XYZ Realty Group in Groupville, Washingtoregon…Group. It screams of pretention and it’s getting old at this point. Anyway…
Don’t get me wrong, a good Realtor who provides excellent service deserves every bit of their commission. Start by observing what is going on in your neighborhood. Who’s signs do you see and how fast are they selling. Talk to those neighbors about their experience with their Realtor. Never discount the power of a word-of-mouth referral. If they did a good job for your neighbor, they will do a good job for you. These are the agents who are also most likely to ACTUALLY already have a buyer for your home. They know who has been looking in your area because those people are calling on their other properties. They’re very likely to already to be showing homes in the area to several of them. This is how they become a neighborhood expert in your area. They don’t need to live in your area, they just need to be able to sell it to any potential buyers. Look for that single agent or small team that can really service your listing. Who can be there within minutes to show it to a potential buyer. Who will personally answer their phone when you call and answer your questions or solve problems that arise. Real people with real lives who work hard just like you do. After a decade in real estate industry experience, this is exactly what I would personally be looking for when hiring my Realtor. I hope I provided some good information here. If I can elaborate on any of these points further, anyone is welcome to reach out to me directly! Call, click, or text anytime. Thanks for reading!
Krysten and Carl are REALTORs® in Litchfield Park/Goodyear, Arizona where we both live and work. We have a combined 12 years of full-time real estate experience and we love to put that to work for our clients, friends, and neighbors. Family always comes first in our lives and our business and everything we do is always in alignment with our core values. We would love to speak with anyone, anytime about real estate and how we help our clients.