choosing Realtor

Let’s be honest. Most of you put more time and energy into finding a hairdresser than you do into choosing your Realtor. Think I’m kidding? I’m not!

How many of you (especially ladies) would dare go to the first available “up” person at a hair salon you just wandered into? Not many! Yet, time and again we meet people who choose their Realtors exactly that way.

When you are buying or selling your house, you are making a major life decision. It’s a decision that affects your heart, your life, and your wallet.

Your home is an expression of who you are as a person. It’s where you spend time with and entertain friends and family and re-charge after a stressful day. It’s where you raise kids and put down roots in a community. Your home dictates how you live your life through your commute, your access to food and entertainment, your relationships with neighbors, and your budget. But, it’s also likely the biggest financial investment you make in your life. Home ownership is how you can grow your investment portfolio or pass on wealth to other generations.

So, both financially and emotionally, buying or selling your home a “big deal.” That’s why it is so important to choose the right person to guide you through the process.

You want someone that understands the nuances of both the emotions and the numbers.

It’s a tall order, but here are our top 10 tips for choosing the right real estate professional.

RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU.

Whether you are buying or selling, it’s important to “click” with who you are working with. You will be spending a lot of time together for a few months, so be sure it is someone you will enjoy being around and someone whose opinions you will trust.

RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER AGENTS.

You want to make sure your Realtor is someone who is respected by other agents in the community and works with others easily. Reputation is everything in the real estate business and all parties need to know they will be treated fairly. Therefore, it is important for your agent to know the agents that frequently do business where you are buying or selling. It will lead to an easier transaction for you. There is a lot of agent networking done behind the scenes, especially before listings go on the active market, so it’s important your agent has their finger on the local pulse.

AREA KNOWLEDGE.

This goes without saying, but in addition to knowing (and getting along with) the other agents in the area, they need to actually know the neighborhoods! If you’re selling, that means knowing what else has sold, what’s on the market now (that you will be competing with), and what the lifestyle is like in the area so they can sell it to buyers. If you’re buying, they need to know the same things. This is so important that we give neighborhood orientation tours to our clients if they are moving from out of the area or from one part of the DC area to another. You will want an agent who not only can tell you when a house is a good choice, but where you can get the best pizza delivery or buy a bottle of wine after 8pm!

EXPERIENCE, NEGOTIATION & PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS.

Whether you are buying or selling, or both, you need an agent who has been around the block and has seen all of the problems that can come up in the course of a transaction. The agent’s job does not end once you are under contract. Often, the biggest problems can occur between contract and closing. You are dealing with thirty page, legally binding contracts; it’s essential your agent knows his or her way around the contract. Being a problem solver is probably the most important attribute an agent can bring to the table.

COMMUNICATION.

Make sure you find an agent that communicates in the style that you do. Do you prefer phone calls, texts, email or in-person discussions? Make sure your agent can communicate with you in the way(s) you prefer.

AVAILABILITY.

Also, be sure your agent works when you don’t! This is especially important for buyers. Pinpoint what days and times are typically best for you to tour properties and make sure your agent is available during those times. Some agents work part-time or only during regular working hours. Make sure your schedules will align. If you’re selling, be sure the agent or someone on their team is answering the phone and emails in case someone calls about your home. If your agent has a team, they can more than likely answer questions very quickly for eager buyer callers wanting to know how many bedrooms are upstairs! Likewise, a team approach on the buying side means you will typically have many more windows for when you can view homes.

MANAGING THE BUYING AND SELLING PROCESS AT THE SAME TIME.

Buying and selling homes at the same time? Then it is IMPERATIVE that you pick an experienced agent who knows how to manage the process. Should you buy first and sell your house quickly? Should you sell first and then rush to find a property? There are many ways to approach this process that won’t make you feel like your hair is on fire! Find an agent who can walk you through the different options.

RELOCATION CONNECTIONS.

If you’re buying or selling in the DC metro area with the other end of your transaction out of the area, pick an agent who has great referral connections in other markets. You want both of your agents on the same page so your contracts, dates, and deadlines work together seamlessly. See if your agent can connect you with another great agent in your other market. We have personal friendships with the very top agents from across the US & Canada that we often refer to – and that’s something you want. If an agent doesn’t have a personal connection, see if she has a referral network. These networks mean even when a Realtor doesn’t have a personal relationship, she does have a partnership with the top brokerages around the globe that have been properly vetted. Then she will interview those agents to find you the right match. When your Realtors can work together and they’re on the same page, everyone wins.

PRICING, PREPARING & PRESENTING YOUR HOME (IF YOU’RE SELLING).

Sellers, it’s crucial for your agent to know how to price, prepare, and present your home to the market properly. Preparing your home is almost as important as the pricing! It is critical to getting maximum exposure. Speaking of which – your Realtor MUST have a marketing plan. That plan should include a fantastic website with content and other listings that people actually visit. Website traffic increases the number of people who will see your house online. They should use a mix of traditional and digital marketing (if they are not using paid social media advertising, rule them out immediately), plus have a dogged personal outreach program to other Realtors, their buyer database (so it’s also important to ask if they actually have one), as well as to public relations professionals to get your home placed in the right publications.

OUTLOOK ON THEIR BUSINESS & THEIR CLIENTS.

This last one is just a personal thought and probably not one you will find on many similar “how to” lists. Does your agent constantly strive to improve their service to their clients? Do they operate like a true business or more like a part-time job out of their house and their car? Is their focus on creating lifelong clients or on getting the next deal done? Is it about the client or the transaction?

Here at The Goodhart Group, we take our jobs very personally, because it’s personal to you.

We’re here after the deal goes to settlement for recommendations for anything under the sun. We also help clients and any of their friends and family with any real estate needs for the rest of their lives. We want to be your trusted Realtors for life, and we take that role seriously. Because when you love where you live, we’ve done our jobs.

If you would like to chat with us about buying or selling a home, or about any real estate needs or goals you may have, please don’t hesitate to reach out below. We’re always here to help!

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  1. I really like the point under area knowledge. I have a friend who recently moved far from home to a place that he has never lived before. He has such a hard time finding the right place because he is doing it on his own. It would be a big help to him to hire a realtor because, like what was stated in the article, the realtors knows the market!

    • The Goodhart Group says:

      It’s very important for us to have our clients settle into the lifestyle they are accustomed to or have always dreamed of! It will make the transition so much easier. If your friend needs a referral for an agent in the area they’ve moved to we are happy to help.

  2. I really like what you said about a real estate agent knowing about the style of a residential area. That sounds like it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s so true that if a real estate agent doesn’t know what kinds of homes are selling in an area, it might be harder than you thought to sell your home. We are currently trying to find an agent that has their finger on the pulse of the housing market in the community we want to move to. We figure if we can do that, we will be able to get the best price possible for our new home.

  3. My husband and I are hoping to sell our home and get into a new one next year, so I really appreciate this information on choosing a realtor. I like how you point out that it is beneficial to choose someone who is familiar with the area because not only will they have relationships with people selling there, but they will also know where to look! I imagine that it would be a good idea for us to go online and check for agents with great reviews.

  4. I definitely agree that you need to find a real estate agent that works when you don’t. That’s the best way to ensure that you can collaborate with them on showing dates and stuff like that. Plus, I think it makes it easier to schedule showings.

  5. My wife and I are planning on selling our house soon. It is important to us to find a realtor that we like, that will get us a great deal. I like that you mentioned finding a realtor who is respected by other agents. That could make a huge difference in how easy it is for him to sell our house.

  6. I had no idea that so much went into choosing a good realtor! The one that stuck out to me the most is that you say to find someone that has seen problems come up, and can solve them for you. Since we don’t know what we are doing, it would be nice to have a professional helping us along the way.

  7. I agree that hiring a real estate that could get along with you is important. I can see how this can help you develop a good relationship with your agent, this can help the agent know what you like and don’t like as well as care more for you. I will make sure to hire someone I can get along with. Thank you for the tips.

  8. I agree that it is wise to pick a real estate agent that has a good reputation among agents in their surrounding network. A real estate agent who has the ability to collaborate with other agents could have a higher probability of being successful. Having a monopolistic realtor could be a suspicious because it could be a signal that they are greedy and don’t have your best intentions in mind.

  9. Good point about how we should put more time and energy into choosing our realtor. Buying and selling a home is a big deal that you probably will only participate in a few times, so carefully choosing the right people to help you makes sense.

  10. My wife and I really want to start the process of buying a new house, but wanted to hire someone to help us out. I really like that you say to look and see how much knowledge they have about the area. Since we wouldn’t know much about an area that we have never been to, it would be nice to hear what they have to say.

  11. It is really hard to move to a place really far from home. Especially if I am not familiar with the place it will be very difficult to find the perfect place.
    Aside from that I’ll be moving alone which is really difficult. I think realtor will be very helpful for me.

  12. This article made me laugh because it’s true that a lot of people spend more time looking for hairdressers then a realtor. I know that realtors can be a huge asset when it comes to buying the exact house you want. I’m pretty picky when it comes to buying houses and that alone is a great reason to hire a real estate agent.

  13. One of the first points you made was about how important it was to choose a real estate agent that is has vast knowledge about the area you are interested in moving into. A family friend of mine is moving and will definitely need a good real estate agent. They want to move to a certain area, so that they can be close to their family, so if they could work with an agent that is knowledgeable about that area it could help them immensely. Thanks for the tips.

  14. My wife and I are looking for our first home. The lease on our apartment is expiring soon, and we want a place to call our own. I didn’t consider how important it is to find an agent that works when we don’t to ensure they are available when we need them. That’s something I’ll remember moving forward.

  15. I didn’t realize that there is a lot of agent networking done behind the scenes, so that’s why it is important to find an attorney that has a good reputation. My wife and I decided that we want to move out to a home that is larger, and so finding real estate agents that we could work with is what we need to do next to reach that goal. A good reputation and area knowledge are traits I’ll look for in a realtor.

  16. I liked that you had mentioned that when it comes to looking for a real estate agent that it can be important to find one that has done a lot of networking to make sure you have a wide range of options. My wife and I have been thinking about buying into real estate to expand our possible terms of income but we haven’t been sure how to do it. We’ll have to start looking for an agent that can help us and we’ll be sure they’ve done a lot of networking prior.

  17. Hi, Allison!

    Thanks for sharing a helpful post!

    I like that you simply suggests to raise the important real estate agent why they’re within the business. you would like somebody WHO is aware of what they’re doing and loves what they’re doing. over and over folks simply get in careers for the money. If this can be the case, they’ll not be as useful and friendly as they’re solely wanting to create a profit for themselves. once somebody loves what they’re doing, most times they’ll be useful and caring and do all they will for you! a minimum of, that has been my expertise.

    Please, continue your good work in the future!

  18. We are hoping to buy a home soon, so this is helpful. We definitely want a real estate agent to help us with it. I’ll be sure to find someone who is a professional in the area we’re looking at so we get their expertise!

  19. My husband and I will be buying our first home and we are thinking about hiring a real estate agent to help us, so I am glad that I found this article. You make a great point that you should make sure the agent has great communication skills and that their personality works with yours. Also, I will make sure to choose a realtor that is knowledgeable about the area where we want to buy our home because we want to make sure we choose a good neighborhood with a school nearby for our future children.

  20. I would like to thank you for sharing such a nice article and I appreciate your suggestion to hire a reliable and experienced real estate professional to make a profitable real estate deal. Some people don’t want to hire realtor in order to save certain amount of money. However, hiring real estate agents could be more economical. Real estate professionals have adequate information regarding such field and could provide proper guidance to make the deal successful. However, one should be very careful while hiring a realtor. Taking referrals from friends or family member could be very useful.

  21. Thanks for the tips on choosing the right realtor for you and your new home. I agree that you want to find an agent that has extensive knowledge of the area you want to move to. The more they know about the area, the more they know about homes are will be going up for sale soon or inside sales.

  22. I like that you talked about how important it is to make sure that you will be able to communicate with your real estate agent comfortably so it’ll become easier to share your thoughts about your needs and wants in a house. My wife is looking to buy a new house for our growing family. It’s important for us to make sure that we will find an agent that will be willing to listen to what we want in a house. This is an important investment, so finding a real estate agent that we can talk comfortably is crucial.

  23. I like that you point out that since you will be spending so much time together it is important that you have a good relationship with your realtor. My husband and I are wanting to find a realtor that we like to help us find our dream home. I’ll have to do some research and find the best realtor in our area.

  24. It’s interesting to know that you need to have a good relationship with your real estate agent. My husband and I are thinking about buying a house, and we are looking for advice. I will make sure to have a great relationship with my agent to find the perfect home.

  25. I liked that you mentioned you need to look for a real estate agent that you feel comfortable with. My mother is thinking about buying a house near us, and we are looking for information. I will recommend her to hire a real estate agent that inspire trust and that she feels comfortable with.

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