Tips for choosing a Realtor.
Maybe you’ve read tips on websites about how to choose a Realtor or real estate agent to help with the sale or purchase of your home. I’d like to add some honest and blunt perspective as a client who recently used a Realtor for both transactions. I bought a house south of Denver, in Castle Pines, in late 2012, after I relocated from Kansas City.
First, let’s mention a basic question that some people ask themselves: “Why even use a Realtor at all? “ Lots of us are capable people, confident in business deals. We think “I can do this all myself. It can’t be that complicated and I’ll save money.” I thought that briefly also. But the truth is that real estate is complicated and you can get into real trouble and wind up with regrets by making the wrong decisions, especially if you are moving to a new area unfamiliar to you.
Also read: Relocating to Douglas County, CO
On the saving money issue: If you’re buying a house, it’s usually the seller who pays the commissions of the Realtors involved, including yours. So if you have a Realtor showing you homes, and representing you in negotiating and closing a purchase, it costs you nothing. No kidding. You get that expertise for free. I think that’s an incredible advantage. Frankly, I don’t know why any buyer would pass it up. And, when I was a seller, I found it was money well spent to have an expert Realtor doing the tons of things necessary: the right marketing, home showings, contracts, negotiating tactics and much more.
Now, here are a few brief tips I have after buying a home with a Realtor in Douglas County, Colorado recently.
1–Knowledge: Because I came from out of state to south Denver, I wanted a Realtor who knew the details of the area in every aspect. I quizzed my Realtor on good neighborhoods, schools, resale potential, where crime problems are, where soil problems are, water delivery problems and rates, new developments proposed and so on. The Realtor should speak with confident authority and detailed information to you about these issues to protect you from a bad location. Then he should know about the current local housing market conditions, evaluating and inspecting a home, local tactics of negotiating, state laws on real estate, contracts and closing.
2–Experience and training: Your Realtor ideally should have many years experience in the exact area you are buying or selling, and he or she should share details about that. And he should have good past training, credentials and on-going training described on his or her website. Read his website carefully and do an Internet search of his name to see if any past problems pop up.
3–Fast communication: I wanted a Realtor who communicates fast and pro-actively with me. And I told him that. When I called or texted a question, I appreciated a reasonably quick reply because I know that houses sell fast in the Denver market. If my Realtor can’t
respond quick, he’s too busy to take care of me. And I wanted pro-active communication, which means I want to get regular emails with MLS details of homes in my price range and area, and him staying in touch with me.
4–Personality and honesty: I also wanted a personality I can like. If you’re going to be driving around for hours with this new friend, they should be friendly and compatible with you. And they need to be upfront honest about pointing out problems they see in a home to warn you off a bad purchase, instead of ignoring problems in hopes you will buy the house anyway. Ask the Realtor “What problems do you see in this house?” It’s much better to have a Realtor who really wants to match you with a sound house you’ll love.
5–Finding your Realtor: I found my Realtor in south Denver just from seeing his name on a sign in the front yard of a home I was interested in. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you check him out carefully. But a referral from a friend is also a good avenue for choosing a Realtor.
The key from this client’s perspective is that a good Realtor is an expert working for you, giving you guidance and information you likely would never have on your own. Don’t be afraid to find and use that expertise.
Steve Baska was a client of Realtor Steve Beam in 2012.