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What to Look for in a Realtor

Deciding to sell your home or buy a new one is a big decision, and with it comes even more decisions, including finding a realtor or real estate agent. Finding the right realtor can be overwhelming since they vastly vary from one another. However, we’ve outlined what you should look for when choosing your realtor or real estate agent.

Realtor or Real Estate Agent

Before we get more specific, let’s start with the basics. What is the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent? While both professions specialize in real estate, their differences come down to their specific certifications. A realtor must be a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), have an active real estate license, and be part of an existing real estate association. They must also agree to and follow NAR’s code of ethics. NAR requires that realtors put the interest of their client above their own.

A real estate agent, on the other hand, must complete a certain number of related coursework, earn their license, and pass a local state exam. So, while both require education and licensure, the biggest difference between the two is that real estate agents are not governed by NAR, whereas realtors must follow all NAR codes and regulations.

Define Your Needs

After you’ve decided whether you want to work with a realtor or a real estate agent, you can further narrow your search by defining what you need. Since realtors and agents vary so much in their knowledge, experience, and specialty, you will want to find someone who matches your specific needs and expectations. Consider the following:

  • What do they specialize in? Helping first-time buyers? Selling luxury homes? Finding rural properties?

  • How do they communicate? Often? Only if something important comes up? What is their availability?

  • What is their level of experience? Do they have years of experience? Or are they new and excited to hit the ground running?

  • Are they collaborative? Or do they take the lead and act on opportunity?

  • Do their services fall within your price range?

These are just a few of the questions you will want to consider when looking for the right realtor.

Do Your Research

It can be tempting to jump at the first realtor or real estate agent you meet. However, take your time; remember this is a big decision! There are several places to look and find your ideal real estate agent. Start by asking friends and family members for referrals. When you ask someone you know, you can be sure you’re getting advice from someone you trust. Online matching services are another great option. When you use an online service, you can search a larger network and receive personalized recommendations based on price range, location, and other needs. Once you’ve done your research and found a couple realtors or real estate agents who are a good fit, you can move onto the next step in the process — interviewing.

Start a Conversation

The best way to get to know someone is through conversation. Pick at least three real estate agents or realtors that seem like a good fit and open up a conversation. As you interview them, consider the following questions:

  • Can you describe some of your past transactions and projects?

  • What price range do you typically work in?

  • Do you work alone, or do you have a team?

  • What is your availability?

  • What is your preferred form of communication?

  • What can you tell me about the current market for buying and selling homes?

  • What does this market look like for homes within my price range?

Of course, you may need to ask more specific questions depending on your needs; however, this will help highlight the differences in each individual and ultimately lead to your final decision.

Look for These Qualities

Okay, you’ve interviewed your candidates, taken notes, but you still don’t know who to hire — we’ve got you. As you reflect on the interview, look for some of these qualities: The agent has at least three years of licensed experience; they have a record of helping clients in similar situations; they have good communication and local knowledge, and most importantly, they are honest and transparent in their work.

Taking the time to research and pick the right realtor or real estate agent will make the buying/selling process seamless, less stressful, and ultimately more successful!

If you are considering or interested in home customization, call Paul Gray Homes at 316-990-0000 to speak to an expert and get started!