Sunday, July 9, 2023 / by Patricia Shipley
Who do you hire for the most important purchase you will ever make?
The task of finding someone you trust to guide you through the home buying process is daunting at best. At worst, it's a minefield of sales pitches, discounted agents and a lot of sugarcoating. So what's the best way to find a Realtor who is going to work in you best interest? Research. Interviewing them. Asking the right questions. So we have put together a list of criteria for our clients on the top 8 things to look for in an agent.
At the end of the day you want someone who plays aboveboard, someone who does the right thing even when no one is looking. While you may want a good deal or someone who will do anything to get a good deal, that will come back and bite you. A Realtor that knows their role and deals fairly with all parties really is working in your best interest. They are covering you, your asset and your money. If they are willing to do another party dirty in a transaction, they are willing to do you dirty as well. You want someone who will tell you the truth, even if it isn't the truth you want, and then will help you find the solution that best fits your family's needs and figure out a solution.
Did you know Realtors are required to take continuing education after the get their original license? We are. Many take only the bare minimum, others go much deeper in their knowledge. Some are involved on a state level, even a national level. The point is, there is always so much to learn in this industry and it is constantly shifting and changing. If you do not have an agent who is studying the market, studying contract changes and laws you can lose out on money. You can lose out on the house you desperately wanted because your agent wasn't aware of what offers are winning in this market, in your price point. There are so many facets to real estate, and many free classes. Be sure your agent is education minded, so they are up to date on what is going on in a market that can change month to month.
Now everyone starts somewhere. No one is saying new agents are not competent and hard working. In fact, the smart ones get a strong mentor, coach or join a team that is loaded with experience and knowledge. A seasoned agent is going to be able to look at a deal and see how many things could go wrong, and prepare the contract and documents to anticipate that. Even then, a 10 year agent can be blind sided. That being said, if a newer agent is being guided by an experienced team lead, coached by them and learning from their previous mistakes, you are significantly more covered than a brand new agent that does not have strong support.
4. Win-Win Mentality
A Realtor that can play well with others is a must. While they have the responsibility to put your interests ahead of everyone else's, including their own, it is NOT in your interest for them to pick a fight with the other side for no reason. They must go in ready to negotiate on your behalf in good faith. They must be solution driven when an inevitable bump in the road comes along. How do we get past this? How do we move forward? This is the problem: what is the solution? Being reasonable and professional with the agent on the other side has closed more deals than bullying, insulting and yelling. While you want someone to fight for you, you don't want them to pick fights unnecessarily and lose the house because of it. They can be a fighter when it is time to be a fighter. In truth, it rarely needs to come to that.
If you have an agent showing you suburbia when you asked for chickens, a two story when you specifically said you cannot handle stairs, or a house in the busiest part of town after you told them that's why you are moving to begin with... your agent is not listening. An agent needs to sit down and understand your motivations, desires and vision for your future. If you are not heard, or feel heard, it is going to be a long transaction.
6. Sets Boundaries
Sets boundaries? With who, with me? YES! You want an agent that sets boundaries for everyone. If you are listing your house with an agent, and you don't want anyone in your home on Saturdays because it is family day, they will do it without hesitation! Someone who sets boundaries will not question when their clients set them. The other reason you want this quality in your Realtor is that if he or she says yes to everyone all the time, they have no balance. They get worn out. They get scattered, miss things and burn out. Does that sound like someone who can stay on top of the contract? So when you have an agent that says, I can show you this afternoon, tomorrow morning or Thursday at 2... that is a boundary where they are saying I have these time slots available. What works for you? So yes, boundaries are a good thing!
Patience is paramount. A home is a huge purchase, for your family, for your finances and for your future. Even in a fast moving market you don't want to feel rushed. If a specific house is a hot commodity and in multiple offer, yes, you would have to move quickly. It is your agent's job to explain that that house will not last a day, it is not their job to insist you write an offer now. Sometimes you may miss out on that 1st house, but your agent is there to be on your time. This isn't a purchase that should be rushed, it should be thought through and your agent's one and only job is to walk you through it and patiently answer any questions that you have.
Connection is last on the list for a reason. It is not the most important quality. It is a huge plus and leads to trust more easily, but all the above criteria should be weighed more heavily than this one. As it is, connection is what drives relationships and builds something great. Being on the same wavelength as another person nurtures communication and brings about incredible experiences. Truly, purchasing a home does not have to be overwhelming or scary, and connection can make that happen.
Just remember, this is the most important purchase you will ever make. Make sure you have the right people on your team!