How to decide on a Realtor

Published: 09th February 2010
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The decision to buy or sell a home is certainly one of life's biggest decisions, and often people don't do the necessary research in choosing a real estate agent that will best provide them superior service. Real Estate Agents are often chosen only on the recommendation of a neighbor or an ad in the Sunday paper. In reality, choosing the right real estate agent can save you time & effort as well as aggravation in finding the perfect home at your ideal price or selling your home quickly for a fair price.

Would you pick up the phone book to choose a brain surgeon? Absolutely not. You'd do lots of research! Now Real Estate is not exactly brain surgery, but the process of buying or selling a home can often be involved and the process can be made easier if you have someone who is an expert helping you.

People looking to buy a house often go about the process completely backwards. They open the newspaper, or go to the internet, and find a home that appeals to them. Then the agent that is selling that home is who they talk to first. Instead of first interviewing agents, then having that agent assist you in finding a house that is appealing.

First, you have to do your research before you sign with a realtor. Commissions are usually huge, so some real estate agents will attempt to sell you anything. They'll tell you every house is the best house they've ever seen, every room is the prettiest, and the neighborhood is one that you will fit right into. They'll tell you anything!

A real estate agent has a high fiduciary duty -- one of trust and confidence. It is the most important duty of any sales person or broker in real estate. An agent must disclose all the material facts of any transaction -- everything they know about the property, good or bad. If a realtor knows there are four inches of water in the basement every time it storms, they are obligated to disclose that fact.

Friends can give you a starting point, but don't hire a real estate agent solely on a friend's recommendation. Don't choose an agent based on personality alone, but make sure you can get along well. Some realtors specialize in high-end properties and won't give their best effort on homes under a certain price range. If they usually deal in fixer-uppers, they won't have the experience to navigate "Millionaire's Row". Make sure you choose a realtor who specializes in homes in your price range.

Always choose an agent that is also a Realtor. In addition to being licensed by the state to sell real estate, Realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors and must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. The National Association of Realtors has a code of ethics that will blow you away, and they are very strict in dealing with agents who don't abide by them. Also, only Realtors have access to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) through which members share listings and have access to many more properties than non-members.

Avoid dual agency. This is where one brokerage represents both the buyer and the seller. This next point is important: Choose an agent who listens to your needs and is patient. Real estate transactions can be tricky and the terminology overwhelming. You want an agent who will both know the answers to your questions and one that takes the time to explain them. It's very important to find a real estate agent whose personality you like, whose firm helps people find professional, trustworthy agents. You want them to be smart, professional, trained, and someone who works in the business full-time. You're going to spend a fair amount of time with this person whether you are buying or selling.

Also, if you can only look at houses on Saturday and your agent doesn't work on the weekend, look elsewhere. If a listing agent doesn't work on weekends, consider who will be responsible for showing the house on weekends or holding open house. Also, make sure your realtor will help arrange a house inspection, refer you to qualified mortgage professionals and real estate attorneys, and conduct a study of the property's value.


You should interview agents just as though you are hiring them for a job, because that is exactly what you are doing! And remember that you are doing the realtor a favor by giving him or her your business. If you're selling, ask prospective agents about their marketing plan for your specific home. Make sure your agent is offering more than just an MLS listing. Make sure they can offer you massive exposure through an aggressive online marketing campaign.

Here are a few questions that you should definitely ask a realtor when you meet with them:

Do you work full time? A realtor who can focus on your needs primarily would be in your best interest.

How long have you been in real estate? You should choose a Realtor with several years of solid experience."

How many homes have you listed during the past year?

Have you ever had any complaints from past clients?

Can you give me the names and phone numbers of past clients for references?

How will you communicate with me?

After reading Chris Swope's How to Choose A Realtor article, countless people have enjoyed a stress-free real estate buying or selling experience by visiting This Website. Once you get there you'll have access to unique real estate research tools and information.

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