By Scott Rutherford
hether you're buying or selling your own home or looking to invest in real estate, finding the right realtor who fits your needs is crucial. But what do you look for? Obviously, you want a realtor who's effective, but there's more to picking the right real estate agent for you than simply comparing the numbers.
Many people do choose their realtor based on the agent’s commission or how high the agent suggests they list their home. While you certainly want the best list price possible (if you’re selling, at least) and you don’t want to pay more in commissions than you must, The Balance calls basing your decision on which realtor to work with on those factors alone “the biggest mistake that home sellers make.”
It can also be a mistake to choose an agent simply because they’re among the top sellers. While high sales do show that they’re ambitious, it doesn’t follow that the top sellers always do what’s in your best interests.
Rather, one of the top things you should be looking for in an agent, whether you are buying or selling, is one who has experience working in the area you are trying to sell your home in or the area you want to move to.
A quality realtor with experience working in the area you want to move to (or out of) should be able to field questions about the area. They should be able to readily produce numbers on homes that have sold in the area, giving you a more accurate appraisal. If you’re selling, they’re also more likely to be able to help you quickly find a home that meets your wants and needs.
Take the time to interview a few realtors. See which ones really want your business, the ones who reply quickly to emails and calls, the ones who make it a point to connect with you, the ones who can tell you up-front how they intend to market your specific home. Don’t be afraid to ask about their advertising budget. A realtor who advertises a lot might charge a higher commission, but realtors who understand the importance of marketing and advertising will likely sell your home quicker and at a better price.
Of course, you’ll also want to ensure that you find the agent agreeable. The process of buying or selling a home can be a pleasure or a tremendous stress, and an agent who has your interests at heart and with whom you enjoy communicating can go a long way toward making the process easier.