Choosing a Realtor

Choosing_a_realtorWhile we may have decided to sell our house in record time, we took our time finding a Realtor. Granted, we shoved what would probably been two weeks of interviews into one week. I spoke to five Realtors over the course of a week, meeting with them during lunch and after work. Why so many? Because when we bought our first home our Realtor was not the right fit for us. We ended up doing a lot of the leg work ourselves, which was difficult as first time home buyers.

What We Looked For in a Realtor

We didn’t want to make the same mistake again, so we prepared a list of what we were looking for in a Realtor before talking to anyone.

  • No Friends or Family: Sorry, I love you all. But I don’t want to mix friends/family with business. It’s a bad idea. I don’t want to feel guilty for bothering you. Or get angry with you if something goes wrong.
  • Understands What We Want: We aren’t conventional home buyers. We’re in our late 20s and downsizing, rather than upsizing. We want something that needs some love, something that we can personalize. Carpet in the bathroom and 80s cabinetry? Yes please! Don’t want turn key, there’s no fun in that.
  • Pro-Active: Our Realtor from our first home was really good with helping us through the negotiating, inspection, and buying process. She was not great at being proactive to find us a home. We want someone who will do searches and weed out things for us.
  • Buying/Selling Agent: We wanted our buying and selling agent to be the same person. I don’t want to have to keep track of all the different people I have to contact. I want one point person to deal with. So in addition to helping us find a home, we want someone who can sell ours quickly.
  • Realistic: Does the Realtor give me a real expectation of what to expect my home to sell for, or are they giving me a number that ‘ll make me feel good? I looked at the percentage of asking price to figure this out. If it was close, I knew the Realtor would price my house correctly.
  • Quick Responses: I know you have a smartphone. If I email you in the morning, I really expect a response by the end of the business day. Even if it’s just a “I’m sorry, I’ve had a lot of showings today. I’ll respond to your email by X time tomorrow.” I know things come up, just let me know.
  • Online Savvy: People find homes online. I wanted a Realtor who would utilize the tools available on the internet to get my house sold.

Tips for Realtors

As I spoke to people, asking questions around the above needs, I started to get a better idea of how this home selling thing works. I also got a good idea of what I didn’t want in a Realtor. There were things some Realtors did that made me take them off the list almost immediately.

  • Do Bring a Resume: Make no mistake, I am interviewing you for a job. Bring me your resume. I want to see hard, concrete numbers of your accomplishments. How many days do your homes spend on the market? I want this year and last. How close to listing price do you get for your clients? What do you provide above anyone else? Make me want to hire you.
  • Don’t Guess: One Realtor tried to guess our pre-approval amount, and guessed a lower than the amount we were approved for on our first home. I was wondering if he was going to guess my weight next. It’s tacky and unprofessional.
  • Do Be Prepared: I want to get the feeling your did a bit of research to prepare to speak to me. Maybe look at my current home (I sent you some links afterall). Just do something that makes me feel like you took a bit of time before seeing me.
  • Don’t Talk About Being Featured: The link to Pure Geekery is in my email signature. One Realtor told me he’d like to be my Realtor so he could be featured on my blog. First of all, that’s not what Pure Geekery is about. Secondly, I’ll feature you if I feel you’ve done a good job. Don’t ask, unless you intend to buy adspace.

In the End…

We choose a Realtor who put together good presentation, gave us his statistics for the past few years (as well as the averages for that time frame), and who knew the area. Someone who had been in contact with us throughout our Realtor search process, making sure he was sticking out without being pushy. He didn’t question our desire for a smaller fixer-upper home, and even seemed to understand it. And he knew the areas we were looking very well.

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