A realtor can be a valuable asset when buying or selling a home, but finding a competent realtor can be a challenge. Sellers want to move their property as soon as possible, and buyers do not want to be coerced into buying a property they may not want. A good realtor will thread the needle and address the concerns of both sides. Good realtors are out there, but where can they be found?
National Association of Realtors
Whether buying or selling a property, it is imperative that the realtor be a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Beware of any real estate salesman that is not a member. The NAR has a strict code of ethics, and any violations can be grounds for losing that membership.
Word of Mouth
This is probably the best way to find a good realtor. Knowing someone who has recently bought or sold a property can give an unbiased opinion of their realtor. They may even have valuable information regarding the company they work for. Word of mouth referrals may be difficult in the current real estate climate, but finding someone with firsthand experience can provide insight that cannot be found any other way.
Check the Established Companies
The large real estate firms can provide information regarding their employees that will help when selecting a good realtor. Any company that refuses to provide basic info is a sign of trouble and a cue to move on. A good company, or even the realtors themselves will provide recent sales information, background, licensing, and other information necessary to make an informed decision. Beware of the no-name firms though. It is possible that they are legitimate, but companies that balk at providing information on their realtors, including licensing information are to be avoided.
Once a realtor, or a pool of potential realtors has been selected, these questions will help decide if they are the right realtor for a particular deal.
1. Qualifications: The NAR designation should be mandatory, but there may be other designations or awards that can further highlight the realtor’s qualifications.
2. Referral information: This may be one of the least asked questions of a realtor. A realtor with a high referral rate is an indicator that past clients were happy with their performance. A good realtor will be happy to share the information, but at the same time, it is a good idea to ask to talk to a few past clients and get their opinion.
3. Do they require an exclusive agreement? Beware of these realtors if the answer is yes. An exclusive agreement can tie up the seller’s property, as well as prompt a commission from the buyer, even if they did not have anything to do with them buying the home. An exclusive agreement only benefits the realtor. If they disagree, ask them to explain in detail.
4. How committed are they? Nobody wants to be just another client on a list. Property sellers want to sell and need to know what the realtor is going to do to make that happen. Buyers are in a market where the prices can change rapidly in a short time. They need a realtor to act fast on their behalf.
5. Can an attorney view any contracts between the parties? If a realtor balks at this, walk away immediately. Any legitimate realtor will have no problem with an attorney looking over any document.
A significant amount of money will be changing hands in a real estate transaction. Having a good realtor is as valuable as having a good attorney. A bad one can be disastrous. Use the above guidelines and remember that the realtor works for you, not the other way around.