It’s very interesting to learn about the reasons people choose their Realtor. You’d think that when making one of the largest financial purchases of your life, that the choice would be made very thoughtfully and carefully, but for some reason that’s not usually so. The world of real estate is a competitive one, especially in the DMV, so you’re going to come across a lot of agents working HARD to get your business. Don’t feel pressured to go with someone because they’re being pushy; you literally have ALL the power! Take your time and choose wisely, I promise it will pay off in the end and you can hopefully find your Realtor for life. There are a lot of things you should be taking into consideration when deciding on your Realtor. Here are my top 3 factors for deciding on your agent:
You’re about to spend a lot of time together, so you better make sure you LIKE the person you’re about to embark on this home-buying/selling journey with! Make sure they have good listening skills, otherwise you’re about to get real annoyed repeating yourself. Someone you feel comfortable with is a must, don’t feel bad if it takes a long time to find the perfect place – I’ve talked to multiple first time home buyers who feel like they have to ask “what if it takes 6 months to find something we love?”, my response is always the same. I want to prepare you for what’s about to go down as much as possible, not so that we can get this done fast, but so that your expectations are set from the start and we can be ready to make a move when the perfect place does comes around. The number one priority is to make sure clients needs and wants are met.
In the age of tech that we live in, everyone and their mother wants an answer, like, yesterday. If the person you’re prospecting to be your agent doesn’t show you this from the start (and continue it throughout your relationship), get outta dodge. Just think about it, if they’re not prompt with you, they likely won’t be with other Realtors and could jeopardize your transaction. Things move really fast, especially in our area, so you and your Realtor both need to be able to keep up; if they can’t, you’re going to be SOL.
This is a big one, your agent should be looking out for your best interests, not their paycheck. It’s important to trust your Realtor, so you don’t have to worry about anything but selling your home, or finding the perfect new place (or both). If you get that awful salesman feeling, or anything makes you uncomfortable about how the agent interacts with you (or others), move on – it’s just not worth it. I’ve heard a few horror stories recently that really bugged me, luckily, the buyers backed out before getting too far into the transaction, but they did delay their home search (and subsequent purchase) by 6 months! This agent was lacking in both honesty and listening skills, leading these first time home buyers to almost buy a townhouse that had been converted from a 3 bedroom to a 2 bedroom (what?!), and had a home gym built in the garage (not just equipment in the garage – like converted into a full home gym). So many things wrong here – you have to think about resale – this seller took away a bedroom (knocking down a wall to make a huge master), and against the rules of the HOA, converted the garage into a gym. Had these people gone through with this deal, they would have had a shit ton of work to do just to get the home back up to par with the rest of the neighborhood. No bueno. Unfortunately, he wasn’t looking out for their best interests…it’s rather unclear what he was looking out for. Either way, they got super turned off to buying a home – and I don’t blame them, but what a freaking bummer! This is supposed to be so exciting, but they pulled the short straw with this guy.
Experience can be helpful, but it shouldn’t be the only factor influencing your decision to choose a Realtor. So many things have changed in the world of Real Estate over the last 20 years, things are not as they used to be. Technology has taken over, convenience is imperative, if people don’t want to talk to you – they won’t! Think about it – if someone called the house phone 15-20 years ago, the call would be answered. Today, only 20% of people in the US think that having a landline is necessary. 20%! That’s the typical Real Estate Agents MO – basically acting as telemarketers to find clients; either that or door-knocking. Same deal, right? Someone came to the door, it was answered. Not anymore, though; as all things have, the world of real estate has changed.
It makes me think of when I was in college learning about nutrition. I only graduated from college 10 years ago, yet everything I learned then was WRONG! I’m not talking about the physiology of the human body – the way nutrition and the body worked was legit, BUT all of the guidelines and recommendations, everything we were taught to tell our clients/patients was totally incorrect.
The highly technological world we now live in is so crucial in real estate – information is at yours and your Realtors fingertips, but you have to know how and where to look. Your agent should be well versed and able to navigate you through the process from beginning to end – if these 3 traits are not imminently clear to you in your first or second meeting, find one of the other 40,000 Realtors in the DMV who has them.