Since rent prices kept skyrocketing in neighborhoods around Mackenna Wilson’s apartment, she and her new husband made the big decision to buy a condominium. However, before they could choose their first home, they found themselves asking the question: “How do you choose a realtor?”
“You feel like you’re throwing away money every month, when you’re renting,” she said. “And when you buy, you get to paint the walls. I’m so excited about that.”
The Wilsons, like many first-time homebuyers, had a lot of questions before they bought their two bedroom, two bathroom condo. So they wanted to find the best realtor to help answer them.
If you’re about to embark on your own house-hunting adventure, keep reading for Wilson’s tips and more advice from a seasoned real estate agent who has helped clients find their dream homes for decades!
How Do You Choose a Realtor in Your Area?
Not only was it important for Wilson to find a realtor familiar with the area where she wanted to buy, but it was also vital for her to find an agent who could help her find a home in her price range. She found that doing extensive background research on respective realtors helped her find ones who fit the mold.
“You should Facebook stalk any realtors you’re considering, because there are so many things that come up in the house-hunting process,” she said.
Websites like Zillow and Redfin show how many homes a realtor has recently sold, but buyers should remember that some agents might have smaller numbers in high-price markets, said John Lynch of Keller Williams Realty in the Cleveland, Ohio area.
“Go to your state’s government websites (like the Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing), and check to see if there’s anything wrong with (certain realtors),” he said. “You want to deal with somebody credible.”
Interview Several Local Realtors Before Choosing One
You not only want a qualified realtor working for you, but also an agent that you get along with, said Lynch.
“They may all know how to deal the deal, but it’s a people business,” he said. “You don’t need a best friend, but you need to be compatible and on the same page.”
During the interview, you should ask questions like: “What is your background? Do you know things about construction, what to look for in a house? Can you assist us in getting preapproval from lenders and suggest which home inspectors we should be dealing with?” said Lynch.
When Wilson and her husband started interviewing realtors, they found out quickly why it’s important to get along with a realtor.
“We talked to realtors at open houses, because we heard stories about people finding their dream realtor there,” she said. “But that didn’t happen for us. Some were super aggressive, tried to sell us on stuff we didn’t want.”
“Don’t be afraid to shop around,” she added. “I know people who have worked with multiple realtors. If you’re a loyal person, you may feel like a jerk. But you want to make the right choice, because it is a big investment.”
Ask Friends and Family for Realtor Recommendations
After interviewing several real estate agents, Wilson finally decided to choose a realtor recommended by family friend.
“It was a gut thing,” she said. “He was understanding about our budget, and we felt very comfortable talking to him and telling him ‘no.’”
You should also go online and read recommendations, if you don’t know anyone who has bought or sold a house recently, said Lynch.
“Contact your local realtor associations,” he said. “They’ll never give you one name, but maybe three or four that are great people and work in the area where you’re looking.”
“It’s super important to feel comfortable with whomever you choose,” said Wilson. “It’s ok to feel nitpicky and ask a lot of questions. You don’t need to trust them with your life, but you need to be comfortable trusting them with this huge investment.”