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Choosing the Right Realtor: How to Select a Real Estate Agent Who Truly Represents Your Interests

The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Realtor for Your Needs

Whether it’s your first time or you’re an experienced home buyer or seller, the whole process tends to feel tumultuous and daunting. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re working with a dependable realtor who has your best interests in mind. Choosing the right realtor versus one that is inexperienced and untrustworthy could completely make or break your experience. Below is our comprehensive guide to finding the best realtor for your needs. 

Understanding the Role of a Realtor

Before choosing a realtor, it’s important to understand who a realtor actually is. The terms realtor, real estate agent, and broker, are often used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences between the three. 

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who represents buyers or sellers in real estate transactions. A realtor is a real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This membership requires adherence to a strict code of ethics and provides access to various professional resources and training. Not all real estate agents are realtors, but all realtors are licensed real estate agents. Finally, a broker is a step above a real estate agent. Brokers have additional education and licensing requirements, allowing them to own and manage real estate firms. 

Now that you understand the role of a realtor, let’s go over their responsibilities. For buyers, realtors are in charge of property searches, market analysis, scheduling and attending showings, negotiation of price and terms of purchase, paperwork, and referrals. For sellers, realtors are responsible for property evaluation, marketing strategy, staging advice, showings and open houses, negotiation, and closing assistance. 

The expertise of a good realtor is crucial to any successful real estate transaction. 

Qualities of a Good Realtor

Like any professional you hire for a service, you want to make sure that your realtor is equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to get the job done. Here are a few qualities you should try to identify when deciding on a realtor: 

  •  Experience 
    • Does your realtor have an adequate history of experience in the real estate industry? Do they have a knowledge of the local market? 
  • Communication Skills 
    • Is your realtor able to keep you informed on all parts of the buying/selling process? Are they timely in their responses to you and the numerous other parties involved, including lenders, inspectors, and attorneys? 
  • Negotiation Skills 
    • Does your realtor have the capability to effectively advocate for your interests? Do they seem able to negotiate through offers, counteroffers, and concessions to achieve the best outcome? 
  • Trustworthiness 
    • Does your realtor provide accurate information, disclose any conflicts of interest, and prioritize your interests? Do they seem like someone you’d want to build a long-term relationship with for any future transactions? 
  • Attention to Detail 
    • Is this realtor able to handle the numerous amounts of meticulous transactions involved in buying/selling a home? Can they ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements? 

By focusing on these qualities during your search, you will be able to easily identify realtors who are equipped to provide you with exceptional service. 

Where to Find Potential Realtors 

Now that you understand the role of a realtor and which qualities to look for when choosing the best realtor for your needs, it’s time to begin actually looking for one. There is no one-stop-shop for real estate professionals, but we’ve listed three sensible places to begin your search below. 

One of the most reliable ways to find a good realtor is through personal referrals from friends, family, and colleagues. If somebody you know and trust had a positive experience with a certain realtor, it’s likely that you will, too. This also extends to social media and online communities. Asking your Facebook group co-members, Instagram friends, or posting on forums like Nextdoor are also great and simple ways to yield recommendations from people in your community. 

Another beneficial method of finding a realtor is by attending open houses. Whether you are buying or selling, an open house setting allows you to interact with a realtor without any commitment and see how they handle prospective buyers, present properties, and answer questions. And, if you are buying a home, using this method to find a realtor could introduce you to more great properties in your area! 

If you’re still not getting any solid leads, you can also try visiting local real estate offices. These establishments are probably the closest thing to a one-stop realty shop that you can find. Visiting a larger, well-known office may be the right decision for you if you’re looking for a brokerage with an established reputation, broad network, and consistent processes. If you’re more interested in personalized service, local expertise, and flexibility in their operations, then you may have more luck visiting a small / boutique real estate office or an independent realtor. 

With access to the internet and online review sites like Yelp and Google, there is no shortage of ways to identify potential realtors in your area. As long as you make sure to keep your own specific needs in mind during your search, you should be able to find the right realtor for you in no time. 

The Final Steps to Narrowing Down the Right Realtor

Once you’ve found one or more realtors that have hiring potential, it’s time to ensure compatibility. Though you may be eager to finish the realtor selection process and move forward with the next steps of buying or selling your home, it’s important to remind yourself that choosing the right realtor versus one that is not a good fit could completely change your experience. This is where it’s most important to be thorough and take the appropriate amount of time to make your decision. 

To ensure compatibility, make sure you’re asking the right questions when interviewing potential realtors, such as: 

  • What are your areas of expertise? How many years of experience do you have?
  • What is your approach to marketing homes?
  • How do you prefer to communicate? What is your availability? 

It’s also crucial to confirm you understand your realtor’s fee structure, including commission rates and any additional fees. 

Another way you can set yourself up for success while choosing a realtor is to monitor for any suspicious or negative behavior. Before you sign any contracts, keep an eye out for some common red flags:

  • Consistent delays or failure to respond to inquiries. Communication is key!
  • Realtors who pressure you into making quick decisions
  • Lack of local market knowledge  
  • Negative reviews or unresolved complaints from past clients. 

If something about a realtor feels off to you, you’re probably right and it’s not worth your time to move forward with them. 

Conclusion: Trust Your Instincts

Using these tips, you can go confidently into the last step of the realtor selection process: making your final decision. As long as you trust your instincts and keep your own needs in mind, it’s likely that you will have no problem finding a suitable realtor. If you’re still not sure, you can consider a short trial period to see how the realtor works before fully committing. 

Remember, a good realtor is not just a facilitator, but a trusted advisor who can guide you through one of the most important transactions of your life. Someone who is passionate about their work and enthusiastic about helping you will likely go the extra mile to ensure your satisfaction. By doing your homework, identifying positive qualities, looking in the right places, and asking the right questions, you can and will find a realtor who truly represents your interests.

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