There are millions of real estate agents in the US, and since you have to be an agent before you can be a realtor, it’s easy to assume that there are plenty of people ready to help you buy and sell.
While it’s not necessarily easy to become a realtor, anyone is eligible to take the exams and apply for a license after they pay the fees. With all of these options available, you might feel a little spoiled for choice.
How can you choose a realtor when there are so many near you? Simply put, it comes down to specific factors that help you judge their capabilities.
Keep reading to get our top 11 tips for hiring a realtor that you can trust.
1. Create a Shortlist
One of the easiest ways to find and hire a realtor is through the internet. You should look up real estate agency choices, as well as realty companies, online to see what options are even available to you first.
You can easily get a good idea of what sorts of professionals are near you and create a shortlist of who you think you might want to work with. This gives you something to start with as you narrow down the search even more with the following steps.
2. Check Out Online Reviews
Once you have a basic idea of who you might want to hire as your realtor, you can start looking at their reviews. Customer reviews are a great indication of experience and professionalism because you can get insight into what the other side of the story has to say. Even if a realtor tells you that all of their previous clients were happy, that doesn’t necessarily make it true.
Keep in mind that when people leave reviews, it’s generally because they were extremely happy or extremely dissatisfied. Always take reviews with a grain of salt, but remember to keep them in mind before your final decision.
3. Ask Your Friends
Your friends or family members have likely bought or sold property before, and if they live locally to you, they may have recommendations. You can take these into consideration, but remember that your needs may have been different than theirs.
For example, if your parents sold their family home with five bedrooms, they may have wanted a different type of realtor than you, who is looking for a two-bedroom condo.
4. Set up a Meeting
After you have some idea of who you want to hire, ask if they will meet with you in person. This is the only real way to know if you have a good rapport in person, which we go into more detail about later.
You also want to do this because you want to make sure that they are professional. If they keep their meeting with you, show up on time, are prepared for your questions, and know what your expectations are, those are all great signs.
5. Consider Specializations
Some realtors are experienced with looking for condos while others are experienced with looking for multi-million dollar homes. Even though realtors, in general, should be able to help you find what you’re looking for (or sell what you’re selling), it’s better to find someone that has a specialty.
Specializations aren’t something that realtors necessarily get trained in, but it comes down more to their experience with past clients. Hands-on, practical experience selling or buying a house in a certain area helps to create a specialization.
Another thing to consider is how much knowledge the realtor has about the local area and the types of homes available. If they seem able to give you the information you need, you can rest assured that they know what they are doing in relation to your needs.
6. Think About Their Network
Most realtors have a network of professionals that they can work with and trust to do certain jobs. Some examples are contactors that can do basic home repairs, electricians for electricity concerns, or even pest control companies for bug problems.
If a realtor doesn’t really know who to call when you’re wondering how much it might cost to fix something in a home you want to buy, it can put a lot of extra work on you to do that digging. Instead of worrying about this, you may want to consider asking your realtor options what types of professionals they have in their network that can help with the buying or selling process.
7. Take a Look at Current Listings
You can ask to have the realtor show you their current listings or you can simply look them up online. They will be available on the real estate agency’s website for you to review.
The biggest reason that you would want to look at them online is that you want a realtor that knows how to use the internet to their advantage. A lot of buyers and sellers take to the internet to learn about homes that are either for sale or for purchase. A realtor that isn’t using that to their advantage is going to struggle with making your property look attractive.
Another reason to view this is that you want to be sure the realtor actually knows about working with properties like yours. It’s a good indication of whether or not they will be successful with your business.
8. Pay Attention to Communication
Not all professionals are good at communicating with their clients, so you need to be the judge of this before you hire someone. When you meet with them in person, pay attention to their body language and the way that they speak to you.
Are they someone that looks you in the eye when they talk, or do they make you feel comfortable to be around them?
You want to be able to trust your realtor and develop an honest relationship about what you like or don’t like in relation to property. It’s easier to do this when you have someone that you have a connection with and are comfortable being around.
It’s also important to look at how they communicate through text or email. Many times, you’ll be talking with your realtor over the phone, by text, or online, so they need to be clear and understandable in all forms of communication.
9. Ask About Licensure
Real estate agents and realtors alike are required to have licenses to operate in their states. You need to verify that any realtor you want to work with is eligible to be a realtor within your state, but you should also check that there have been no disciplinary actions taken against them.
This information would be available online, so it’s worth checking out if you have any doubts about the ability or truthfulness of your realtor options.
10. Consider Their Experience
While you shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover, experience really matters in real estate because it constantly is evolving. Just like you don’t want someone that doesn’t have any experience at all, however, you also don’t want someone that has been doing it for years and is just stuck in their ways.
You should look for a realtor that has experience, is willing to be flexible and adapt, and knows how the industry has evolved over the years. These are telltale signs that they really know what is necessary to buy or sell property successfully and professionally.
11. Go With Your Gut
The final tip we have for hiring a realtor is to pay attention to what makes you feel comfortable and content. You are the one that makes the final decision, so it needs to be a choice that you make with all other factors in mind.
As an example, if you find a realtor that is pretty new to the game, but you really trust that they will be able to do the job well, you can make the decision to hire them instead of someone with more experience. It all comes down to what you think will be best for your property needs.
Look Into Hiring a Realtor Today
As you start to consider hiring a realtor, there are a lot of things to think about, including your home style, their experience, and the general location. Fortunately, realtors are all over the place, so you’ll have plenty of different people to think about hiring. It comes down to what you’re comfortable doing and what realtors leave the best impression on you.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, be sure to take a look at some of our other tips and tricks related to real estate next.