How to Pick The Right Realtor : The 7 Things You Should Consider & Why it Matters

Photo by  Richard Balog  on  Unsplash

Photo by Richard Balog on Unsplash

Whenever most realtors meet a new client/homebuyer there are the standard questions that they often ask:

Where are you looking to buy a home? (Neighborhoods)

What is your wishlist? (# of beds, #of baths, etc.)

What is your budget?

And if you live in San Francisco, has a bank approved (not just pre-approved) you for a loan? :)

While these are the most important questions, regardless of whether Im representing an individual or a couple, my job as the realtor is to not only find your your dream home at your perfect price (by keeping your best interests top of mind) but it’s also to understand the personality of you, the homebuyer(s).

If you’ve gone through the process, you’ll notice that each realtor has a method they employ when they work with a new client. I personally feel it’s my job to show a variety home options--even it it’s not on the clients wishlist--so they understand what their budget can afford. Beyond that my job also involves marrying the wants vs. the needs of my clients. The real question comes down to : What is the balance in terms of prioritizing between the two?

This is where picking the right realtor really matters :

1.) An Out of Town Realtor Could Put You at a Disadvantage

My number one advice would be to avoid out of town realtors because your best best will be to partner with someone local. Real estate markets like the one in San Francisco are very different from the norm and only a local realtor with local experience will understand the nuances.

2.) Does the Realtor Have Good References? (Obvious, but not always verified)

The best way to find out whether a realtor can find you what you want or as close to what you want is through their previous clients. When you meet a new realtor it is not unreasonable to ask to speak with other home buyers who have gone through the process with them. Some questions I would ask the homebuyers:

 Was the realtor knowledgeable?

Did you feel like he/she was looking out for you/your best interests?

 Did you feel like he/she was making the process simpler/less stress free?

This will give you a better ideas of the personality of the realtor.

3.) Is the Realtor Well Connected?

I mentioned in a previous post that a well connected realtor is important. As in any business, knowing people matters. Realtors like to work with other realtors they know, realtors they trust, and realtors who will make the home buying transition easier for themselves and their clients.

It’s especially important in a competitive real estate market like San Francisco. It isn’t uncommon for a home seller to have to choose between two similar offers that have no real difference. This is a prime example where the sellers realtor will recommend one offer over another, purely if they know and have worked with the realtor selling the home for the reasons listed above.

4.) What is the Realtors Sales Record?

How much in sales did the realtor have in the previous 2-3 years? The reason this is important is because it shows whether or not your realtor has been able to close deals, i.e. nab dream homes for their clients. A realtor with a low record might mean that they haven’t been able to compete with others, which, again, is important in a competitive market like San Francisco.

5.) Part of the Top Agent Network?

What is the Top Agent Network? Let’s just say it’s the Illuminati of the real estate world (kidding!). It’s actually a super exclusive network that only the top 10% of realtors are a part of. TAN realtors have access to early listings, off market/pocket listings & home access that other real estate agents aren’t privy to. It basically gives home buyers the inside scoop on homes that others wouldn’t know about.

6.) A Friend/Family Member Who is a Realtor May Not be Your Best Bet

Using your friends & family as your realtor is an interesting option, (I get it -- you want to go with someone you trust!) but they might also prevent you from being competitive in the region. I would recommend treating them like any other professional you would hire for a job by putting your relationship aside. Not doing your due diligence could put you in an uncomfortable position once you’re ready to buy. Will they get you the best price? Maybe, maybe not.

7.) Chemistry

This isn’t really a question but is more often a gut feeling. Making sure you ‘mesh’ and can trust your realtor is important.

As a realtor I wear many hats, and oddly enough, one of them is sometimes ‘marriage counselor’. I actually have a client that is a couple. One is more practical and can visualize things even if they aren’t perfect whereas the other half of the couple likes things polished and pristine when they first see it. While everyone wants “perfect” or move in ready, as we realtors like to call it, it’s not always feasible. Finding the balance means that they had to put their trust & faith in the fact that I could meet both of their needs. And that is exactly what I did.

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