July 18, 2010

How to Choose a Realtor

Once you have decided to buy your first house, or sell your existing home, it’s time to look for a realtor. That doesn’t mean open the phone book and pick a name. You should plan on interviewing at least 2 or 3 local realtors. Ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations and/or call the local real estate offices. Make appointments to interview agents and plan on spending approximately 45 minutes with each agent. Having an interview tests the agent’s availability and willingness to spend time with you, how punctual they are gives you a chance to see how organized they are.

Here are some questions to ask:

1. How many houses have you sold in the last 12 months? You want to know how many units, not a dollar amount and you don’t care if they were salesperson of the year 5 years ago. Are the houses they helped buy or sell in your town or the area you want to buy your house in. You want an agent that knows your area well.
2. Is the agent a full time agent? (You don’t want a part time agent!) When an agent calls with a question about your house, they aren’t there. When you call them with a question, they don’t get back to you for hours. They leave the inspections, appraisals, etc. for someone else to do. A lot of part timers do not keep up to date on industry, legal and mortgage issues.
3. Names of past clients, any good agent should be able to supply you with buyer and/or seller references.
4. Do they know mortgages? Your agent needs to understand mortgages, pre-approvals, mortgage contingencies, FHA, deposits, etc.
5. Ask them to recommend 1 or 2 other top notch agents. It is a question they won’t expect, so you get to see how they handle the unexpected and it will test their integrity. It will also give you someone else to interview if you want. Let me know if I can help you or recommend 2 other agents. I can be reached at: Stevehoward@prudentialct.com or at 860-334-9336.