Let's face it. For most people, needing a realtor is not something that happens very frequently in their lives, but when they need one, they really do need one. For that reason, the most common course of action is to choose a realtor suggested by a friend or respond to an ad in the newspaper or yellow pages. That can be a reasonably good place to start, but you'll want to delve a bit deeper before you make a final decision. This is a very important decision, since choosing the best agent for your unique needs will save you a great deal of time and effort, and will allow you to bypass much of the aggravation that can happen in the search for a new home or when trying to sell a house at the best possible price. Here are a few things to be aware of that will help you make sure you get the best realtor for your needs.
Not all Realtors are Created Equal
All realtors perform the same function, it's true. They all facilitate the buying and selling of property, but that's where the common ground ends. Be aware that you need a realtor who is an expert at buying and selling the exact type of property you are searching for, or you are trying to sell. What does this mean?
Every geographic area has its own unique set of buying and selling requirements. You'll want a realtor that has done business successfully in the specific area where you are buying or selling.
Real Estate is an occupation where experience is extremely important. If a realtor has done business in your area for decades, they have seen the trends, the price fluctuations and the ups and downs of the market as it relates to that specific area. They can price your property to sell at the highest possible price and they can find property for you and advise you on negotiating the lowest cost. These skills only come through living with the market for many years.
Realtors are Everywhere
Let's say you just decided to sell your house. You put the word out. Maybe you put up a "For Sale by Owner" sign. You will receive calls every day from realtors who want to represent you. The challenge won't be how to find a realtor, it will be how to find the best one for your needs.
Signs of a Good Realtor
A good realtor will not just tell you what you want to hear. They won't "talk-up" a house that you're thinking about buying and they won't tell you the house you're selling will get a high price in a bad market. They tell you the truth, the hard facts. That's why some of the best realtors get passed up by people who don't know better. It's also why you see so many houses in today's market that have a "Price Reduced" sign on them. These houses were not priced realistically to begin with and as a result have been on the market too long and will now be unable to pull in their top potential price. Why? It is most likely because someone didn't listen to their realtor about how to price the house or because they picked a realtor who didn't have the experience to price it correctly.
How to Proceed
Find your agent first. Interview at least five realtors. If you're selling, ask them how they would go about deciding on a good price. In today's market, the best answers are not necessarily the ones you want to hear. But the best realtors take the harsh realities into consideration and give you the full story up front. They don't sugar-coat or play games with you. Ask a lot of questions and look for realtors that give you full answers that are based on current realities, not pipe-dreams. There are plenty of agents out there who will tell you exactly what you want to hear to get the job. That's not what you need. The most important factor is that you find someone you can trust.
Cherie Mathews offers her services and advice at Spokane Homes for Sale.
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