How Do You Choose a REALTOR?
Did you know that choosing a REALTOR is a really big deal? Think about it... you are most likely selling or purchasing your largest investment that will affect your life for years to come. Most people ask a friend or family member for a referral, which is a good thing, but far too many just call up someone in the yellow pages or that they found online and work with them even though they don't have no information about the person, their sales records or a personal reference. So how do you choose a REALTOR?
First of all, understand that not all real estate agents are REALTORS. REALTORS are members of the National Association of REALTORS and subscribe to a high set of ethics. And while I'm on the subject of REALTORS, notice there is no A between the L and the T. We are REAL-TORS, not REAL-A-TORS.
I think we can narrow down what you need to know about an agent into three categories: Knowledge, Experience, and Likability. Hey... don't laugh at the last one because it's important, too!
First, knowledge. Any REALTOR can pull recent sales and current listings to see what homes are selling for. Knowledgeable agents go a few steps further, though. A knowledgeable agent will also be able to compare apples to oranges so to speak. There is a system that appraisers use to add and subtract values for features that your home has or doesn't have in comparison to the like sales in your area. For example, a home with granite flooring throughout is not 100% comparable to a home with carpet and laminate flooring. Although the dollar value may not be a lot, the home with granite will likely be more appealing to a buyer and that can add value. Knowing the competition is paramount when pricing a home.
Another area of knowledge is the history of the area. Some subdivisions include homes built by one builder, but many have homes built by multiple builders. The value in knowing this history is knowing that builder A built a different value of home than builder B. An agent that is not familiar with the history of the area likely would not know that and could price a home incorrectly without that knowledge which could result in either your home not selling very quickly or your home selling for too little.
Equally important is the future of the area. Why on earth would you buy a home in Chandler from an agent who lives and works in Goodyear? Do you think that agent will know that there's talk of putting in a new water treatment facility a block away from the home you are looking at? Could that affect your decision to buy that home? Maybe yes, maybe no. But you cannot make an informed decision without knowing what's happening in the local area. Choose an agent who lives and works in the area you are buying or selling. It matters.
Second up is experience. An experienced agent can better help you set the correct price for your home or provide you with information to help you make an offer on a home you wish to purchase. Experienced agents are also better negotiators. They can facilitate a win-win deal for everyone involved and are invaluable through the appraisal and inspection process. Experienced agents tend to have a larger sphere of peers and spend more time talking to more people which allows them to share their listings and buyer needs with a great number of people who can help. Additionally, experienced agents get the job done more often. Fewer deals fall apart when the agents involved are experienced professionals.
Lastly, you've got to LIKE the agent. It has to feel "right" in your gut. You are establishing a relationship with someone which will require mutual trust and respect, which are the keys to all successful relationships. If that trust and respect are missing, then move on. It's too important of a transaction to do otherwise.
Hopefully I've provided some good food for thought to help you choose the right REALTOR. It's an important decision that requires some real thought and exploration. I would love to meet with you to share more, so please call me anytime at 480-726-7000 or on my cell at 480-694-7733.
I'm here to serve you!
Bill Ryan, The Ryan-Whyte Team at REMAX Infinity
The Ryan-Whyte Real Estate Team
Infinity & Associates