Not all Realtors® are the same!
In fact, not all real estate agents are even Realtors®. A Realtor® is an agent that is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and therefore, adheres to NAR’s code of ethics. A professional Realtor® not only practices good business relations, but also knows the market, has information on past sales and current listings and will provide their background and references.
It’s important to meet with and evaluate multiple candidates when choosing a real estate agent.
Some questions you should ask include:
- How long have you been in the business?
Like in any career, with time comes experience and a greater knowledge and understanding of the industry. The number of years is a good indicator of this, but also how many buyers and sellers they have worked with that have similar situations, needs or requirements.
- What is your speciality area and type of property?
When buying or selling in a particular location, it’s essential that you choose an agent who’s not only familiar with the area, but also has experience in handling transactions in that area. They should be neighborhood experts, and understand any special rules or regulations pertaining to that area. You should also ask whether the agent specializes in the type of property you are buying or selling. Condos, single family homes, lots and new construction may have different paperwork requirements and fees that are important to consider.
- How will you market my property?
Many agents will market your property on their website, run ads in the newspaper and host an open house. These are good practices, but shouldn’t be the only efforts taken. Targeting the right buyers is key to getting your home sold fast and for the price you want. Your Realtor should understand how to market your home, who to market to, and they should have the means of reaching this target market directly.
- How will you communicate with me?
This sounds simple, but oftentimes, getting in touch with your Realtor is not. Understanding the preferred means of communication will help the entire process run smoothly. This is especially important for Sanibel and Captiva real estate, where buyers and sellers are often communicating remotely, sometimes even through different time zones.
- Do you have references I may contact?
Most Realtors have a number of happy clients who they’ve worked with in the past that would be willing to tell you a little about their experience with the agent and agency. Referrals and repeat customers are a good sign that people are pleased with the service and experience of working with an agent.
Some questions to ask YOURSELF before making your final decision…
- If they are charging less commission, am I going to also receive reduced service and attention?
The saying, “Pay a little more, get a little more,” is true. Those offering reduced commissions are often offering less service and personalized attention in the buying and selling process.
- What’s more valuable – someone who listed 30 homes and only sold 20, or someone who listed 10 and sold all 10?
The latter shows someone who understands the market and knows the prices in which homes are selling. This could also be a sign the agent is a skilled negotiator and committed to selling your home.
- What’s my gut instinct with this agent?
Overall, you need to have faith and trust in your agent during this important process. If you have any doubts or hesitations, it’s best to go with your instinct and continue searching for the right agent for you.
Remember that selecting a real estate agent is not a “one size fits all” business. Try not to be so “wowed” at the listing or showing presentation, or impressed by the price they suggest that you forget to ask the important questions and do the appropriate research.
More tips on selecting the right real estate agent:
U.S News – 10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Realtor.com – What to Consider When Choosing a Realtor