Let me first start by saying that I have seen at least a dozen different articles on how to choose a Realtor. Almost all of which were written by professional writers – not by professional Realtors. Hence, I have yet to see a correct one written. Not that it should be surprising since most people’s perception of what makes a good Realtor is completely mistaken. Nor is it anybody’s fault. It’s just that 90% of what a good Realtor does is invisible to the general public, and apparently just as invisible to the people who have written the articles. Most of the articles I’ve seen usually list a few common sense things to do, and a few common sense questions to ask, and on the surface they seem right. However, from someone inside the industry, nothing could be further from the truth.
First, I’d like to go over some of the standard methods that always appear in these articles, and then I’ll add my own.
Common method #1
“Call three Realtors and invite them into your home.”
That sounds O.K., but my suggestion is you call seven or eight Realtors and then after a brief phone interview, narrow the list down to three Realtors. As per 80/20 rule, 4 out of 5 Realtors are the wrong ones to use. By calling only three, chances are you might not find a top 20% Realtor, and that’s the only type you want to do business with.
Common method #2
“Ask for recommendations from friends.”
Again, sounds good on the surface, but what type of transaction did your friend have.If your friend was buying a house and you are selling one, this is no help. The reason for this is that the skills and expertise needed when marketing a home (listing) are far more complex than those required when working with a buyer. Did the Realtor do an outstanding job, or were they just really nice to talk to? The majority of the weaker agents tend to gravitate towards working with buyers.
Common method #3
Ask for letters of reference.
Sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? The only problem is most of the reference letters I’ve seen used by agents also happened to be written by them. Unfortunate but, usually true. Which leads me to method #4 and the question of confidentiality.
Common method #4
Ask for the names and numbers of some of the agents past clients, so you can call them.
There’s a problem here. Client information is supposed to be confidential. An important item with any professional is confidentiality, you expect it from your lawyer, and you should also expect it from your Realtor. Any agent who is willing to talk about someone else’s business, is going to be just as willing to talk about yours.
Common method #5
Look for a Realtor that is active in your neighborhood.
This one I agree with a 100%, provided they are active in that neighborhood because of their abilities, not because they’ve lived on the block for ten years and know everyone.