Choosing a Realtor ... and choosing well... means the difference between selling in a short time frame and at a price you'll like, or being disappointed. If you're a buyer, it means the difference between finding the home you'll love, or wasting time and energy looking at the wrong houses.
A Realtor brings different talents into play with buyers or with sellers, but a few common qualities differentiate a dedicated professional Realtor from a lazy "desk drone."
Keep the following in mind the next time you're choosing a person to represent you in one of the largest financial transactions of your life, and keep looking if the answers are "wrong."
First impressions count: Is she dressed appropriately? YOU may be able to overlook your agent looking like they should either be out washing the car or attending a gala evening event... but remember that other people may not, and this person will be representing you.
Does he have time for you? Is the agent willing to listen to your needs and concerns before responding? Is she willing to discuss and explain and answer questions?
Is this agent available to answer questions and show property evenings and week-ends... or only during business hours?
Is this agent familiar with the territory? Is she familiar with other homes (or land) in the area? Can he tell you selling prices and how those other properties compare to the one you want to buy... or sell? Does she know what's going on nearby... such as new housing developments, shopping centers, proximity to schools, etc.?
Does the agent have experience in the kind of transaction you need? For instance does he know how to handle selling an estate property, or know the steps to get a short sale closed before the buyer gives up in disgust?
If you're a buyer, will the agent accompany you or simply send you out with a map and a wave... telling you to come back if you see something interesting?
If you're a seller, will the agent have time to view your property within the next few days? Will he prepare a market analysis so you can see how it fits with the competition?
Will the agent point out things you can and should do to prepare your home for market? How many ways will this agent promote your home or land? If MLS is the only advertising then your results will be less than spectacular.
Will this agent point out areas of concern: Inspections and permits that you as a seller should provide to buyers... and that you as a buyer should ask for? And will he tell you WHY they are important?
Will he help you locate the inspectors, fill out permit applications (or find recorded documents) and make sure things are ready in a timely fashion?
If you're a seller... does the agent truly like your home or land? Does she like the neighborhood? If so, there's a much better chance that he'll sell it. If not, the odds go down.
What do your instincts say? Are you comfortable with this person? Can you talk things over and not feel intimidated? Do you sense that she cares more about doing a job for you... or getting a paycheck? Bottom line: is this someone you could like - someone you will enjoy talking with often over the next few weeks?