Katie McBride's Blog
When you're buying or selling a house, there's a lot riding on your choice of a real estate agent. The right one can help you sail through the process with a minimum of frustration and setbacks. The wrong one can cost you precious time, money, and opportunities. Although things like experience, credentials, and track record are key factors to consider, personality and "chemistry" are vital elements of a successful and productive working relationship. Measuring these qualities can be a little tricky, but if the agent makes you feel comfortable, listened to, and optimistic, then they're a good prospect for your "short list." While it is possible that the first real estate agent you interview will be a perfect match for your needs, goals, and personality, it's generally advisable to meet with at least two agents or Realtors before making your final choice. Having more than one point of reference helps you make the best, most informed decision. Other than measurable criteria, such as recent sales, how long those properties were on the market, and how many listings they currently have, here are a few personal traits worth paying attention to:
- Excellent communication skills: This can run the gamut from being an attentive listener to having the ability to describe complex things to you in a way you can understand. This trait is especially important if you're a first-time home buyer or seller, and are relatively unfamiliar with the hurdles, requirements, and steps involved in qualifying for a mortgage, marketing a property, finding properties that meet your expectations (if you're in the market), and closing on a real estate sale.
- A positive attitude: While you don't necessarily want a real estate agent who is always looking at the world through rose-colored glasses (unrealistically), you do want to be working with someone who focuses on solutions, rather then problems. Let's face it: The search for your dream home or the ideal buyer for an existing home can sometimes be a bumpy ride. That's why it's important to pick an agent who is proactive, resourceful, optimistic, and results oriented.
- Responsive and accessible: A crucial thing to find out in your initial meeting with a real estate agent or Realtor is their preferred method of being contacted and how long they usually take to respond to phone messages and emails. The other side of the coin is the frequency with which they plan on contacting you with updates, progress reports, and reminders. Effective communication is always a two-way street, so if the conversation feels like they're talking at you, rather than to you, then you might want to point your search in another direction.