I’m not one to ignore the merits of a well-chosen dining spot, but when you’re spending more time choosing a restaurant versus picking a real estate agent, that’s a cause for concern. After all, choosing where to have a quick bite isn’t quite up to par with choosing your forever home—the latter of which is fraught by practical considerations and emotional significance.
Quite simply, buying a home could be the most expensive and emotionally charged purchase you would have to make in your entire life. This is why choosing the right realtor could be the most important decision you could make for your future. And when it comes to that, wouldn’t you want someone around to ensure that you make sound decisions from start to finish?
At the end of the day, you want to find someone you can trust and who you can rely on. I would definitely advise against signing the first agent whose sign or ad you see. You’d be surprised at how many agents claim to be number one when they actually know shockingly little about how the industry works, or worse, their own listings.
So the question is, how does one determine if the realtor they’re considering is the right one? Remember, because choosing the right realtor is such an important part of the home buying process, it’s as much about expertise as it is chemistry. You want someone who understands how the market works and who knows how to leverage on that to get you the best possible deal, but they also have to understand precisely what you want as a client. That said, I always advise homebuyers to consider these three things—
A few years in the industry combined with certifications are an excellent baseline to determine expertise. That’s not to say that someone just starting out in the field won’t do a good job, but two to three years in trenches does help realtors navigate the ins and outs of buying a home easier.
Realtors with additional certifications also help give clients more confidence. Granted, it’s just a piece of paper, but this also speaks of the realtor’s effort to understand their industry and market better, which could ultimately lend itself to you making better and more insightful decisions when it comes to choosing from the numerous houses for sale in South Carolina.
2. Go local
This leads us to the second point—go local. Real estate is a local game. To win, you need someon
e who plays in the same areas where you are looking to buy. They have to know the local market inside and out; they have to be familiar with everything from commute times, traffic issues, where the excellent schools are, even possible red flags that are flying under-the-radar. These are things that only a local realtor will know and understand.
Something as simple as whether the realtor you’re trying to work with is available to answer your calls or returns it promptly when you aren’t able to can speak a lot about their work ethic and how they value clients. If you find yourself always having to follow up and leaving messages because you’re unable to get ahold of someone, would you really want to entrust something as big as buying a home to them?
One final thing…
Remember, choosing a broker should be a combination of skill and chemistry. To figure out if you can work well together, you need to meet and sit down with them. It doesn’t have to be anything formal. In fact, I recommend that you meet over coffee—somewhere relaxed where you can have a casual conversation about how many homes he or she has sold and how they intend to put yours in the market.
You want someone knowledgeable and confident, at the same time, they should have good rapport with you. Good realtors are inherently able to anticipate your needs as well as address them. They understand that there are numerous factors behind this purchase—and that becomes critical to every decision you make throughout this process. In short, they have to hear, not just listen, to what you’re saying.