How to Pick a Realtor: 6 Simple Questions

How do most buyers choose their Realtor? Unfortunately, most get their Realtor by default. That means they either called on an ad or met someone at an open house and got “reeled in”. Now that isn’t necessarily bad, but it could be.

It doesn’t matter where you meet your Realtor – but there should be an interview process of some kind where you determine their skill and expertise.

At the very least, ask these 5 questions and 1 non-question:

  1. How long have you been in the business? Even if they are really nice, 6 months is not a good answer. The interesting thing about real estate is new problems come up all the time. It’s not like there are 4 problems that come up and once you master those you are set. The best case is that you have someone who has solved hundreds of varying problems over a decade or more.
  2. Are you a full-time Realtor? The only time to work with a part-timer is if they have 30 years experience and are winding down. They still have the experience and connections. Other than that, as a part-timer this business will either push you out or pull you in, it just doesn’t work as a part-time career. Get someone with the commitment. Someone who has made it a career.
  3. How many homes do you sell a year? 12 is an absolute minimum. The national average is 7, so let’s at least go for above average in the professional who can make or break one of the biggest transactions you’ll ever make.
  4. What additional training/designations do you have? Shocking as it may be, no negotiation training is required to become a Realtor, so if I don’t hear that they have a CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) or MCNE (add Master to the front) then I’d keep going. Next is an ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative). Again, you are looking for commitment – how much of their time have they invested in learning more about their chosen profession? It better be more than the required continuing education.
  5. Do you have a list of references I can call? If they haven’t bothered to put together an actual list of references, either they don’t have good references or they are lazy, neither of which is enticing.
  6. May I have a copy of your latest Market Update. I love this non-question! If you meet a Realtor who does not regularly monitor the market, move on. They should know it forward and backwards and should have the statistics to back it up. They should be willing and eager to do some research for your specials needs. Criminy – it’s their job. The market is always changing. As your consultant and advisor, they should keep you appraised of it.

You’ve probably heard the saying “If you think hiring an expert is expensive, try hiring an amateur.” Please, please, please take the small amount of time it takes to consciously choose your Realtor. Anyone can handle a simple, clean transaction – it’s just that there are so few of those. You need someone who can shoot the rapids – just in case.