Buying a home is a decision that will dramatically impact your family's lifestyle, comfort, and finances. Such an important decision should be undertaken with a qualified realtor on your side whose expertise and integrity are both top-notch. Finding a realtor you trust and feel comfortable with can make the entire house hunting and purchase process much easier and more enjoyable. Here are three tips for finding the perfect realtor:
Gather Referrals from Friends and Family
Real estate is very much a referral-based business, and this is generally a good thing. By starting off with referrals from trusted friends and family, you will be able to find a realtor who already has a successful real estate relationship with someone you know and whose judgment you can count on.
Be sure to ask specific questions about these referrals: When did they work with this realtor? What was the outcome? Was there anything they wish the realtor had done differently? This will give you a clearer picture of each recommended realtor and weed out referrals to friends-of-friends who haven't actually been hired as a realtor by anyone you know.
Interview Your Prospective Realtors
Ask each prospective realtor on your list if they have time for a quick coffee meeting, and come armed with a few important questions. Some things to ask a prospective realtor include how many years they've been in business, how much buying experience they have in your preferred city or neighborhood, and if they feel confident you'll get the house you want in your price range.
Most qualified realtors will be happy to accommodate you in this way and demonstrate their expertise and experience in order to increase their chances of earning your business. If a potential realtor balks at meeting before you've hired them, this may indicate that they will be too busy to take you to open houses and return your phone calls in a timely manner.
Scope Out Their Web Presence
A realtor who is web-savvy will be more likely to utilize their online resources to quickly find you as many houses as possible that meet your criteria. A dated, poorly put together website (or no website at all) and a lack of social media presence and online reviews can definitely be seen as red flags in this day and age.
By following these tips, you will help ensure that your new realtor is the best one for you.