First Things First, Find A Realtor
For most, buying a new home is the biggest financial decision they will make in their life. And after starting the home buying process, they come to the realization that it is much more stressful and confusing than they ever expected. That’s why it is so important to start by choosing the right real estate representative, one who is not a “salesperson” trying to sell you on something; but someone who wants to help you accomplish your goal of home ownership. And to do this successfully, your full-service real estate representative must be:
- Your Property Specialist
- Your Transaction Coordinator
- Your Community Consultant
- Your Marketing Manager
- Your Experienced Negotiator
- Your Trusted Advisor and Consultant
- Your Real Estate Professional
How To Find A Realtor
It’s easy to find a realtor. It seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry has their real estate license nowadays. Finding a good or great realtor is the real challenge. There’s a lot of advice out there on how to find the right realtor for you, and usually it includes advice about who you shouldn’t be using, like a family member or someone who’s a part-time realtor. This may be true in some cases but, if I’m going to be totally honest, your family member or the part-timer just might be the best fit for you. So, who should you be hiring and where can you find the right realtor?
Asking friends, family or coworkers for a referral is the best place to start. But calling agents with signs in the neighborhood you want to buy in or going to open houses are good alternatives; these realtors most likely know and have expertise working in the area you like. You should speak with these realtors to gauge their expertise, knowledge and whether they communicate well with you.
Communication Is Crucial
How can a realtor successfully meet your real estate goals? Well, the National Association of Realtors surveys buyers and sellers every year and the number one issue clients have with their realtor is lack of communication. And communication is more than just passing along information timely or being responsive, it’s also being a good listener. There are so many moving parts in a real estate transaction that a realtor can lose touch with their clients very easily causing undo stress, confusion and risk to the transaction.
And it’s a two-way street. It’s not just the realtor communicating well with their client; it’s also the client communicating well with their realtor. I can always tell when a client is not telling me what they really think. Most people are polite and respectful, and rightfully so! But when viewing homes, most clients feel that if they say something bad about a home we, as realtors, will take it personally so they are afraid to tell us what they really think. On the contrary, if a client doesn’t like a home, we want to know immediately. There is no reason to continue viewing a home that has no chance of an offer. And I promise, our feelings won’t be hurt.
What Type Of Communicator Are You?
There are several types of communication. You want to find someone who can communicate in a manner you like. Do you like written, visual or verbal communication? Does the realtor have a means to communicate with you in multiple ways? For instance, I have many written documents to help someone understand how to buy a home. I have this blog, a Home Buyer Guide and downloadable e-docs on different topics; I have many written forms of communication.
However, I find I can better engage someone on a topic when I use more than one way to communicate. That’s why I have guides and handouts that I use at the same time I am explaining (verbally) what a client needs to know and for me to find out what a client wants. As realtors, we come across many types of personalities. Some are analytical and want to see the numbers and data before buying. Some are visual and just want to view the homes and glaze over when talking numbers. Know what you kind of communicator you are and what type you need from your realtor. It will go a long way to making the buying process much more pleasant for you.
What Questions To Ask
Of course, a realtor should be experienced (closing lots of transactions), knowledgeable (about the market, financing options and contracts) and a strong negotiator. These are things you should be asking a realtor before hiring them. But as they answer your questions, you should be picking up on how well they communicate with you. Here are some basic questions to ask to get the conversation going:
- How long have you been in real estate?
- How many transactions have you closed?
- How is the real estate market?
- What kind of loan programs are there?
- How do you get paid?
- How will you keep me informed?
- What should I do be doing to buy a home?
- What can I expect from you?
- What do you expect from me?
I am a firm believer that the number one trait a realtor must have is someone who makes you feel comfortable, someone who can explain things clearly, so you can understand them, and someone you can speak your mind to. Remember, this is one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your life. So be sure you work with a realtor who will know and understand what it is you are trying to accomplish. And this can only be achieved with strong communication, by both parties.
Where To Start
Start by scheduling an appointment to speak with a couple of realtors. When is a good time to meet with a realtor? The moment you make buying a home a goal. The sooner you meet with a realtor, the better. Even if your timeline is to buy in the next 24 months. Start the conversation with a realtor as soon as you can so you are truly prepared, when you are ready 24 months later.
There is a right way to start your home buying process and most people start by searching for homes online (that’s not the place to start); a good realtor will put you on the right path. Whether you have good credit or bad, you are prequalified or not, you have a down payment or not, there is no wrong time to speak with realtor to get you started. Obviously, I would love to meet with you and get a chance to be your realtor so feel free to contact me through this website or by calling/texting at (602) 320-3689. I look forward to speaking with you!