Navigating the local real estate market as a buyer or seller can be challenging. You may not know where to start when it comes to selling your home or finding a new home to buy. Rather than go through the buying or selling process alone, you could navigate it faster and easier by hiring a skilled REALTOR to assist you.

Hiring a REALTOR

If you have never before vetted or hired a REALTOR, you may not know how to find someone who can represent you and your best interests. You do not want to randomly select one out of the local phone book or call the number on the first REALTOR billboard you see. You want to make sure you are hiring someone who will listen to you and take the time to represent your best interests as a client.

With that, there are certain strategies you can use as a prospective client to ensure you are hiring a REALTOR who will do his or her best for you. You can start by asking for any recommendations from friends or family members.

Chances are that you know or are related to someone who has recently purchased or sold a house. You can get in contact with that individual and ask him or her for any advice about hiring a skilled REALTOR who can help you.

You should ask your relative or friend questions like what is the name of the REALTOR they used to buy or sell a home and would they use the same REALTOR again in the future. You also should ask how safe or trustworthy they believed that REALTOR to be. Based on the answers you get from a trusted loved one or friend, you can decide whether or not to contact that REALTOR to represent you.

You also should use the Internet to find local REALTORS. You can conduct a simple search by typing in your city's name and then the word “REALTOR” into the search field. You will be provided with a list of REALTORS who work for area real estate firms or have websites of their own that you can browse at your leisure.

As you browse the websites, you should look for criteria like how long the REALTORS have been in the industry, what specializations they offer, and what professional achievements they have won or earned throughout their careers. It is important that you do not overlook new REALTORS who may not have the years of experience in the industry. New REALTORS generally are more readily available and eager to please you as a client. You should then find three REALTORS whom you want to interview at length.

The questions you ask the REALTORS should reveal their expertise and readiness to assist you as a client. Some of the questions that you might ask include:

  • Are you a REALTOR? REALTORS generally work full-time and have a financial commitment to their businesses. They also are highly trained and members of the National Association of REALTORS
  • Do you work full-time or part-time? Full-time REALTORS will know when homes that meet your criteria hit the market and can inform you quickly so you can be among the first to view the home.
  • How will you let me know when homes that meet my criteria are available?
  • How long have you worked as a REALTOR in the city or neighborhood?
  • How quickly will you return my phone calls or emails? What is your call back policy?

It is important that you ask more than just yes or no questions. You want to actually sit down and have a real conversation with the REALTORS you interview. You also would not be out of line to ask the REALTORS for references or referrals from other clients. You should contact those references and ask those previous clients for an honest assessment of their experiences with the REALTORS.

You also want to make sure the REALTORS you interview are more than capable of handling any special requests you have as a client. For instance, you might need to hire a REALTOR who specializes in out-of-state moves.

Alternatively, you might be looking to buy a home in a senior citizen or retirement community. You should hire a REALTOR who can help you find a home in the area that best aligns with your needs and wants.

After you interview at least three REALTORS, you should take the time to compare the answers you have gathered carefully. You can then decide which REALTOR to hire to assist you in the home buying or selling process.

Why Hire a REALTOR?

You might wonder why you should hire a REALTOR as opposed to a real estate agent. A REALTOR typically is more highly trained and available on a full-time basis than a real estate agent.

This extensive training can work to your advantage as a seller. For example, you may have a deep emotional attachment to your home. After living in it for years, you may have many fond memories of time spent with your loved ones. You may not realize how deeply you are attached to the home until you actually are getting ready to put it up for sale.

A skilled REALTOR will appreciate this emotional attachment and work to help you remove yourself emotionally from the home. He or she will help guide you toward putting it up for sale and motivate you to sell it and move on to another home where you can make new memories.

A REALTOR can also assist you as a seller by determining for what price to list your home. You want to price it to sell quickly but also for a price that reflects the local market. If you are genuinely motivated to sell, you need a REALTOR to help you figure out what price will attract buyers while still benefiting you as the seller.

Once you determine the right price to sell your home for, you then want to know that it will be marketed to sell fast. An experienced REALTOR will be able to list your home in local newspapers and magazines as well as in fliers and brochures.

However, it is also important that your REALTOR has the knowledge and resources to list your home for sale online. It can be advertised on the REALTOR's website as well as on the websites for real estate agencies, on Craigslist, and on other websites that are available in your local area.

Finally, a REALTOR will be able to handle any problems that arise during the transaction. If, for example, the title search reveals a lien on the home, the REALTOR will be able to help you resolve the issue quickly so you can continue with the sale. REALTORS are trained to foresee and respond to all kinds of issues that can arise during a home sale.

A REALTOR can also assist you as a buyer on the lookout for the ideal home to buy. For example, you may want to buy a home that will accommodate your lifestyle. You may want a house that is big enough to fit your family's size as well as any pets that you plan to bring along with you during the move.

Likewise, an experienced REALTOR can find a home that has the right number of bathrooms and bedrooms that you want. He or she can find properties that have amenities like a pool, fenced in backyard, garage, or main floor bedrooms that you may specifically want as a home buyer. Finally, a good REALTOR should be able to find a home that fits the amount of the mortgage for which you have been pre-approved.

Hiring a REALTOR can be a smart move whether you are buying or selling a home. A skilled REALTOR can represent you during the transaction and make sure your best interests are fully represented.