For most people, real estate transactions constitute some of the largest financial decisions you will ever make. Your most valuable and important resource in making that decision is your real estate agent! A relationship of trust and open communication with your real estate agent is crucial in order to effectively collaborate and navigate the often-tricky waters of the fluctuating real estate market. But how do you know you’ve found a Realtor you can trust? Follow these four steps for vetting your Realtor options before you sign on with an agent.
1. Ask Friends for Referrals
One of the first steps in finding a trustworthy and experienced Realtor is asking friends and family in the area for referrals. This process can help you generate a list of Realtors near you who have directly helped those you know and trust. Asking your contacts about their real estate experiences can also help you gather names of those you may want to avoid working with.
This method is a great start, but for those who are moving to a brand new area where they don’t know anyone, those who end up with a very short list of just “so-so” reviews, or those with a vastly different situation than any of the friends who provided suggestions, asking for referrals may not be the best or only solution. Even if someone receives a glowing review, conducting a bit of additional research can help you find a Realtor you can truly place your trust in.
2. Read Testimonials and Reviews
In addition to asking the people you personally know to recommend great real estate agents, head online to see what others think! A quick internet search with your area and “real estate agent” will generate a healthy list of options, or you can plug in the names you gathered in step one to learn more about them through their online presence.
In many cases, real estate professionals will have their own website, as well as a profile on Google Business, Zillow, Realtor.com, and more. Check each of these resources to evaluate reviews and ratings, and spend time truly reading the comments and stories that reviewers have left. These can help you more thoroughly understand the Realtor’s strengths and the specific ways they have helped other clients. If these specifics align with your situation and needs, you’ll know you’ve found a great match!
3. Evaluate Yearly and Total Transactions
While being friendly and offering plenty of local knowledge is important for a Realtor, another crucial element is experience. However, simply asking a real estate agent how long they’ve been in business may not give you a clear view of their true experience. Many real estate agents earn their license but keep their day job, only practicing real estate on occasion and therefore missing out on the knowledge and background that comes with practice and hands-on experience. The nuances of the real estate business require true engagement and experience, or a vetted mentor behind the scenes.
In order to get an accurate view of a real estate agent’s experience, find out how many transactions they complete each year and how many they’ve completed in total. In many cases, you can find this information online, or you can simply ask any prospects about these details of their professional background. There’s a vast spread in the industry, but if you’ve found someone completing at least 12-15 transactions per year, you can trust they are active in this profession and likely up-to-date with best practices.
4. Determine Sales Volume
Similarly, real estate agents who are in practice and are successfully closing sales on a regular basis will have a higher yearly sales volume than those who may see real estate as more of a pastime or a secondary career. In a market that continues to shift and fluctuate, working with a real estate agent who knows exactly how to navigate ever-changing expectations and nuances is critical. If a real estate agent is seeing at least $7 million in yearly sales volume, it’s safe to assume they are up to date on the best practices in the industry.
Finding the right Realtor for your needs is a process and decision that can make a substantial difference in your financial future as well as the ease and levels of stress involved in buying or selling your home. A great Realtor will help you prepare for the unexpected, support you in balancing the emotional nature of the transaction with the logic required for sound decisions, and guide you through the fine print of one of the largest transactions of your life.
With over six years of experience as a Colorado real estate agent, 147 closed transactions, and over $55 million in sales volume, I provide in-depth knowledge of this market and industry. If you’re considering buying or selling real estate along the Front Range, I’d love to help! Give me a call at 719-337-7254 or 720-498-9592.