Not all Realtors are created equally. Be conscious about who you pick.
Even if someone is a good fit for someone else, that doesn’t mean that they are the right fit you.
Who should you pick? Here are four tips to guide you in your choice:
1. The most experienced person is not always the best
Just because someone has been in this business for decades or has sold the most home, doesn’t mean they will do the best job for you.
If you are looking for a buyer’s agent, keep in mind that most of the most experienced or successful agents work primarily or exclusively with sellers.
While they may say they will work with you when you call them, in many cases, they will pass you off to a newbie agent on their team.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind.
Furthermore, in a competitive market like ours, speed and responsiveness go a long way to getting you the house you want.
We are all limited by our time so if you go after a top producing agent, know that you are one of many clients they are working with at any given moment. You get less of their mental space and are frankly limited in seeing homes as fast as you might need to because of their busy schedules.
On the other hand, you may benefit from in-depth knowledge of particular condo complexes or strong negotiation skills, but these benefits will only take you so far if you have trouble fully capturing their attention.
2. Having no experience or being a very part-time Realtor can also be a problem
While too much experience or success can actually limit your ability to get the most from your agent, choosing a brand new agent may also not be the best idea.
A good agent should be able to help you evaluate properties based on their experience seeing many other properties.
They should be able to give you a sense of how a house or condo you like compares to others in that area and price point.
They should be able to identify items on the inspection report that they know are commonly negotiated.
These are insights that come from time in the business so someone in their first couple of months as an agent (or someone that only works very part-time and does only a few transactions a year) may not offer you as much.
Of course, one plus of a new agent is that they tend to have a lot of time on their hands and will be on call for you to show your properties as soon as they hit the market.
If you are considering a new agent for this reason, make sure that they have the support of a more experienced agent or broker in their office.
You can ask your agent if they are on a team (usually this means there is significant oversight from a more experienced agent) or if the agency is non-designated (like my agency) which means the working environment is more collaborative.
In our office, for example, we all sit down together several times a week to discuss what is going on with our buyers and get insight from one another.
Our agents range from brand new to highly experienced (including Jessica Bridge and Dan Cypress, two of the most well-regarded agents in the area), and we all benefit from each others knowledge and experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask your agent what support they have from others in their firm.
3. Responsiveness matters
This is a fast-paced business so if an agent doesn’t respond to your emails within 24 hours, you probably want to move on.
You could miss out on your dream house in that amount of time.
4. Pick someone you like!
At the end of the day, you will likely have a pretty significant relationship with your Realtor.
This is a huge moment in your life, and there will likely be ups and down, moments of stress, indecision, and anxiety.
You will want someone by your side who you like, trust, and that you feel gets you.
Even if your cousin told you that X Agent is “the best agent around,” maybe you just don’t think they get you and your lifestyle.
You might want to find someone at a similar stage of life as you that sees things from your eyes.
I am in my thirties, for example. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a young professional in my twenties, and I enjoy working with first-time home buyers.
I am also the parent of two young children, and I understand the needs of young families. I also have some awareness of what kinds of opportunities are around for kids and know the basics about the local school systems.
I am also acutely aware of the needs of empty nesters who are ready to downsize after living in a single family home for a long time. This is the stage of life my parents are in so I have some awareness of the concerns and needs of this demographic.
On the other hand, I am probably not the right person for someone looking to purchase a homestead on a very rural property. It just isn’t my lifestyle or area of expertise.
The opposite is also true. I know some Realtors who live in rural Vermont and just don’t really understand why people pay so much to live in Chittenden County (especially Burlington).
Sure, any Realtor can show you stuff, but if they don’t “get” why you are so excited about the Old North End or the idea of living in a walking-friendly community in Williston, Essex, or South Burlington, it might be hard for them to identify properties for you that you will love.
Talk to your Realtor on a human level and get to know them. If you click, you will know.
At the end of the day, having someone you like is more important than just about anything else.
If there is a fundamental feeling of trust, everything else will come more easily.
Think we might be a good fit?
Contact me here, and I will set up a consultation with you at my office in downtown Burlington.
Did you find a Realtor you like? If so, check out my post, Should I Hire A Buyer’s Agent?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pallas Ziporyn is a Realtor based in Burlington, VT. She is the founder and head writer for The Vermont Real Estate Blog, and she works with both buyers and sellers in Chittenden County and surrounding areas.
In addition to her real estate pursuits, Pallas enjoys serving on the Winooski Planning Commission, skiing, writing, and spending time with her husband Chris and their two small children, Leander and Hugo.