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How to Choose a Realtor

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Thinking about selling your home, ranch, or commercial property? Maybe you’re new to an area and need to buy a new home.  Do you love to hunt and are interested in buying a ranch?  How do you choose the right realtor to help you?  I will address the selling part of the equation first and will do so from a residential perspective.  The parameters are very similar with other products but more people can relate to a home sale than a ranch sale so we will start from there.

 

In today’s market, buyers are very educated because the Internet is the great equalizer.  With the use of Trulia, Zillow, Lands of Texas, and Realtor.com, among others, people can see what is for sale in any given area in an extremely short period of time.  Also in today’s market, which is a very strong and active market, everybody seems to know somebody who has a real estate license.  I think it could be proven as a historical trend that when the market is good agents are in great supply, and when the market is not good, the number of agents decline.  The decision you make is important because the agent you pick can have a significant influence on the outcome of your transaction.  It is very likely that someone you know has a license…maybe someone from church, someone you play golf with, or a parent with a child on your kid’s team.  You may feel obligated due to your relationship, however that does not mean they can do the best job of representing you in the sale of your home, ranch or commercial property.  It can create an awkward situation but it’s important to trust your investment to someone who has the tools, knowledge, and experience to get the best outcome for you.

You want a realtor that has the ability to put your property in front of as many people as possible.  They need to be very knowledgeable in your market area and be able to understand and accurately represent what it is you’re selling.  If you live in the country on a few acres or more it doesn’t make sense to get a city realtor to sell your house.  The people they are good at marketing to may not necessarily be the kind of folks who will want to buy your house.  A local realtor who has thrived through the market ups and downs, has in-depth knowledge of the area and has a reputation built on integrity is a priceless asset.  When you’re selling something you want a brokerage firm that will look out for your best interest and not their own.  It is important to look for someone who will tell you what they think is correct and have the facts to back it up and not what they think you want to hear.  And although today’s market is strong, getting a real estate transaction to closing has become more challenging in some cases.  Experience is important in working through today’s challenges to get a deal done.  Also it’s not wise to choose someone just because you think they are the largest or shiniest of companies because they have a ton of listings. Some companies will take on what ever they can, even if it is not sellable just to give that image.  My philosophy has always been to only take on things I know I can perform on for my sellers and be able represent my seller’s best interest.  I also never take on a listing that is out of my realm of influence or expertise just to have it for sale.  If I did it would not be fair to the property owner or fair to my firm. 

 

Ok, now you’re on the move and looking for something to buy.   How do you choose the right realtor to help you?  Let’s look at a very common scenario.  You live on the far north side of San Antonio and want to move to the country and your girlfriend from the PTO is selling your house in a cookie cutter subdivision.  The product you are selling is the kind of product that will sell regardless of your realtor’s efforts because of the market.  Your home is under contract or getting a lot of interest so you start the looking process.  If your agent gives you a list of properties out of the MLS and says go look at some places and let me know when you find something you like, how can that agent represent your best interest?  They don't know the market you are moving to and they are not with you when you go out and look.  We have this happen all the time.  We get a call from a buyer who would like to look at one of our listings and after showing and explaining the product they fall in love with it and want to make an offer.  The next thing you know we get a call from an agent who wants to make an offer on that same property and surprise, surprise it’s the buyers we were working with.  This agent has never shown the property and doesn't even know how to get to it.  We ask buyers all the time if they are working with anyone or if they have an agent.  When they say yes we ask that there agent be present when we show them the property.  The classic response is “My agent lives a long ways off and can't make it.”  How can that agent act as a fiduciary for the buyer and look after their best interest if they are not seeing what the buyer sees?  An agent cannot properly negotiate a transaction without experiencing the property with their buyers, and seeing the strengths and weaknesses for themselves.  They are not representing the buyer rather just collecting a fee.  Talk to several agents and choose one that will take the time to help you and find what fits you the best.   Get someone who is knowledgeable in that market area, the schools, and the surrounding communities.  Again, you are making a huge personal investment.

Tools, knowledge, and experience lead to successful real estate transaction outcomes more than friendly relationships.  Choosing a Realtor is a big decision and can make a huge difference to you financially and for peace of mind.

 

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