So, you have decided to buy or sell your home and want to hire a professional to help you through the process. It seems like everyone that you know knows someone who is a Realtor… especially in Montana. So how do you know which real estate agent is the right fit for your home buying or selling journey? We are going to break down how you can find the perfect Realtor for your needs.
To start, there are a lot of titles in the real estate world. There is Realtor, agent, broker, etc. and they are not the same. According to Realtor.com, a realtor is an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. This is a big deal in the real estate world. Realtors adhere to a strict code of ethics to their clients honestly and fairly. We really like this part.
A real estate agent is anyone who has earned a license to sell property. The license involves coursework and passing a state exam. All Realtors have a license to sell property. A broker is some who has continued their studies beyond the typical 100+ hours of coursework and can hire agents to work under them.
Where to Start Finding a Realtor
All of these options are good options. So really, where should we start? As a Millennial, I always recommend starting online. Personally, I like to know a little bit about the process before I meet with someone in person. I also look for reviews. Facebook, Google, and Yelp are always great places to start when looking for reviews. Just take those reviews with a grain of salt. One or two negative reviews shouldn’t turn you off from a prospective Realtor, but several might be something to consider.
Once you have your baseline with internet research, I always recommend reaching out to your mortgage lender. Your lender can be a great resource in helping you find the perfect Realtor for you. Most Realtors, agents, and brokers will not even meet with you if you are not pre-approved for a mortgage loan. A lender will refer Realtors they have worked with in the past. They can help guide you to the perfect fit for your situation since they will know a lot about you after your mortgage application. Not to mention how far a personal reference will go. A lender is not going to put their own reputation on the line for someone who has not proven themselves time and time again.
Questions to Ask Before You Pick Your Realtor
Don’t settle. You are about to make a HUGE financial move, don’t settle for a realtor you are not comfortable with. Just because a friend or family member recommends someone, does not mean they are the right fit for your situation. When choosing a Realtor, you should ask the following questions:
- How long have you been a Realtor? While some agents are rock stars out of the gate, a person who has been in the industry for a significant amount of time will be more knowledgeable on market trends, data, and how to get you into your dream house.
- How long have you been a part of this community? Local experience is a must when looking for a Realtor. Like the last question, you want someone who is comfortable with your market. And who better than someone who has lived in the area for a while?
- Know if the Realtor is a single agent or if they work with a team. An agent with a team can be helpful, but agents are their own can be incredible as well. The best part about working with a Realtor that works in a team is that there is usually someone available to help you. Even if your actual Realtor is not available.
- You will also want to know if they are a full-time agent. In Montana, we see Relators who have other jobs as well. You will want to know your Realtor is available to you when needed. Not to say a part-time Realtor is not an excellent choice, you just want to know what to expect going into this decision.
My final tip to finding the perfect Realtor is to look for someone who gives back to their community. Those folks who invest in their community with their time and money are going to be a huge asset to you when looking to buy or sell a home. These folks will work the hardest to sell your home and find you the right home because they care about their community.
There is no magic formula for finding the best Realtor for you, but there are steps that you can take to find Real Estate heaven with your Realtor. Let us know of your favorite tips when looking for a Realtor. And if you need some additional help with your search, here are some helpful links:
- How to Choose a Realtor When You’re Looking to Buy
- 7 Tips on How to Find a Good Real Estate Agent
- 14 Tips For Choosing The Right Real Estate Agent For Your Property Sale or Search
- 9 Red Flags to Watch for When Picking a Real Estate Agent
For more like this, check out our related blogs:
- Questions to Ask Your Lender When Buying a Home
- What I Wish I Had Known About Mortgages
- Up Your Home's Curb Appeal Without Upping Your Budget