Choosing the Right Realtor® for You

Choosing the Right Realtor® Can Make a HUGE Difference in Your Home Buying or Selling Experience!

Almost everyone knows a real estate agent.  However, all agents are not created equally.  This is easy to tell when you compare an agent’s experience to others, compare how long they have been in the business, and most importantly how many closed real property transactions they have to their name.

Moreover, a seasoned real estate agent will provide a list of references – probably with dozens, if not hundreds, of names, phone numbers, and contact information readily available for prospective clients to contact.  It is critical to check references to find out objectively how well the agent performed, to find out how accurate the agent was in their projections, costs, and estimated selling price, and to find out if the agent did what they said they would do.  An agent with a multitude of references and hundreds of closed transactions is typically going to be more competent, more prepared, and more likely to achieve the results you desire and deserve.

Buying a home in Palo AltoIf you’ve never worked with a real estate agent before or you would like to hire a new one, you now know that not all real estate agents are the same.  In addition to finding an agent with experience you need someone with whom you can communicate, that you can rely on to address your needs, and that has the expertise to get the job done.  Don’t take a chance on selecting the wrong agent for your needs, even if that agent is a family member, friend, or friend of friend.  It is paramount that you utilize the services of an experienced, qualified agent from the first step forward all the way through and after close of escrow.  Here are some tips that can help you to choose an agent that is ideal for you!

1. Ask for References

When you think you have found a great real estate agent, ask them for references. There is a very good chance your family, friends, and even people you work with have been involved with a real estate agent and they can share information. They can tell you all the details of their experience with their Realtor®, including the good, the bad and the ugly.  A top-shelf agent will provide you with a list of references which will include dozens, if not hundreds of their clients who are willing to endorse their agent.

2. Ask for Experience – Like Closed Transactions

Every seasoned real estate agent can provide you with a list of transactions they have worked on and closed in the last several years (most multiple listing services started collecting this data years ago).  Multiple (hundreds) closed transactions are very important for several reasons.  First, every transaction is different and with each one comes issues that have not occurred before.  An agent with hundreds of closed transactions with have crossed many bridges that inexperienced agents have not.  Second, with every nuance and issue comes an emotional roller-coaster for the principals.  Again a top-notched agent will be able to navigate the emotions for their clients and help smooth over the issues and get resolution quicker and more effectively than an inexperienced agent.  Finally, an experienced agent will not allow another agent to push them around during a transaction.  This is very common when an experience agent recognizes they are paired with an inexperienced agent on the other side.  It is similar to have a good attorney on one side versus a poor attorney on the other.

A top-shelf experienced agent will provide you with a list of closed transactions (probably in the hundreds), they can provide you with a list of work they have performed in the areas in which you are interested, and they should provide this information at the drop of a hat.  If they can’t this should raise questions in your mind about their experience.

3. Face-to-Face Interview 

It is critical that you meet your agent face-to-face to make sure you will get along with them which will help things move along smoothly.  Prepare for your meeting with a compilation of carefully crafted questions to ask.  Don’t be shy when it comes to getting information from the agent – they are the expert and should be able to answer most if not all of your questions without too much trouble.  You may want to conduct this interview at their place of business so you can see their surroundings or at your home so they can see their prospective listing.  In either situation here are some questions to consider.

  • How long they have been in the real estate business?
  • How many closed transactions have they completed?
  • How will they market your home?
  • What suggestions do they have to improve marketability of your home?
  • What can you expect from their service?
  • How many clients are they currently working with?
  • Why are they the best choice for you?

Be mindful of their communication style. You want someone you feel you can communicate with openly. Trust your gut to know if you can work with someone.

Final Outcome: Make a Decision

After you have done the interview, ask yourself if you are comfortable with this particular real estate agent.  Communication is a key factor for making the relationship work.  With that in mind, eliminate any potential agent that you didn’t feel comfortable around or that you didn’t think understood your needs.  Contact and hire the real estate agent with the most experience.  Contact and hire the agent that gives you confidence, that gives you the feeling that they will get things in motion, and helps you achieve your goals.

Shelly Roberson


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