Finding the right Realtor is one of the ways to ensure you have the best possible experience buying or selling a piece of real estate. Whether you’re looking for an investment property or buying a home you want to live in yourself, you need a professional who understands the local market as well as they understand your needs and budget. When you’re selling a property, you’ll want to rely on your Realtor’s ability to advertise your home, welcome potential buyers, and negotiate the terms of the sale.
A good Realtor wears a lot of hats. It’s about more than just the sale or just the purchase. Your Realtor also needs to understand the details in an inspection report, the financing you’re working with, and how the local economy impacts the market.
What is a Realtor?
You might hear terms like Realtor, real estate agent, and real estate broker thrown around interchangeably. They’re actually quite different, and it’s important that you understand the difference before you choose a partner for the purchase or sale of your property.
A real estate agent is any licensed professional who can help you buy and sell real estate. It can be residential property – like a home, or it can be a commercial property, such as a shopping center or an office building. There are several hours of training required and a written exam that must be passed in order for the agent to achieve licensure.
A Realtor is a licensed real estate agent who is credentialed by the National Association of Realtors. It’s a trademarked term that comes with a specific set of standards and a code of ethics that Realtors must subscribe to in order to remain in good standing. Extra data and information is available to Realtors, such as access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
There are also real estate brokers who can play a part in the process of buying and selling property. Brokers take additional training and courses beyond what agents and Realtors take. Brokers must pass an exam to be licensed, and their experience extends to real estate laws, construction issues, and property management. Generally, at least three years of real estate agent experience are necessary before an industry professional can become a real estate broker.
You are free to use any of these professionals when you buy or sell or invest in a home. We are using the term Realtor throughout this blog, because that’s the most common professional you’ll come across when you’re looking for help in San Diego real estate.
Realtors Need Market and Industry Experience
You can spot a great Realtor by the amount of experience they have in the real estate industry and in the local market. Years of experience are important; you may not want to work with a Realtor who has never sold a home before. But, the type of experience they have is just as important. If you’re hoping to buy a single-family home in a specific HOA neighborhood, for example, you’ll want to find an expert in that area. If you want to invest in a small apartment building, look for a Realtor who specializes in multi-family properties.
You’ll need a Realtor who can give you an honest and informed assessment of the current market before you buy or sell. They need to know what your competition looks like when you’re preparing to list your home on the market. They need to know where home values are, especially for a home like yours. When you’re buying, an experienced Realtor will tell you what to expect in terms of pricing. They’ll tell you what the inventory is like and whether you’ll need to be competitive with an offer.
Experience counts, and when we talk about experience in real estate, we’re talking about industry experience as well as market experience. You can spot a good Realtor by the amount of time they spend studying the market, networking with other professionals, and remaining current with laws, best practices, and requirements.
Good Realtors are Excellent Communicators
Communication skills will be necessary when you’re choosing a Realtor, and that means a number of things:
- Active listening. You can spot a good Realtor when they’re willing to listen to your needs, your preferences, and your budgets. When you tell your Realtor you’re looking for a specific type of property at a specific price point and they show you homes outside of those specifications, you’re not working with a Realtor who listens.
- Accessibility and availability. You want a Realtor who is responsive to your needs, questions, and concerns. If you cannot get a call back when you’re selling your home, you’re going to become frustrated pretty quickly. Great Realtors don’t make you wait; they share information quickly and transparently.
- Investment in technology. Good Realtors are willing to leverage technological tools to improve communication. You need someone who is comfortable listing homes online, using the MLS, communicating via email and text, and maximizing the power of social media to market and advertise your home. A great Realtor is always willing to learn more about new technologies that can make their jobs (and your process) easier.
Talk about expectations before you hire a Realtor. This will help you avoid disappointments. It will also ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of how often you’ll be in touch and how quickly information should be shared.
Remember that good relationships require good communication. It’s also important to acknowledge that communication goes both ways. Make sure your Realtor has your best contact information. Don’t avoid their calls, and don’t be slow to provide the information that they need.
Marketing Homes for Sale
If you’re selling a property, you need a good Realtor who is especially great at marketing homes. Buyers have a lot to think about when they’re choosing a property; you’ll want to attract them with a fantastic listing. Spot a good Realtor by their ability to take professional photos, write excellent listings, and use the MLS and other platforms to get your listing out there and in rent of as many buyers as possible.
The ability to network during the marketing process is also critical. Your Realtor needs to talk with other agents about your home and why it might be great for their clients.
Staging helps, too. A great Realtor can make your home look desirable to potential buyers. From curb appeal to furniture placement to sounds and smells during an open house; you can identify good Realtors by their ability to attract buyers quickly to your property.
Special Expertise and Niche Talents
If you’re in a unique position as a buyer or a seller, please look for a Realtor who can support you. Are you a first-time homebuyer? You want to work with someone who has helped other first-time buyers navigate the market and the process.
Or, maybe you’re a real estate investor looking to add properties to your growing portfolio. Make sure you’re working with a Realtor who specializes in investment properties. If you’re investing from outside of the area, you definitely want a local expert who has helped investors from elsewhere before.
Every buyer and seller is different. Every property is different. Identifying the Realtor who has the unique ability to work with you is an important part of setting yourself up for success.
You can also spot a good Realtor by their ability to negotiate on behalf of you and your best interests.
The strength of your position will depend on how the market’s performing. With the right negotiation tools and strategies, your Realtor can help you get the price you want and the terms you want. This is often where you’re getting most of the value that can be found in a professional Realtor. There’s always a lot of give-and-take when it comes to making offers and counter-offers.
When we think about negotiation, it’s easy to focus on price. That’s a big part of what your Realtor will negotiate on your behalf. However, there’s much more to it. A good agent will also negotiate closing terms and dates. They will review the inspection report and help you decide what you want to address in order to close the deal. Agents can negotiate who will pay for all or some of the closing costs. There can be discussions over appliances and credits for cosmetic updates and upgrades that buyers and sellers may want to consider.
We know how to spot a good Realtor because we work very hard to be good Realtors. If you’re looking for a professional partner, we hope you’ll consider talking to us. Whether you’re buying a home, selling a home, investing in a property, or still trying to figure out what your goals might be in the San Diego real estate market, we’d love to help you.
Let’s talk about what you need in a Realtor and how we can show you what we have to offer. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Chase Pacific Property Management & Real Estate Services when you need guidance or advice.