It seems like everyone knows a Realtor or has a friend of a friend who sells real estate. If you are buying a home or selling, how do you pick the one that is right for you?
Many people look for an agent with a big on-line presence and good reviews. That is reasonable, however, some of these websites are not the neutral third party they appear to be. Most charge participating agents large monthly fees and reviews are managed by the site.
Other folks interview agents and pick the one that tells them the highest asking price. That is generally a poor strategy – it’s called “buying the listing”. After the listing is obtained and goes on the market for a higher than value price the agent asks for several price reductions to get the price to where it should have started. Agents should be able to provide a range the home should sell for and justify the listing price with recent comparable sales. It’s okay to stretch the price slightly depending upon how “hot” the market is a what appreciation is predicted to be.
My advice would be to meet with several agents and ask good questions about how they will market the home and what advice they would give you to make the home show well. Get references from clients in the same price range.
How about when buying? Talk openly about the type of home or investment you are looking for. If you have not spoken to a lender, can they suggest one? I would also ask for references.