What's most important to me, and what I yet have not found, is someone who will listen to my vision - my circumstances, my desires in a home (short and long-term) and have the listening and analytical skills to interpet that into the current Austin market (I'm relocating from the West Coast).
I had one realtor call me, who only had my name and phone number and tell me he had the perfect house for me (didn't sound so perfect to ME) and I needed to buy it NOW as it was the deal of the century (silly, really - it was a new builder home with a small discount - I've gotten better offers from new builders themselves)...
None of the others asked me any questions; thank goodness for resources such as this forum and the internet in general - long distance home buying is a time-consuming process, but I'd rather put in the time myself until I can find someone that can make my vision a reality, or adjust my perceptions if his/her experience dictates that.
1) Compatibility - our personalities fit, she listened to my goals and needs, and found properties accordingly.
2) Communication - this is key, it irritates me to no end when things occur and I am not updated or if I call and I do not get a return call. Updates are critical in a high-pace, high-stress experience. And considering how much money is at stake, communication is even more important than in any other case.
3) Network - the amount of people in the realtor's network, if she is well-liked in the real estate field, it all matters. I would never want to work with a realtor where his or her reputation hurt the chances of my property getting sold.
4) Creativity - there are times, especially nowadays, when thinking of new ways to sell a house, reach the most potential buyers, etc. is extremely important.
5) Skills in Negotiating - as part of the homebuying or home selling process, I know that the realtor will be presented with many times when the option of bargaining for more concessions or strategizing for a higher offer price, will be important.
6) Dedication - after speaking to a few referrals you can get a pretty good idea of how hard the realtor will work for you--whether they will post my home's listing on Craigslist, MLS consistently, advertise it well, target it well.
I mean there is so much more to choosing a realtor, but trust, compatibility, and communication I would say is the most important. You can get a feel for the realtor's experience and knowledge of real estate and the area through conversations and my own research and everything else tends to fall into place.
Thanks for the great question! I gave it a big "thumbs up" and wish I could give it more! Could you be so kind as to re-post to it every few days to keep it alive and at the forefront?
Can we please refrain from comment (I know, it's hard!) and see if any more consumers take up this thread? Perhaps we'll get more valuable input like that provided by Gloria...