With a question like this, you are going to get inundated with Realtors saying, â€œPick me!â€ Trulia Community guidelines actually prohibit Realtors from using the Q&A to solicit clients â€“ be cautious of agents who donâ€™t follow the guidelines.
When moving to a new area, choosing a Realtor can be tricky â€“ you donâ€™t have the normal connections youâ€™d have if youâ€™d lived in the area for a while. Here is what I suggest:
1. HomeGain.com - Agent Evaluator Program â€“ itâ€™s a great place to post a request and then have a large number of Realtors respond â€“ you get to evaluate them based on various criteria.
2. Trulia.com â€“ a number of agents will be responding to this thread â€“ you can click through to their profiles and send emails to the ones you are interested in. Check their answers to questions here on Trulia. You can also use Trulia to search for pros in a specific geographic area.
3. Ask any friends, relatives or coworkers in your new locale. Ask local accountants and attorneys.
4. Drive around and note who has the most listings in the area in which you want to buy.
Interview at least three:
1. Have them meet you at a local Starbucks â€“ if they insist on you going to their office, pass. After all, this is about you, not them! They should be willing to meet on your turf.
2. Have a list of prepared questions you ask all of them.
3. Ask for references and past clients â€“ call at least three for each one.
4. Choose the one that seems to be the best fit â€“ a personality match is critical.
You need to use only one Realtor at a time â€“ itâ€™s kind of like being married. However, be cautious of Buyer/Broker agreements. Not all properties offer the same commission â€“ some agents use the agreement to ensure they will get a maximum commission (ie. if a listing only offers a 2% commission, they may use the agreement to force you to pay an additional 1%). They may also try to lock you in for a specific period of time â€“ if you discover you donâ€™t like the way they work or that you donâ€™t mesh, you may have a difficult time getting out of the contract. I personally use a non-binding agreement that specifies what buyers can expect from me and what I ask of buyers.
Here is a list of potential questions to choose from:
1. How long have you been in business?
2. Is this your full-time job? Any side gigs?
3. Do you have any designations?
4. Have you won any awards? What is special about any awards you may have received?
5. Are you a member of the local MLS? State Association of Realtors? N.A.R.?
6. Do you require a buyer/broker agreement? Why?
7. Will I be required to pay you anything to represent me if the home I choose to purchase does not provide a full commission to you?
8. Will you require me to pay a transaction coordinator fee or some similar â€œtransactionâ€ fee?
9. Do you have an assistant? Will you be the person dealing with me through the entire process and resulting transaction?
10. Have many homes have you personally sold in the past year? Not your team or office â€“ you.
11. How many REO sales have you closed in the past 12 months?
12. How many short sales have you closed in the past 12 months?
13. What is your ratio of sellers to buyers for the past year?
14. How many buyers are you working with right now?
15. How will you actively search for homes that meet my parameters?
16. Will you function as a dual agent?
17. Do you have client references from this past year?
18. What are the top few things that differentiate you from the rest of the pack of Realtors out there?
19. Will you carefully explain every aspect of every document to me as required?
20. How will you actively educate me in the buying process?
21. Do you have a comprehensive network of inspectors, tradespersons, etc.?
22. What happens when I Google your name?
23. What is your strategy for recommending a purchase price for any home I am interested in?
24. What if we donâ€™t click or mesh? Can I stop using you and move on to someone else?
25. Will you be OK if I use my own lender?
26. How do you prefer to communicate? Phone? Text? Email?
27. How quickly can I expect an answer once I call you? During what hours can I call you and expect an answer?
28. Do you offer any kind of a guarantee?
This should get you started!