Photography courtesy of Wolfe-Bouc Group.
Buying or selling a home is a significant undertaking on many levels—financially, emotionally, logistically—which makes making finding a realtor who is the right fit a key factor in achieving a successful and satisfying outcome. To help those who may be seeking a real estate professional to assist them in navigating this highly competitive market, we reached out to four experts across the country for advice on how to select a realtor who is perfectly suited to your needs. Here, they outline the questions and considerations to keep in mind, and to find a scouted realtor in your area, browse The Scout Guide Directory.
Conduct an initial interview. When deciding on a realtor, you are hiring someone to do a service for you, so it’s best to approach the process as a manager would when interviewing potential new employees. Angelo DePaola, Alabama and Florida realtor®, broker, and eXp Realty agent/owner at The Coastal Connection, eXp Realty in Orange Beach, Alabama, recommends the following questions as a good place to start:
- How long have you been practicing as an agent in this market?
- What percentage of your business is repeat or referral?
- Are you a full or part-time agent?
- Do you have a team to support your marketing activities and respond to our needs when you might be unavailable?
- Are your team members specifically trained for the tasks and responsibilities they manage?
- How do you rank within your local marketplace?
- What form and level of communication can I expect from you and your team, and how often?
Look for different qualities when buying and selling. While most agents are equipped to represent buyers and sellers, Brooke Donald Wahl, realtor at ARC Realty Mountain Brook in Birmingham, Alabama, points out that if you are listing a house for sale, understanding the realtor’s marketing approach and style is key. If you are buying a house, take a deep dive on their knowledge of the buying process and their plan for competing with multiple offers.
Get to know your potential agent. When interviewing agents, Wahl recommends taking time to really get to know your agent. This includes asking for previous client references, but also to understand their approach and process, perspective of pros and cons on your property, and how they would market your home to highlight the positives and compensate for the negatives. Additionally, Meg Ban, broker at Highgarden Real Estate in Westfield, Indiana, stresses the importance of finding someone you will work well with on a personal level. “If you don’t click, it probably isn’t a good fit,” she says. “You are going to be spending a lot of time with this person over the course of the next several months, so it’s important that you trust them.”
Consider the value of a realtor who is social media-savvy. You certainly don’t need someone who has gone viral on TikTok to be selling your home, but Ban notes that social media is a critical tool for agents. “Not only does it allow agents to network with agents all over the country (including having exposure to the city your home is located in), it also means they are on top of marketing trends that can maximize your home’s exposure,” she explains.
Seek out an agent who doesn’t mind educating. Knowledge is power, and it certainly can’t hurt to glean some of your agent’s knowledge so that as a buyer or seller you can feel confident in your choices. Therefore, Ban recommends working with an agent who doesn’t mind explaining some of the finer points when you ask. “It is so important to be educated about the market, the process, and what to be prepared for before you ever step foot into MLS,” she says.
Choose a broker with a strong network. In many places across the country, inventory is at an all-time low, reports Chris Bouc, real estate broker with Wolfe-Bouc Group at Liv Sotheby’s in Denver, Colorado. “Having a broker that knows other brokers and community members—and has a proven track record—is imperative in this competitive market,” he says. “Understanding who is moving where, having any intel on anything, is incredibly important right now.”
Select someone who can navigate competitive scenarios. All brokers are not the same, and one who has worked in your market for many years, and understands how competitive situations work, is key, Bouc explains. “Houses are going under contract in record time, with wild over-asking, and lots of complicated clauses,” he says. A broker who knows the minutiae of contracts and clauses, and how to navigate them, can definitely give buyers and sellers a competitive advantage.
TSG Tip 416 from Angelo DePaola, Alabama and Florida realtor®, broker, and eXp Realty agent/owner at The Coastal Connection, eXp Realty in Orange Beach, Alabama; Brooke Donald Wahl, realtor at ARC Realty Mountain Brook in Birmingham, Alabama; Meg Ban, broker at Highgarden Real Estate in Westfield Indiana; Chris Bouc, real estate broker with Wolfe-Bouc Group at Liv Sotheby’s in Denver, Colorado. The Coastal Connection, eXp Realty is featured in The Scout Guide Gulf Coast. ARC Realty Mountain Brook is featured in The Scout Guide Birmingham. Meg ban or Highgarden Real Estate is featured in The Scout Guide Hamilton County. Wolfe-Bouc Group at Liv Sotheby’s is featured in The Scout Guide Denver.