By Holly Henbest, Realtor

Are you thinking about buying or selling? Your first step is to hire a Realtor. With so many Realtors to choose from, how do you select the best one for you? Here are some suggestions on how to determine who will be the best fit for your needs.

Questions Buyers and Sellers Should Ask:
• Is the Realtor full-time or part-time? This is critical! Is this their career or something they do on the side? If it’s their career, they are more likely to be available when you need them and be available to negotiate and manage the process through to closing. If they are part-time, this may not be a priority for them or they may not be available when you or the other parties in the transaction need them.
• Are they experienced? We all know that with anything you do in life, the more experience you have, the more you know and the better you perform. Practice makes perfect is a saying for a reason. Without the appropriate experience, you may find yourself paying more or missing out on opportunities because the Realtor is not savvy enough to know how to maneuver through situations.
• Do they have a team or are they solo? There is no right or wrong answer here, but it’s critical to know that if your Realtor is sick, on vacation or on another appointment, will someone be available to assist you? In other words, do they have enough coverage to ensure your needs are met?
• Are they familiar with the area? Will he or she know how to evaluate the comps in the area, including the nuances to neighborhoods and builders?
• How much of their business is representing buyers vs. sellers?
• Do they have a website and social media presence?
• Do they have repeat clients and examples to share?
• Do they have references you can call?
• What makes them unique?
• What was their most difficult purchase/sale?
• What was their proudest purchase/sale?
• Have they won any awards or recognition?
• Do they provide any educational materials?

Questions Sellers Should Ask:
• What is their average amount of days on the market?
• What is their ratio of list price to sale price?
• Do they use professional stagers, photographers, and videographers?
• Can they provide samples of previous listings? Ask them to email the listings to you so you may review their descriptions, photos, videos, etc.
• Do they have any unique marketing avenues?
• What is your home worth and what is their pricing philosophy?

Questions Buyers Should Ask:
• Have they won bidding wars? If yes, ask them to describe examples.
• How do they work to find a home for a buyer?
• What should a buyer do to be prepared to write an offer?
• What is their best advice for the next steps in the buying process?

There are of course many more questions to consider, which may depend on your unique buying and/or selling situation and needs, but these are a good start.

When interviewing a Realtor, you’ll not only want to verify that you are partnering with someone qualified, experienced and savvy, but you also want to ensure that you are working with someone you trust and with whom you will enjoy a working relationship. Do they have the right energy and disposition for you to feel comfortable and confident? Realtors and their clients spend a lot of time talking on the phone, so it will be important that you partner with someone you will look forward to spending time with and you’ll be excited to see their name pop-up on your phone with an incoming call.

Skills, experience, trust, and confidence will equal a winning combination.