How to Vet a Realtor
All Realtors are NOT created alike!
Buying a home is a major financial transaction, possibly the largest that you will ever engage in. We have written this guide to help you in determining which of the thousands of Realtors in the Tucson area to hire for the job of helping you find the right home, and negotiate the best deal possible, with the least amount of stress and anxiety for you. Just because your best friend is a Realtor is not reason, by itself, to hire that friend for this important job. Just because someone refers you to a Realtor does not mean that Realtor is qualified or the best choice to locate and negotiate the best possible home for you at the best possible price. As professionals with many years of experience, we have seen some terrific Realtors who are dedicated to their work and truly want to provide the best possible service to their clients…and we have, sadly, seen others who give a disagreeable odor to the term “Realtor”. Here are some ideas and guidelines to make sure you find the Realtor most suited and qualified to GET YOUR JOB DONE:
- How much experience does this Realtor have? A more experienced Realtor will be better prepared to negotiate on your behalf. (Team Al & Sandy includes agents with over 60 years combined years of experience in the real estate field; Al alone has over 40 years of work as a Realtor and together we have negotiated the purchase and sale of over a Billion Dollars of real estate.)
- How many homes has this Realtor sold in the past year? If a Realtor has sold very few homes in the past year, how active are they in the real estate market and how up to date are they about new rules and laws that must be followed (these seem to change all the time, at both the federal and state levels) and the current state of the market?
- How much education does this Realtor have? A more educated Realtor is going to be your best bet. A higher level education tells you that this Realtor takes his or her work seriously, is committed to his/her real estate practice and wants to know more about how to be an effective Realtor than one who has less education. (Al has three advanced credentials in the real estate field, while Sandy has a law degree that she has used to advise on real estate matters when she was an active attorney. Sandy and two of our team members are currently pursuing advanced credentials.)
- Can this Realtor give you a list of prior clients that you can contact to verify what the Realtor has told you? If not, run the other way, fast.
- Will you be working directly with the Realtor to whom you are speaking, or will you be handed off to another realtor on the Team? We often hear from Buyers that they met the “Name Realtor” once, at the initial appointment, and never saw or heard from them again. They were instead handed off to a much younger and less-experienced agent, which was not what they thought they had bargained for. (With Team AL & Sandy, what you see is what you get. You will work directly with us, we will handle all communications and negotiations on your behalf and “the buck stops here”. You will also work with our administrative assistant, Ann McDermott, a licensed and experienced Realtor who handles the voluminous level of paperwork and scheduling deadlines involved in today’s real estate world, but we will be the only ones advising you and negotiating on your behalf. If you are working with one of our team members with less experience than us, you can trust that we will oversee the transaction to be sure it is handled correctly.)
- How many sellers and buyers does this Realtor have currently? The busier Realtors are probably the best choice, assuming the answers to the above questions are satisfactory. An inactive Realtor will probably not have the knowledge and networking connections of a very active Realtor. Those networking connections are one of the many tools that Team Al & Sandy utilize to find homes for our buyers that may not yet be on the market, so that we can get our buyers in to see these homes before they are in the MLS. If it’s a great property at a good price, there is a good chance that it will sell fast, and we want our buyers to get a first chance to see these properties.
- Is his/her license in good standing? If you have any question about this, you can verify by going to the Arizona Department of Real Estate website.
If the agents check off this list then you’re on the right track. But one word of caution is this: Do not pick someone so close to you that you can’t have a serious “straight talk” business conversation. You need someone with whom you are not uncomfortable disagreeing. And keep in mind that this person will at some point become quite intimate with your entire financial picture.
So choose the most qualified person for the job that you think you’ll work well with. The ideal person for you is an experienced professional who knows your market, acts in an ethical manner, answers all of your questions, addresses your concerns and, most important, will listen to you and be your teammate throughout the entire process.