General

Choosing a Residential Realtor

 

Whether you’re selling your current home or looking to buy a new one, hiring the right residential realtor can make all the difference in your experience. Choosing an agent who knows your area inside and out, has the experience to guide you through the process, and is willing to listen to your needs is a good starting point. Then you’ll need to find an agent who fits your personality and communication style.

Residential real estate encompasses single and multifamily properties like houses, townhomes, condos, apartments and vacant land. It’s a separate branch of the real estate industry from commercial property, which includes industrial buildings, retail locations, office space and more. Realtors who specialize in residential properties are called real estate agents or brokers, and they must complete pre-licensure courses and pass a background check to earn their licenses. They also need to attend continuing education classes and participate in peer reviews to maintain their real estate licenses.

Before you choose a residential agent, you should interview several of them to test their knowledge and determine whether they’re the best fit for your needs. Some questions to ask include:

How Many Homes Have You Sold in My Neighborhood?

Ideally, your residential realtor should have sold at least a few homes in your desired neighborhood and be familiar with its amenities. This includes knowing how much traffic is in the area, what commute times are like and if there are any issues with certain types of homes in the neighborhood, such as foundation or plumbing problems.

You should also ask your potential agent how long they’ve been in the business, and if they have any specific certifications or training in the residential market. You may also want to find out if they work as part of a team, or on their own.

If you’re not happy with your agent for any reason, you have the option to file an ethics complaint with your local real estate association. Most associations have an ombudsman who can assist you in resolving the issue informally.

Your relationship with your real estate agent will be very close, so it’s important to feel comfortable working with them. This means building a rapport and trusting that they’ll keep your information confidential and put your interests first. They should also be honest with you and provide accurate information, even if it might affect their commission.

In addition to finding an agent who matches your personality and expertise, you’ll also want to choose one who understands your budget and preferences. For example, if you’re searching for a rental apartment, your agent should be able to help you narrow down neighborhoods, apartment size and price range, and go with you to open houses. They should also be willing to communicate with you in your preferred way, such as via text message or phone calls. Some real estate agents have additional qualifications, such as being a licensed attorney or having a background in interior design.