1. They need to be an expert on the market.
2. They need to be a skilled negotiator.
Being an expert on the market usually means being a realtor full time. Here in Yuma AZ, where I live, each neighborhood is it’s own little “mini market.” We’ve seen prices going up in one neighborhood while a few streets down, values are dropping. Only someone who is actively in the business would understand those nuances.
Negotiating skills largely go hand-in-hand with a good understanding of the market. Having expert knowledge of the current values and trends in individual neighborhoods will help your agent to negotiate the best deal for you.
Of course, It’s important to do business with someone you like and trust, someone who’s a good personality fit for you. A likeable agent will help you in more ways than you think. Not just because you’re going to have to deal with this person a lot over the next month or two of your life. But likeability also factors pretty heavily into negotiating skill. If they were able to get you to like them, chances are they’re a good communicator and will be an effective negotiator.
Another thing is responsiveness. A home is a big enough transaction that sometimes it requires effort, not just during 9-5 business hours. So you need someone who is accessible, who returns your calls, and who you can develop a rapport with so that if you need something, they’re there for you.
A quick word of caution: If at all possible, you want to work with a person who is referred by someone you trust. However, you may want to avoid using a family member or friend. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t work with your cousin or your aunt, but don’t use them just because you know them. This is too important a decision. If they don’t fit the other criteria, you may want to reconsider. And most people will agree with me that it’s best not to mix business and family.
So as a quick recap, the secrets to choosing the right realtor come down to this:
Work with someone you like and trust, who returns your calls, and has an expert knowledge of your local market. If at all possible, work with a person who is referred by someone you trust. Let me make you an offer: I have been in this line of work in Yuma for long enough now that I’ve worked with most of the realtors in town. There are a lot of excellent agents here. If it would help you, give me a call and I would be happy to personally provide you with a referral.