My husband and I have been saving for a down payment on a house for the past year. So like most young married couples looking to buy a house, we go to a lot of open houses on the weekends just to see what’s out there.
On one hand, you get a good sense of the real estate market. On the other hand, it’s like going to a bakery while you’re on a diet—you can look but you can’t buy.
When we first went to get some information from our credit union about getting a mortgage, they automatically set us up with a realtor that had affiliations with the bank. That should have been our first indication not to go with that realtor.
However, since we were just happy to now have access to the MLS listings, we didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until we found a place in our price range that we emailed the realtor and told her we wanted to see the place.
On our first open house tour, she was curt, unapproachable, and definitely not warm. I felt so uncomfortable around her. What had we gotten ourselves into?
Here are some tips on how to choose a realtor and how we finally found a realtor we could trust.
Get Realtor Recommendations from Friends
If you have a friend you trust, or if your friends have recently gone through the home buying or selling process themselves, ask them for recommendations.
Most people actually like their realtor because they spend a lot of time with them, so recommendations should be easy to come by. One word of advice though: Always be attentive when you start mixing business with pleasure. Meaning, if you don’t end up liking the realtor your friend recommends, don’t blame it on them and don’t ruin a friendship over faulty advice.
Read Realtor reviews
These days you can read a ton of reviews online and see which realtor might make a good fit for you. Perhaps you don’t care so much about personality, and would prefer to just have the top expert in the neighborhood you’re looking for. It’s up to you to decide what’s most important in a realtor. Just remember: sometimes, you really get what you pay for.
Interview Your Realtor
You can choose to meet several different realtors to gather an idea of what you’re looking for and see whom you really click with.
We actually found our realtor at one of the open houses we visited. While we didn’t end up buying the house, we really loved the realtor. He seemed very matter-of-fact and down-to-earth.
We chose to go with him as our realtor because we really liked his personality and felt that he was very credible. He’s been a wealth of information as we look to buy our own home.