I have been meaning to write about this topic since I decided to become a Real Estate Agent in San Jose, CA, last year after a successful career in Real Estate Law. By the way, did you know that 94% of Realtors had another career before entering the Real Estate business? Unlike some though, I chose to become a Realtor, not just to leverage my background or indulge my passion for Home Design, and Interior Decoration but mostly to engage with and help people about to make one of the most important financial decisions in their life. A Realtor who puts the interests of his clients before his business will always be successful in my opinion. That is the first thing I would look for in a Realtor.
In order to find this 'selfless' Realtor, do not be afraid to spend some time searching, you will be rewarded. It is always fine to meet your neighbor's Realtor but do not stop here. You need to select your Realtor by yourself and for the right reasons, not because he or she may be recommended by friends or colleagues. In other words, you need to connect with that person. So my second tip is: shop around and let Realtors compete for your trust.
90% of home buyers start their real estate research on line. Browse through several pages of search results as the best placed Realtors may just appear at the top as a result of savvy search engine optimization techniques (aka SEO). Take the time to browse through their site (which should be clean-lit, informative and well structured and not just filled with keywords), read about their business philosophy, their background, their story and understand their expertise in the areas you may be interested to settle in and the types of homes you are looking for (e.g. REO, Short Sales, Foreclosed homes). Also, make sure your Realtor is licensed and affiliated with recognized local and national Real Estate professional organizations (such as NAR, CAR and SCCAOR in California) for liability issues. Hence my third tip : Run your Due Diligence before committing.
Finally, the Moment of Truth happens when you meet the happy few Realtors you have carefully selected. In today's real estate market, look for reactive, efficient and discerning Realtors. Good judgment and listening capabilities are essential qualities required from any Realtor. Also remember that a capable Realtor will not engage without proper assurance that you are in a personal and financial position to start looking for a home (e.g pre-approved by your bank). Last tip of the day: Make sure you are dealing with a true professional who cares about your needs.
You may not realize it but once found the right Realtor for you, you are already halfway in your journey to find the perfect home. To be continued...
© Sophia Delacotte CDPE, SFR, CHS
San Jose Realtor
Cell: (408) 717-2575