Everyone knows, or seems to be related to, a real estate broker. The industry is not short on licensed agents to assist buyers and sellers. When making a substantial purchase on a home do not feel obligated to use a friend, family member, or even a referral unless that person is a rock star full-time broker.
Here are my top 5 things to look for in a qualified broker to represent you when buying or selling a home.
- Industry knowledge: Does the broker know his or her stuff? A qualified broker will have answers to most of your questions, will know where to find what they don’t know, and will be a student of the local market.
- Professionalism: You want someone who dresses the part, speaks courteously, answers the phone, responds to emails/texts in a timely fashion, arrives to appointments on time, and has a good working relationship with other brokers.
- Connections: A dedicated broker has several referrals in his/her back pocket. Likely connections include lenders, inspectors, contractors, handymen, cleaners, landscapers, stagers, and designers. If you need a recommendation many of these folks should be on speed dial.
- Expects Standard Area Commission: Do not pick a buying or selling broker because of lowered commissions. This may be attractive, but often lowers service level and that personal touch. Besides, if a broker is willing to lower their own pay how well will they negotiate on your behalf? My one exception is lowering commission on the sale of a home if the client is also using me to help them purchase a new home.
- Services Offered: A full-time broker has strategies and systems for working with buyers and also sellers. You will know from your initial meeting if the broker you are speaking with has a well thought out plan to help you buy or sell a home. He or she should also show up prepared with literature, examples, and ready to take notes.
You can lower your concern about the following:
- Company: You are hiring an individual who will be working on your behalf. Big name real estate brokerages are not better, more well-trained, or licensed differently than agents at smaller or boutique firms.
- Length of experience: Newer brokers are not necessarily a bad thing and will likely work very hard to earn and maintain your business. The questions I would recommend asking a baby broker are “What kind of training and mentorship are you receiving?” and “Who will be overseeing your work and answering questions during our transaction?”
Real estate is a unique industry as it attracts many part-time brokers and loses so many who can’t make a living. Using my advice and your own intuition will help you find the right person for your situation!