Sometimes the idea of finding a realtor can create as much anxiety as dealing with a car salesmen or looking for a hairdresser that will actually give you a cut you love. At least with buying a car if you don’t like the salesman you can walk away and a bad hair cut will grow out, but a bad real estate agent can have serious consequences that could result in a lost deal or find yourself in a situation that will cost you money or have long-term implications. We all would like to think that every agent out there would go the extra mile to provide you with the best experience – after all this is your HOME. It affects your life, your family. The last thing you want is to find out that your home is being shown without your knowledge, or you don’t hear from a realtor for days or weeks on end and the home wanted is no longer available. You want someone who cares about your long-term satisfaction with their service.
A great real estate agent can take what is normally already a stressful time and turn it into a much better experience with the support, confidence, understanding and compassionate help at your side, and who is dedicated to you and your family.
Our goal is to help you avoid your own horror story, and while no realtor is perfect, there are definitely wise steps that can be taken to create a good partnership. You want to find someone who is going to work hard for you.
- Educate Yourself. Just as you shouldn’t walk on to a car lot without doing some research as to what car you need and the going price, even more importantly do some work learning about the parts of town where you would like to live, what type of home you need, what is on the market, average home prices, what is the reputation of the different builders in town, etc. Your agent is the expert but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be informed.
- Meet Face to Face (or at least talk over the phone). Make an appointment to interview an agent to get a better idea of their personality, what their expertise is, if they listen well, and if they genuinely care. Trust your instincts- your gut will tell you if you can work well with someone.
- Give Yourself Time To Decide. Ask questions and interact with a potential agent over a few days or weeks before making a choice. This is a very important decision. Do they respond to you in a timely manner? Do they communicate well? Are they professional or is this a “hobby”? Are they over-booked and too busy to give you the time you need?
- They Should Be Proactive. Look for an agent who understands all the facts about your situation plus recognizes the emotional aspect. Who wants to take the time to search for a home, find one you love, get your heart set on it – then find out that there is some restriction that doesn’t allow you to buy. Experiences like that can be avoided upfront with the agent understanding everything about you, your timeframe, your budget, what type of mortgage you will have, etc. We knew of a family who found the place they wanted after weeks of searching and the agent wrote up an offer – only to find out that the town home they wanted didn’t qualify for a FHA loan. Proper preparation on the end of the realtor would have saved all of them hours of searching and the disappointment felt by the family. Find someone who understands your timeline and limitations. Who genuinely cares about finding the right situation for your family – even if it means putting on the brakes if need be. You don’t want to be pushed into a home or a sale that isn’t right for you.
- A Good Communicator. Talk about what the expectations are for communication and how you prefer to communicate: whether it is through text, a phone call, email, or to meet in person. Be upfront with what you expect and ask them what their expectations are. Another story we heard was of a widow who was selling the only home she ever knew for nearly 50 years. It was a difficult decision and made worse by a realtor who rarely called and followed up. Appointments were canceled but the agent would fail to let her know after she would wait all day. Offers were strung out and she felt left in the dark. Only when she contacted the agent and told him she was pulling out of the deal that was being worked on, for lack of communication, did the agent spring into action and finish up the job. This is unacceptable! Communication is key to a smooth process.
- Frankness and Openness. Are they willing to have the hard conversations with you when necessary yet keep a positive attitude?
- They Walk The Extra Mile. Do you know the questions to ask or the next steps to take? A good realtor will help you ask the questions, will guide you to find out what you do and don’t know and won’t assume you already know what to do. They are the experts and should be asking you questions to find out as much as possible about you and what you do and don’t know. They also won’t disappear before the ink is dry on your contract. You want an agent who appreciates you and your business.
- Customer References and Testimonials. A good realtor should be willing to have you speak to past clients. Find out how their experience was – good and bad.
- Do They Have A Specialty? Many agents specialize in one area or another. For example: If you are looking for a condo that you can live in for a few years and then turn into rental property, make sure you find a realtor who has expertise in rentals in that area, property management, and condos – it is not the same as renting a home. They can give you sound advice. Maybe you need a realtor who has experience in finding homes for families with special needs or you are in the military. Think about all aspects of your family situation and discuss it with your prospective agent.
Remember a real estate agent is applying for a job to represent YOU. It is worth the time to find a good fit as you navigate those waters and who will be willing to guide and direct you and ask the hard questions. In the end it will be worth the extra effort you put forth up front. After all it’s your retreat, your memories, your life – not just a house.
We would be honored to have the opportunity to interview with you if you are looking for a real estate agent for either buying or selling in the Colorado Springs area. Or if you know of any families with special needs, in the military, or telecommute from home and needs someone who understands their special situation contact us at: and we would love to talk with you over coffee about how we can partner with you and your family.