Who You Gonna Call?

24 04 2007

It was only a few weeks ago that we sat in our homes or offices watching the snow fall and dreading the cold temperatures that awaited us outside. Well, we made it through the dark days of winter! Spring is here and it brings with it thoughts of new life and new beginnings.For some of you those new beginnings may include the decision to move.I am sure it comes as no surprise that I would recommend that if you are thinking about buying or selling a home, your first call should be to a Realtor. I recently received an e-mail from a reader of this column who inquired if I would recommend that she utilize the services of the same Realtor to help sell her current residence and help find her a new home. Her e-mail probably is one of many questions you may have about how to choose a Realtor to help you through your real-estate transaction.


Just like choosing the right doctor, lawyer or accountant for your needs, choosing the right Realtor is an essential first step in your home search. So, where do you begin? There is a good chance as you read this article that you will look up from the newspaper and see a calendar, sports schedule or recipe hanging on your refrigerator that came from a local Realtor seeking your business. Chances also are good that you know at least one Realtor, or perhaps several are among your friends, family and neighbors.

Actually, your friends and family probably are a good place to start your search. A recent study by the National Association of Realtors showed about half of the buyers and sellers surveyed found their Realtor through a referral from a friend or relative.If someone you know or trust had a great experience with their Realtor and recommends him or her to you, that is a great place to start. Another great place to start is to look around your neighborhood. Take a look at the “For Sale” signs in the area. You also may want to look at your refrigerator. Chances are you may have one or more calendars or magnets from Realtors who market your neighborhood. Realtors who market and sell homes in your neighborhood are familiar with your local market, the value of homes in your neighborhood, local schools and the other amenities available to homeowners.

Once you have the names of at least two or three potential Realtors, it is best to sit down and talk with each of them before making your decision. There are several things you should ask of any Realtor whose services you are considering retaining. These include:

What price you should ask for your home, and why. Obviously, determining the value of your home is one of the most important services your Realtor can perform for you. Your Realtor should have information for you on similar homes that have sold in your area to justify his or her pricing recommendation.

How will he or she market your home? You want to know what to expect in the marketing process. How will he or she advertise your home, and how often? Will he or she hold open houses and agent tours? How often will he or she contact you with updates? How long does he or she think it will take to find a buyer for your home?

How successful has he or she been in selling homes in your area, and how experienced is he or she as a Realtor? You have a right to know how successful the Realtor you are talking with has been in his or her sales efforts. As every community or subdivision is unique it its own way, you will want to ask the Realtor his or her experience and success selling homes in your neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to ask him or her for the names of past customers that you can talk with.

Finally, you and the Realtor will want to determine if you are a good fit for each other. You will be spending a lot of time with your Realtor, and he or she will be working hard to sell your home. It is important that you are comfortable with each other. A good working relationship between the Realtor and homeowner is essential to a successful real estate transaction.

Your decision to utilize a Realtor was the safe and right way to begin your journey to a new home. Once you determine the Realtor who is right for you, you will be on your way to your new home.

Written by Don Rogers, President of the St. Charles County Association of Realtors.

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