Previous < Choose a Realtor
There isn’t a one-stop site for good Realtor reviews. Zillow, Google, and Facebook reviews are probably the most common. In addition to the quality of reviews, the quantity can reveal an agent who is established in the area and has a lot of experience working with buyers and sellers in the area.
Designations and Certifications
You don’t want to work with a Realtor whose education ended with their license exam. First, the real estate license process is not as useful as it should be. Secondly, there are great educational opportunities that agents should be taking advantage of. Foremost is the Graduate Realtor Insitute (GRI) given by the National Association of Realtors. Other designations that can be valuable are Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Military Relocation Professional (MRP), and ePro. Additionally, Realtors who attend the State or even national Realtor conventions show commitment to maintaining their proficiencies.
Real estate has a steep learning curve. Starting out, many agents do ten deals a year or fewer. Every transaction is different. It might be years before an agent experiences their first low appraisal, deals with retrofitting a manufactured home, or works with a USDA buyer. There is certainly an advantage to an agent who has been active at least a few years.
Related to education and experience, your agent should be prepared to answer basic questions like “how’s the market” and “what can I expect if…”. An agent won’t know the details of a specific property or neighborhood, necessarily, but they should be able to competently answer basic questions about the area and how real estate works.
Technology is about more than just convenience. A tech-savvy agent probably has stronger systems in place like transaction management software to ensure that important to-dos do not fall through the cracks.
Membership in the Local Association and MLS
It doesn’t get much more local than real estate, and it is extremely important to have a local real estate agent who knows the area. The most basic demonstration of local competence is membership in the local association and MLS. For the Fort Hood area, the local association is FHAAR. The local MLS is the CTXMLS.
Occasionally agents get in trouble with the Texas Real Estate Commission. Even good agents can find themselves on the list, but if your agent is here, it’s worth asking them about it. You can search TREC violations by name or license number here.
Realtors have a lot going on, and I hope can be forgiven the mental slip or two. But if you are asking for foreclosures in Harker Heights and they keep insisting on new construction in Copperas Cove, they may be bad listeners.
The Listing Agent
Did you find your agent on the yard sign of a house you liked? That is a tremendous mistake. The listing agent represents the seller, not you. They may be a good agent, but you need to get your own.
Part Time Agent
Everybody has got to start somewhere, but real estate is an increasingly consolidated and professional industry in which only full-time agents will be able to keep up and thrive. The immense amount of knowledge and experience required to do real estate well in an ever-changing industry and market means you should steer clear of part-time agents.
Can’t Explain Why They’re Better
All agents are not alike. If your agent can’t explain what they do that is different and better, then they probably haven’t given it any thought. You want to work with an agent who cares about what they provide, is keeping an eye on the competition, and always striving to do more.
Relatives or Friends
With one million Realtors in America, you probably already know a few. Personal relationships are great, but that is not a qualification. Be sure to interview your friend or family member just like you would any other Realtor. Compare their interview to the other agents you interviewed. Make sure you are really getting the best service available. A deal gone bad can destroy a treasured relationship.
Pushing You Onto Builders
Buying new construction in Fort Hood is tempting, but not the right decision for every buyer. If you feel like your agent is pushing a builder onto you, beware. Be sure you consider resale alternatives, as well. Some agents prefer working with builders because the process is easier, price points are higher, and builders are more likely to offer bonuses to agents.
The Only One You Interviewed
Interview multiple agents. Comparing the personality, style, presentation, and tools of different agents will allow you to set expectations, get second opinions, and get the most from your home search. Aim to interview three different agents.
List of Interview Questions for Your Realtor
- What association do you belong to?
- Which MLS(es) do you belong to?
- Do you have any other jobs other than as a real estate agent?
- How many buyer side transactions did you do last year?
- Where should I look up your reviews?
- What technology do you use during the transaction?
- Where is your website?
- What makes you different from other buyer’s agents?
- What additional education have you completed since getting your license?
- Did you attend the most recent State convention?
- Are you a team? Who will I be working with during the transaction?
- Do you have a recommended vendors list?