Picking a Real Estate Agent?

Seven Exceptional Attributes to Look For

Hill SlowinskiFinding an excellent real estate agent or Realtor® can be a challenge. There are many to choose from and they all appear eager to help you. But how do you know which will serve your interests and help you best?  There are so many to choose from – but how do you narrow your choices?

Refine your search. Among the many qualities you want to see, consider these too:

  • All Realtors® are agents; not all agents are Realtors®.  There is a distinction. A Realtor® is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the state board and the local board, in my case, for example, the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, the Maryland Association of Realtors, and the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. Realtors pay annual dues to all of these boards and are accountable to a high degree of ethical standards, while “agents” are not. Realtors benefit you by taking continuing education classes, networking, using professional support services and resources, and more as a result of their membership status.
  • A full-time Realtor can research homes for you, network your properties, preview homes for you and much more throughout the day during normal business hours. A full-time Realtor has the time to attend real estate classes and further/update his or her education to better meet your needs.
    • Agents who only work part-time guarantee part-time attention and can hold up the real estate process for you.  Sometimes this could mean lack of focus or commitment, or cause losing the buyer of your house or losing your dream home to someone else.
    • Agents who are routinely “too busy” or who are doing on-the-job training can’t be wholly devoted to your interests since they have other responsibilities. If you need answers right away, you will have to wait to get them.  If you have to constantly deal with their assistant, you may want to consider hiring someone else.  Most discount Realtors deal with a lot of homes and will not give full service or personal attention to you.
  • Excellent Realtors have strong negotiating skills.  Listing agents who defend their commission validate the greater value they provide and will likely also negotiate strongly for you for the highest selling price from a buyer.  Those who just agree with whatever you say to get the listing will not tell you what they honestly think and will not fight for your interests. You need a confident expert.
  • You must have an expert on how to market your property on the web and who is willing to advertise using current technology and invest significant time online to heavily promote your listing. The internet has changed everything; 85% of home buyers use the internet to research their purchase.
  • Committed Realtors vigorously pursue listings and buyers in a tough market or are currently working on real estate deals. Such Realtors are actively aware of what’s really taking place in the current real estate market and of changes affecting the business. An agent’s number of years of experience in the Real Estate field do not say as much about how up-to-date or involved he or she is with current real estate market realities.
  • A great Realtor will always look out for your best interests and has time for you. Find out how many listings and buyers the Realtor has and how often he will communicate with you. Ask for references or testimonials from previous clients. Google him and read their websites and blogs for accurate information.  Check with the local real estate association to see licensing status and if any complaints have been filed.
  • Avoid those who will overprice just to get the listing. Have each agent justify a specific price and what supports that price.  If the recommended listing price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Some agents will suggest a high dollar amount just to get you to list, while others may under-price a home just so it will sell quickly.

Overall, the most important consideration is to work with someone you like and has a personality that works well with you. If you are not comfortable with the person representing you, the stressful process of buying a home becomes more stressful.  Work with someone you like, someone you feel you can trust.

F. Hill Slowinski, JD, REALTOR® in DC, MD, and VA 

W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors, A Long & Foster Company
Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates, President’s Club 2009
Consultant, Luxury Real Estate, Sloans & Kenyon Auctioneers and Appraisers
4701 Sangamore Road, Bethesda, Maryland  20816
Tel: 301-229-4000  Fax: 301-229-4015
Direct: 301-320-8430 · Cell: 301-452-1409 
Email:  HSlowinski@LNF.com  ·  Web Site: www.HillSlowinski.com
Weblog: http://HillSlowinskiRealEstate.com