Hat tip to Ann Douglas who sent in these 10 tips:


Here are additional thoughts:

11.  Check for experience.

An easy way is to look at their license number, which is now on every agent’s card.  My personal rule of thumb is Klinge Realty’s corporate license number 01388871, from June, 2003.  Because the license numbers are issued sequentially, I know that anyone who has a lower number has been licensed for eight or more years.

12.  Ask the agent to provide you with a written MLS list of their recent sales.

You can decide for yourself whether their experience suits you needs.  My rule-of-thumb is that a realtor who has re-calibrated to the new market is closing at least a sale per month, or 12 per year.

13. They know where the deals are.

A good buyer’s agent should at least be able to name a couple of good buys in the area.  Closed sales are OK.  If they mention active listings, then even better because they keep up on the current available inventory, and if they can name sales that they’ve closed recently that impress you, oh happy day.

14. They can pinpoint the value of a home.

You want to work with an agent who knows at least as much as you do.

15.  They know the approximate costs of repairs.

If they can recite examples they have been involved with recently, great, and if they know vendors for quotes it will be very helpful.

16. They assist you with how much to offer.

If the agent says, “How much to offer is up to you”, just move on.  That is weak.

17.  They have specific negotiating strategies.

How they handle the presenting of your offer, and being able to predict the next couple of moves, creates a logical path to the finish line.

18.  They know financing.

Getting yourself pre-qualified is easy, but some properties don’t qualify (condos, etc.).  Plus knowing the steps to the finish line and helping the loan rep get there, avoids delays.

19.  They have testimonials on their spiffy website.

Sure it could all be family members, but better than nothing.

20.  They talk you out of buying.

They are able to point out the reasons why you shouldn’t buy this one.

Having a sharp, detail-oriented staff to assist with the processing of a transaction is critical too, but without a good realtor you won’t need to worry about that part yet.  But if you have narrowed down the search to a few candidates, that might be a tie-breaker.

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Jim the Realtor
Jim is a long-time local realtor who comments daily here on his blog, bubbleinfo.com which began in September, 2005. Stick around!

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