The process of buying and selling real estate creates a unique relationship between you and your broker. He or she will have privileged information about every aspect of your life—from detailed financial information and capacity to major life changes such as welcoming another child or filing for divorce. It’s necessary to share that detailed information with your broker to ensure they can adequately represent you and prepare for possible pitfalls. So in addition to their technical capabilities of buying and selling, you need to trust them completely. Not to mention you’ll be spending a good deal of time with this person, so you should have a good rapport with them.
Some things you might consider in choosing your broker.
- Communication Style
Hire a broker who is comfortable communicating in the way you prefer. Some brokers don’t text. If that’s all you do, that won’t be a good fit. Hate email and want phone calls? Whatever your preferences, make them known to your broker.
- Individual or Team?
Individuals who manage the entire transaction from beginning to end can build a very close relationship with their client and the continuity of a single point of contact can make things go very smoothly. Teams benefit from having a large group of people each handling specific parts of the transaction—which can achieve great efficiencies and mean quicker response times to phone calls and emails from clients. Individual brokers or small teams with support staff try to meld some of the benefits of both approaches. You should consider what type of relationship will suit you best.
Finding a Broker
- Ask Friends, Family and Colleagues for Recommendations
If they’ve had a good or bad experience you’ll certainly hear about it, and you’ll gain some insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a given broker. Oftentimes you’ll find brokers tend to connect with certain types of clients and therefore are a good fit for friends who have similar traits that have drawn them together.
- Informally Interview Brokers at Open Houses
Open houses are viewed as an opportunity for brokers to meet unaffiliated buyers, so as a buyer you should consider them an opportunity to informally interview brokers. Even if the house being held open isn’t for you, you can ask questions about the market in general or other properties and might find you have a good connection with a broker in this environment. Open houses can also be a good opportunity for sellers to view properties in their neighborhood and informally meet listing brokers who are selling other homes in the area.
- Ask Your Mortgage Broker or Loan Officer for Recommendations
If you already have a connection with a lender you trust, that person likely knows many brokers and has first hand knowledge based on professional interactions.
How you select your broker after receiving recommendations may vary widely. Some people get a recommendation and, if they feel they “click” with the broker, they run with it. Others prefer to interview several brokers and have a more regimented approach.
There is no correct answer, but it’s important to be up front with your broker. If you’re interviewing multiple brokers, let them know and if they end up not being selected, let them know as a courtesy.
The National Association of Realtors has a thorough article with their recommendations on how to choose a Realtor.
Bankrate.com weighs in with their suggestions on how to choose a real estate agent.