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Listing your home or shopping for a new home is both exciting and exhausting all at the same time. Luckily, you have an ally in it all – your realtor. Unfortunately, not all realtors are created equal. People sometimes assume that realtors are trained for every sect within the industry.

After years in the real estate investment industry, I compiled a few best practices for picking a realtor that suits your needs.

Find the type of realtor that suits your needs

As the real estate industry continues to grow, the types of brokers and agents are diversifying. Each will specialize in one area more than another, so you want to ensure you are working with a realtor that fits with what you’re looking for. They are your safeguard for your financial interests and you need to be able to trust and rely on them. 

Choose your area

Narrowing down the neighborhood you want to live in will ultimately help you decide which realtor you should choose. Real estate, when you boil it down, is a local business, and you will be at an advantage with a realtor that is familiar with the local market trends, schools, commute times, and red flags you may not otherwise be privy to.

Ask for qualifications

Find out how many years experience they have and if they are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). If they have been in business for years, they are probably doing something right and the latter shows that they take their craft seriously. Not to mention, NAR holds members to certain standards through their code of ethics. These credentials are a good means to cross-check or reinforce your gut instincts on realtors.

Pick the right type of realtor

Many home buyers are not aware that there are different types of realtors. Realtors legally work for the seller and, since they are making a commission from the purchase price of the home, they work to sell the house for the most money possible, as quickly as they can. A buyer’s broker, however, is a realtor that represents the buyer and their interests. Not only is everything discussed confidential, but they are less likely to skim over any potential problems with a home and take their time to find the home that’s right for you.

Set expectations

When you decide on a realtor you would like to work with, clearly set your expectations right out of the gate. Discuss your communication preferences to ensure you are on the same page about how often and the best method of communication is for you. Make sure that you have discussed any requirements you have for your specific home sale if you are selling, as well as a selling strategy. Additionally, it is important that you and your realtor have hammered down important details such as commission structure, list price, and contract length.