5 Tips: How NOT To Choose Your Realtor

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A solid realtor can help make your transition to a new home painless, efficient, and easier on your wallet in the long run. But let’s face it: A crummy realtor can make an already overwhelming process a living nightmare.

Check out these tips to ensure that the agent you put your trust in doesn’t let you down.

o1. DON’T NOT Check That License

Unknown to most, anyone can look up the license status of any realtor, just as long as they know the agent’s first and last name. To do so, simply follow the directions at the California Department of Real Estate website.

Why is this important?

Because you can find out if the agent in question actually is licensed, and if their license is restricted in any way. If your agent’s license status is noted as being “restricted”, this may mean that they have been officially reprimanded for some sort of professional wrong-doing. Whatever the reason for a restricted license, this is something definitely worth knowing ahead of time!

o2. Part-Timers vs. Professionals

Here’s the thing: real estate isn’t an easy gig.

If you’re a realtor, you will be required to do all your work upfront, with no guarantee that you will ever be paid for it. You will work all hours of the day and probably most holidays. Every vacation you take will be a working vacation, because you can never leave your business unattended. Medical benefits? Regular paycheck? A 401(k)? Nope!

The point is, to survive in this career full-time, you have to work HARD and love it, and this is why the vast majority of realtors tend to quit in their first year.

So if the realtor you’re hiring has a different, full-time profession that pays the bills — meaning that they only do real estate “on the side” — this can be telling. Consider choosing an agent who is all-in in this business, and has proven that they are a professional, not a part-timer.

o3. Don’t Go Out-Of-Area

If you are shopping for a home in a different town — whether it’s just a dozen miles away from your current home, or a couple states away — consider hiring an agent who is indigenous to that area, rather than one who works where you currently live.

Some areas can vary distinctly from the markets of neighboring towns depending on any number of factors (infrastructure, employment, volume of homes, etc.). As much as you might love the realtor who lives around the corner, he or she likely won’t know another area as well as an agent who lives and works there specifically.

A local agent can also give you a better understanding of the “vibe” of the area — what the schools might be like, where the nearest Trader Joe’s is, how heavy the traffic may be in the morning, etc. — and that can be invaluable.

o4. Don’t Tolerate Crappy Communication

Whether it is your first time moving, or your fifteenth, transparent communication on the part of your realtor is always crucial. If you feel that you have to constantly reach out to your agent for updates and answers, or if it regularly takes them hours to respond to your calls, texts, or emails, you could be setting yourself up for a rough time.

o5. Don’t Hire The Town Jerk

Negotiation is crucial when it comes to real estate, and naturally you want to hire someone who will go to the mat for you and fight for the best price and terms possible. That said, we live in a small world, and if an agent has a reputation for being combative, unreasonable, or disorganized during a transaction, it won’t be long before other realtors avoid working with them, and this can be detrimental to you as a client.

On the flip side, if your agent has a reputation for being highly competent and pleasant to work with, other agents may advocate more strongly for your offers, or advise their buyers to see your listing, because they know your agent will make their job easier.


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