Full disclosure: I am a Realtor in Portland, Oregon. I want your business. I hope you will hire me for your next home sale or purchase. That said, I am not the right agent for everyone. There are people I will not work with, and there are those who should not work with me. A real estate transaction creates a kind of intimate relationship and is often an intensely emotional experience. A good Realtor will protect your interests, your emotional life, and your sanity through the sometimes turbulent waters of a home sale or purchase.
Finding the right Realtor does not have to be an arduous or time-consuming process. There are three phases to finding the right Portland Realtor:
- Get recommendations from people you trust.
Ask a Realtor you know from anywhere in the country, friends, family, work colleagues, your social media community, and folks who belong to your favorite clubs and organizations for their recommendations for a good Realtor in Portland. Tell them what kind of agent you’re hoping to find (bubbly or more serious; a high-powered super-agent or a conceirge-style agent who will provide a more personal experience; a tech-savvy newer agent or a more traditional seasoned agent). People are commonly advised to hire a neighborhood agent, but that is an idea that is no longer practical or effective in the digital age. If you’re selling a house, you want an agent who is going to market your home to as many possible potential buyers in the most beautiful and compelling way to fetch the highest price. If you’re buying, you want an agent who has the ability to be flexible and introduce you to a variety of neighborhoods that match your lifestyle in case you cannot find a home to buy in the first neighborhood you selected. Pick a smart, savvy, hard-working agent who cares about you and will do the necessary research to get you into the right home in the right neighborhood for a fair price and terms.
- Choose the top 3 agents and interview them.
It may be obvious who the top agents on your list are, but if you’re having trouble, hop online and Google each candidate. Take a look at their websites and social media profiles and read some reviews from their past clients. You can interview the agents you choose by phone, Facetime/video call or in person. Like in dating, meeting in person is always best, but if you’re out of the area or pressed for time, a phone interview is fine. Ask between 3-10 specific questions to get a sense of how well you connect and how well the agent communicates her or his care, competence and commitment to you. These are examples of some of the best questions I have been asked by clients in interviews:
- Tell me about a sale similar to mine that you’ve successfully closed within the past year or two.
- What is your advertising and marketing plan for my house and why do you include what you do in that plan?
- How did you establish this price for my home and is the pricing negotiable?
- Tell me about the most difficult transaction you’ve successfully closed within the past year or two.
- What have I not asked you that I need to know?
You will also want to ask any specific questions you have about commission, frequency and style of communication, and the practical matters of the transaction. Do ask all the agents the same questions and write down your impressions of their answers, how you feel when you’re speaking to and listening to them, and rank them on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “I would never work with this person” and 10 being “Let me sign the agreement right now: you’re the one!”
- Select your agent and let the other agents know.
Try to make the decision about whom to hire within 24 hours of the last interview, and then inform each candidate of your decision. Your memory will be freshest then, and you will take the stress off yourself once you’ve made the decision and you have your Realtor start working for you.