In the ever-convenient world of online meet and greets, there are plenty of reasons to dive deep when interviewing real estate brokers. Certainly, some of that can happen via phone, direct message or chat, even by email, but once the field is narrowed down, the conversation should continue offline whenever possible before choosing your broker. Here’s why it matters:
EXPERTISE & KNOWLEDGE
Everyone says market knowledge and real estate expertise are essential qualities that should be on full display for any broker. Agreed. But, where has that expertise been acquired? How is new knowledge obtained? Does the brokerage company support and encourage continuous education for its brokers?
Knowing a bunch of stats is great, but can your broker candidate apply them to the area, or even the very street, you’re interested in? A sharp broker will boost her market familiarity all the time by touring homes as they come onto the market while also exploring the surrounding neighborhoods. This intimate knowledge will add concrete substance to the conversation as a buyer or seller weighs the current dynamics facing them in a real estate decision.
If a broker takes ongoing education seriously, s/he will regularly acquire new skills to work within a fast-paced and oft-changing market. A smart broker will be well-tuned, not just well-heeled.
FACE-to-FACE SPEAKS VOLUMES
When you’ve narrowed the field to two or three brokers, it’s essential to further the conversation in person. In fact, most brokers will insist on a face-to-face meeting before any significant services are provided. A full-service broker, as opposed to one who works through an a-la-carte brokerage, will best be able to sense what a potential client is looking for in a real estate partner when sitting across the table from one another. Often, these get-togethers are where a plan for listing or searching for a home begins to take shape.
Continue to ask questions during the interview: What services do you provide? What are the steps to buying a house in Seattle? What should I be thinking about before listing my home? Will you be my contact throughout the whole process? Don’t be surprised if your broker candidate asks you some tough questions, too. Not to worry - that’s a good sign.
In the short run, you’re about to enter into one of life’s largest financial transactions and/or lifestyle changes, so why wouldn’t you want to hire a real estate broker with whom you feel a rapport? Yet, that warm and fuzzy feeling should surface only after you’ve done your due diligence. You should be convinced that your pick knows the market, will communicate with you continuously and honestly, has your best interest in mind and will inject some humor now and again.
A resourceful broker who moves heaven and earth for a client is a priceless and rare commodity in today’s real estate industry. In the long run, the relationship you develop with a broker could become invaluable perhaps for an entire lifetime.