Selling Your Home? How to Find the Right Realtor


This is the fifth and final post in a five-part series about getting ready to sell your home. Today’s insight applies to both buyers and sellers.

Having the right Realtor can be a lot more critical than you think. It’s not just about finding someone to fill out a contract for you. You might not even get under contract or to the closing table if you don’t choose wisely. Let me show you what I mean.

Selling your home can be a stressful process. It’s a huge financial and possibly emotional decision and you need to feel comfortable with your Realtor. You’ll want to be able to communicate your needs clearly and have someone who can really listen to what you are saying. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up for your needs, your Realtor might go into assumption mode and not catch that perhaps a quick sale is more important to you than getting top dollar. Or maybe you’d rather accept the offer of someone who promises to love and preserve your 70’s style home rather than tear it down and build a modern rental. I’ve watched Realtors quickly dismiss potential buyers without spending the time to inquire whether there might be a good match between the buyer and seller.

Worse, sometimes Realtors forget that they need to relay all information to the seller since it is the seller who ultimately makes the decision on what offer to accept or reject. It can be easy for a seasoned professional to forget who the real boss is. You’ll want to find a Realtor who you believe will take the time to listen and understand you well, uphold your interests throughout the sale of your home, and stay in close communication throughout the selling process.

Second, you’ll want to find a Realtor who is presentable (both in person and on the phone) and organized. You may not know it, but Realtors on the other side of the deal are constantly deciding whether to encourage their client to enter a contract not just with you but to get involved with your Realtor. While there are many Realtors in most any city, reputations develop quick. As soon as Realtors know which Realtors are known for being disorganized, aggressive, or even unethical they loath the possibility of getting involved in another deal with such agents. If a Realtor has a reputation for submitting unreasonable demands or encouraging their client to offer high only to threaten to back out when the appraisal comes in low, Realtors know that any buyer attached with such an agent could jeopardize their seller from having a smooth transaction.

For example, once, when I was holding an open house for my seller, an agent came in with her clients barefoot, dressed unprofessionally, and struggling to maintain a coherent conversation with me. Every time her clients were out of ear shot, she would tell me how hungover she was. This party then went on to submit an offer without a cap to the escalation clause. Although their offer was the only one to do this, there were also a few additional red flags with the offer. The red flags in the offer were enough for my clients to not accept it but I shudder to think what could have happened if their offer was chosen.

Third, you want to have a Realtor who will thoughtful and respectfully advocate for your needs in a way that will keep the other side engaged. I’ve listened to phone calls where Realtors start getting short with the Realtor on the other end of the deal. Doing this is never a good idea because it is human nature to stop listening and collaborating when this happens. People want to feel valued and heard even if they don’t end up getting their way.

I once worked on a deal for a buyer where throughout the course of the contract I was able to work the price down $100,000. The seller was not a reasonable man. He had already fallen out of contract with a previous buyer because he didn’t like the buyer’s tone of voice. But, I made sure that both he and his Realtor continued to feel heard and worked very logically and calmly with them to work the price down due to some serious inspection issues. At the end, everyone was glad that they hung in there to get what they ultimately wanted. We all felt genuinely friendly toward one another when sitting around the closing table.

Finally, you want a Realtor who will apply their industry knowledge and skills to the sale of your home.  Some Realtors just become “yes men” because they are desperate for you to sign a listing agreement with them. If you ask to list your home at an unreasonably high price, these Realtors will be quick to comply. But what they won’t have the courage to tell you is that homes that are listed above fair market value typically end up selling for less than if they had been put on the market at a reasonable price from the start.

Realtors also know that there are multiple ways potential buyers could find your home. If a Realtor is to only put your home on the MLS, you are missing out on reaching a wider pool of buyers. You need a Realtor that will show you how they are going to go above and beyond to market your home and then do just that. The more buyers who see your home, the better the likelihood of getting multiple offers and closing above asking price.

It can be a confusing process in choosing a Realtor especially if you have guilt around feeling pressured to choose someone because they are a family member or a friend of a friend. Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make in your life. It’s crucial that you can work with someone who puts you at ease knowing that your best interests will be served. And if you are unable to tell your Realtor sister-in-law that you don’t want to work with her, a good Realtor should also be able to help you handle that conversation so that everyone walks away feeling respected. Seriously, it’s possible. The next family gathering can still be saved!

If you have any questions about how to find the right Realtor, please feel free to reach out. I can even help you locate the right Realtor if you are looking to buy or sell outside the Boulder/Denver metro area. Your next, great transaction is just around the corner!