How To Choose A Realtor

There are a handful of events that take place in our lifetime that we dub 'biggest decisions of our lives.'  The day we marry our better half, the day we choose to start our families or the day we purchase our homes to name a few.  Within each of these monumental decisions is a laundry list of topics to research, pros and cons to weigh and often nights of sleep surrendered to relentless debate. Through each of these pivotal moments are trusted professionals.  We seek them out to keep us on track, to insure that the small decisions we are making along the way are bringing us closer to our bigger dreams realized.  They are clearing the path, honing our vision and absorbing the noise along the way.

When buying or selling a home, your Realtor should be no exception to the rule.  There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to real estate professionals.  Choosing a Realtor is initiating a relationship, one that will carry you through one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.  Below is a list of questions to consider when seeking out the right Realtor for you.

What experience do you have?

Remember that you are hiring this Realtor to work for you.  Like any job interview, understanding a candidate's background experience will help you assess whether they bring the right skill set to the table.  How many years have they been practicing real estate and in what capacities?  Are you seeking out a rental property?  Has this Realtor sought out similar types of income properties for previous clients?  Do they primarily work with single family homes?  Are they familiar with condominiums and associations?  Be forthright about the type of property you are looking for, not all Realtors are equipped with the know-how to land you there.  Look beyond real estate experience to related credentials in areas like marketing, law, insurance or lending.  A robust Realtor brings expertise in a variety of areas to the table.

Do you specialize in buying and selling homes in a particular area?

Some Realtors are willing to travel any distance to service a potential client while others choose to specialize in a particular territory.  A licensed Realtor in Minnesota can represent buyers and sellers anywhere within the state.  I choose to specialize in the Southwest Minneapolis and Edina neighborhoods as it allows me greater focus and understanding of the evolving market conditions.  I have also been a resident of this area for 15 years and know the people, places and things that make these neighborhoods tick.  When navigating situations such as multiple offers, out-of-town Realtors can often fall short on standard practices for the area.  You may only have one shot to land the home of your dreams, what Realtor do you want defending your interests on the front line?

How many clients do you work with at a time?

Some agents will work with dozens of clients at a time while others will limit the number they commit their services to.  Each Realtor has their reasons for doing so, just be sure this jives with the level of expectation you have for them.  In my case, working with a boutique sized brokerage based here in Edina gives me the benefit of fewer administrative fees and more rewarding commission splits.  This allows me to work with fewer clients at a time while reserving the same overall potential.  My intention is to pour myself into each new relationship, building a brand known for hard work, diligence and strategy with a personal touch.

Are you part of a real estate team?

A real estate team is often made up of a handful of players that each specialize in a particular piece of a transaction.  Real Estate teams can be structured any number of ways, for instance, some agents specialize exclusively in listing properties while their buyer's agents focus on showing buyers potential homes.  On the other hand, some Realtors work completely independently and will handle your transaction from start to finish whether you are buying or selling a home.  Initiate a dialogue to understand who you will encounter on your way to the closing table and whether you are comfortable with the direction your transaction will take.

What is your marketing plan when it comes to selling my home?

Marketing is the most important component to selling a home fast and for the highest possible price.  When interviewing a prospective Realtor, ask specifics about successful ways they've marketed properties in the past and their foresight on a marketing plan for your home.  My previous Marketing experience at Target Corporation as well as time spent in Sales with Estée Lauder owned Bumble and bumble. has given me an exclusive look at Marketing from some of the nation's top retailers.  What experience is your Realtor bringing to the table that will ultimately drive results?

What should I expect?

Don't be afraid to ask a prospective Realtor what you should expect from them during the buying or selling process.  What is their communication style and how often should you plan to hear from them?  Do they work set hours or can you expect a response on evenings or weekends?  What is their preferred method of communication and is it conducive to your lifestyle?  So much of what makes buying or selling a home stressful can be alleviated with proper communication.  Be upfront about what you need to feel informed along the way.  I have posts here on my site that outline what my clients should expect during the buying, listing and selling processes.  Check them out and see if we are a good fit for navigating the buying or selling process together.

By the end of your interview, you shouldn't need to think too hard about whether or not this Realtor is the right fit for you.  Like any professional we hire to steer us through life's pivotal moments, we should feel a sense of security and confidence knowing they are the ones advocating on our behalf.  You should feel heard, informed and a sense of ease knowing you are bringing on a professional to deliver on your dreams.

Thinking of buying or selling?  There is no cost for me to perform a Comparative Market Analysis of your home (aka: what is my home worth?)!  Contact me by email at or by phone at (612) 723-7636 today.