It’s no secret that technology has changed the way we communicate. But when buying or selling a home, the unwritten rules of communication might not be as clear as with friends and family. We talked to real estate agents across the country to provide you with some tips to help foster good relationships with your agent.
Arrange an Interview with a Potential Agent
“One of the most important things for a buyer is to find an agent they can trust,” says Suzanne Granoski, a real estate agent with @home Real Estate in Alexandria, Va. By talking with potential agents first, you can ensure that person will meet your needs and is a good fit. Don’t hesitate to ask for references from previous clients, she says.
Experts agree that the interview process also is a good time to set expectations as to the method and frequency of communication.
“I think people aren’t prepared as clients to anticipate that their needs will change, but it often happens, both in terms of the location and in terms of the actual property that they’re finding,” says Virgil Frizell, Reston, Va., agent who serves as secretary/treasurer of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.
If you can express and communicate those changes to your agent, it will help them more appropriately fulfill those needs, says Frizell.
It’s important to note that while younger generations mostly favor text or email communication, seniors often prefer to be contacted by phone, says Jim Liptak, a real estate agent in Paso Robles, Calif.
Communicate Often and Openly
If your agent shows you to a property that doesn’t seem like a good fit, let him or her know right away. There’s no need to spend a lot of time at a property that won’t work for you just because your agent has taken you there, says Frizell.
In busy markets, it’s important to have established methods of communication that will allow your agent to get in touch with you quickly.
“If the client isn’t available within a couple hours’ time, that could mean losing or gaining a piece of property,” says John Kmiecik, regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors in Chicago. “Client should always feel like you’re right there, that you’re available and that you can interpret the information for them in the method that they want it.”
Use Your Agent as a Resource
Real estate websites can provide a wealth of information for those in the market for a home, but buyers must remember that the property listing services these websites offer are not always as accurate as the Multiple Listings Service agents use, says Granoski.
“The biggest problem I see a lot of buyers and sellers make is that they look at the information and they don’t know how to interpret it or analyze it,” Kmiecik says. “Our job is to help them take some of the information and analyze it specifically towards their needs.”
Agents are legally restricted from discussing certain topics, such as crime, due to the Fair Housing Act. However, if there is a question that your agent cannot answer for you, he or she should be able to direct you to a source that can.
© CTW Features