Choose Your Realtor Carefully
by Allison Trimble
As with choosing a horse trainer, the Realtor you select is extremely important in your horse’s life! Joking aside, as much care should be taken when hiring the person to protect your assets as who you choose to train and care for your horse. With minor exceptions, the criteria are quite similar. Here are things to consider when selecting a Realtor.
Trust: For most people, a real estate transaction is a major life event. The process can have many moving parts and emotions often run high. Just like the relationship between horse and rider, trust is the single most important aspect of the relationship between Realtor and client. A Realtor should hold the client’s needs above all other things, and stay calm and steady through the duration. Knowing there is a professional on your side with your best interest in mind can ease inevitable anxiety.
Communication: Whether by phone, email, or text, a Realtor should always be reachable. As a buyer in a fast market it’s important to see properties quickly as they come on the market. As a seller, a responsive Realtor helps put the best foot forward for a property to prospective buyers. Your Realtor will also be responsible for making sure you understand what happens at each step of the process, so the client can make informed decisions. The pathway of communication between Realtor and client should be open and clear. The client should always feel involved and know their needs are heard.
Presentation: When selling a property, a professional and thorough presentation is crucial to engaging the right buyer. Photographs should always be professionally done, and the property description and advertisement should be complete and informative. A talented Realtor shines a light on the best attributes of a property. Be sure to review any prospective agent’s property resume.
Work Ethic: Particularly with horse properties, a Realtor should be willing to roll up his/her sleeves and get dirty. Whether helping prepare a property for listing, becoming familiar with the property, or becoming knowledgeable about all aspects of a property, real estate is a work-intensive profession. Pick a Realtor who believes they should contribute to the transaction.
Problem Solving: There are many facets to a real estate transaction that can cause a deal to fall apart. Just like a talented horse trainer, a great Realtor is adept at troubleshooting potential issues and finding solutions when the need arises, offering a combination of attention to detail, and big picture thinking. Do not underestimate how important this particular gift is in a Realtor.
Experience in Horse Properties: Horse properties have specific qualities that require a horseman’s understanding. It is hard for a non-horseman to present the positive features of a property to a potential buyer. For example, I have seen a round-pen described as a “pony paddock.” In addition, properties on acreage tend to have more complicated features than homes on lots in the city, such as a well and septic, wetlands, and specialized tax classifications. Enlisting a Realtor with equine and acreage experience is a must.
Professional Relationships: Connections for a Realtor should be strong with photographers, lenders, home inspectors, contractors, insurance companies and other Realtors. Your Realtor should be able to connect you with referrals at each stage of the process. Hiring a Realtor who has good standing in the community and a solid reputation with other Realtors as a buyer, makes your offer stronger, and as a seller makes your property even more desirable. Everyone likes to work with a reputable, responsive Realtor.
Technology/Social Media: Most buyers first search properties online. In addition to the many search engines, a Realtor must have a strong social media presence and be responsive to online interaction. Horse properties are unique in that they often find buyers from places other than the MLS (multiple listing service), and your Realtor should have a good handle on a marketing plan.
How do you find the right Realtor? Ask for referrals from friends and relatives. Run a search online for listings like your property, or within your buying criteria, and see who has similar listings. Interview those Realtors, review their listings, and ask them for references. Pay close attention to responsiveness and quality of presentation.
It’s important that you feel confidence in the person you select, so just like with riding your horse, pay attention to your gut. Real estate can be a wild ride, so pick carefully a Realtor who won’t be easily bucked off.