Choosing a Realtor - What do you suggest?

The real estate business is tough. Did you know that there are over a million Realtors in business today. In 2009 there were 1,112,645 active members in the National Association of Realtors. In the South Central Wisconsin market there are over 2400 active Realtors. Yesterday I had lunch with a handful of lawyers and they commented on how many lawyers there are in this state. Come to think of it, there's a lot of doctors out there too. My grandma recently changed her primary physician because they, "didn't see eye to eye anymore." And the restaurant business must be really tough. There are a zillion restaurants out there to choose from on a given day. With all these choices, how does one make a good decision about their Realtor?

A few weeks ago I was chatting with someone at a local happy hour event and they asked, "how do you find most of your clients?" I looked up as I pondered and replied, "well, a lot different places actually." Some people I meet at open houses, some people I encounter when they call into the office, some are family members, some people I meet through friends or referrals from people that I know, others I meet at organizations I'm involved in (DMI, Magnet, LGM), and sometimes I have people call or email me out of the blue because they came across my blog or website. Other times I receive a referral from other agents throughout the country. And then there are some people looking for a new home, or need to sell a home, but for whatever reason they don't choose me as their Realtor. And that's okay. I don't need to sell every home in my area.

Last year in Dane County there were 5,451 residential home sales, including single family and condos. If I were superman, I could probably not serve every single one of these clients. Actually I would be perfectly content with a small percentage. There is a need for Realtors to help all of these people buy and sell their properties. There are many people who want and need the help of a Realtor. That's where I come in. If you wanted to buy or sell a home in the Madison area this year, how would you go about choosing a Realtor?

I would suggest that you find a Realtor that you know, like, and trust. If you're moving from Chicago or Minneapolis and don't know anyone in the Madison area, then find a way to get to know a Realtor. Maybe through facebook or LinkedIn. Then determine if you like and trust them to help you on your house hunting journey. After an interaction or two, you'll probably know if you like them or not. For example, I have been to some Chamber of Commerce events in the past, and I can tell right away if I like someone or not. I can tell right away if they are acting fake or insincere. I'm sure you can too. If you like someone, you probably have something in common and can simply talk about your similar interests.

Knowing and liking are important, but probably the most important is trust. Trusting that they will do the right thing. Trusting that they have your best interests. Trusting that they know what the heck they are doing (they have helped people in the past). How qualified are they? Is this their full-time profession? Trusting that they will do an excellent job for you. I would suggest asking them what makes them different compared to other Realtors. Would an introduction letter and resume be appropriate?

Or you could just do a random search in the yellow pages or google search. There's got to be someone out there willing to help. There is, actually. As I mentioned previously, over 2400 Realtors in South Central Wisconsin. I suggest finding one that you know, like and trust. What do you suggest? How important is choosing the right Realtor?

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