When I tell people here in Central Oregon what I do for a living there’s a common theme. First, once I tell them I’m in real estate, they inevitably say “Oh my brother (insert any of the following: Mom, Dad, sister-in-law, best friend, etc…) is a real estate broker as well! Secondly, they typically say something like “Oh the real estate market here is booming isn’t it, I bet you make bank!” I typically laugh and say “Right? Everyone and their brother is a realtor here in Central Oregon!” But with so many real estate brokers to choose from and so little knowledge out there about what brokers really do, how does a responsible consumer who’s selling or buying one of the biggest investments in their lives know how to make heads or tails of where to go from there? Well… Let me tell you what makes all the difference in the world between an uncomfortable, stressful transaction and a lovely, memorable experience. There are really only two key things to look for when selecting a realtor. Because cashing in on your good investment from when you bought your home 10 years should be fun! Spending money on your dreams and finding the right place to call home should be fun!
Up until 2 1/2 years ago I was a business development manager in the Portland area for a company with clients all over the globe. It required a lot of international travel for me, marathon business meetings, long negotiations, complex marketing campaigns, maneuvering through tons of regulations, and a lot of paperwork. Realizing the need to simplify my life for me and my family, I left the industry and decided to try my hand at putting all the effort that I provided my employer into my very own business. Looking at my skills and knowing I needed a simpler and stress-free lifestyle as well, I chose to enter the real estate industry. It has indeed been an interesting ride ever since! I’ve yet to realize the stress-free aspect of my current work, but I will say the advantages outweigh the stresses. I still deal with a lot of paperwork and regulations. So back to my original question about the difference between a great real estate experience or an awful one. The choice is simple and complex at once. It comes down to the broker you choose and the team of folks that stand behind them. As simple as that sounds, it’s not an easy thing to determine when everyone and their sister is “telling” you what you need. But in my experience, your relationship with your real estate agent is the number one indicator of how well the property buying or selling experience will go for you and your family. With that said there are some very integral skills required of your potential agent that you should be looking for. Here’s some of the most important.
It’s often overlooked in our industry, but personality is so important when doing business with someone. For some reason, people separate business from personal aspects in their lives. Maybe we’ve all watched the Godfather too many times (“It’s not personal… It’s business” – Michael Corleone), but I personally don’t know how you can do business effectively without it being personal, especially when you’re dealing with folks who are trusting you with details in one of the biggest cash transactions they’ll ever make. I just don’t work like that. It may seem trivial but finding an agent that you enjoy and would even consider befriending outside of any deal is very important in whether you enjoy your experience or not.
Just like any friend you would choose to let into your life, they must have certain traits that match up with your expectations of the kind of person you enjoy being around right? Important things like honesty, a good communicator, genuine and friendly, the same kinds of priorities in their life, and attentive to your wants and needs as well. All these “soft skills” are so important in a friend… AND your agent! Choose who you connect with rather than who you know!
My next blog will continue with the second biggest thing to look for in a realtor! Stay tuned!
Michael Neely Brown
Real Estate Broker at Norwest Realty LLC