January 6, 2019

Forge a strong Realtor®-client partnership to chart 2019’s housing market


The single most important thing anyone planning to buy or sell a home this year can do is partner with the right Realtor®.  

Karen Randolph
2019 NETAR President

All the signs point to a market that will be a slightly slower than last year. We’re hoping for more inventory, demand is still high, but increased mortgage rates are expected. The law of supply and demand is seen clearly in today’s marketplace.  The market may gingerly shift from one strongly favoring the sellers to one that gives buyers some extra clout.   When interest rates increase, the buyer power decreases.  Buyer will not be able to afford as much home with the increasing rates.

Finding the right partner is critical because a typical mortgage can involve well over six-figures and be binding for decades.  Look at it this way, if you had major health or legal issues, you would get the best professional help you could find.  Real estate is no different. Article 11 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics encourages us to be competent in our field of practice. 

Yesteryear’s Realtor®-client relationship has evolved into something closer to a partnership, so vetting is important. This makes sense because it’s more personal – and in many ways more complicated - than other business relationships. Today’s housing market moves at a faster pace with increasingly complicated transactions.  When dealing with your largest financial instrument, it is important to shop and find an agent who is a good match for your needs. 

Some people make a list of questions relating to experience, marketing, production, and neighborhood sales to assist in the selection process.  Next, they will interview Realtors® and compare responses to the questions. Others employ the time-tested process of getting recommendations from friends or relatives. Keep in mind the agent who worked with your parents when they scaled down for retirement may not be the best choice if you are trading up in today’s market. 

There are more than 20 professional designations and certifications recognized by the National Association of Realtors®.  Many agents have several of them. You can get a list and explanation of what each means at  

Communications is also a consideration. Do you want updates by email or a text?  Do you want to have your Realtor® guide you through the process, or are you going to be a hands-on client? These considerations should be part of your vetting.

 A significant part of the relationship will also be how candid you are with your Realtor®.  This communication is vital for buyers.  It is a good idea to strengthen the relationship with an understanding you will not be working with other agents. When you think about it, that is fair. A buyer’s agent invests significant effort and time without a guaranteed fee since they are paid by the seller when the deal is closed.  Buyers who commit to an exclusivity arrangement are agreeing to partner with their Realtor®.  If things are not going well or the market is not living up to your expectations, you should not hesitate to sit down with your Realtor® for a heart-to-heart. More often than not, misunderstandings or differences are overcome by good communication.

 Sellers have a listing agreement, so their relationship is contractually connected prior to the sign being placed in the yard.  In many ways that make the process of finding an agent who matches your expectations and style even more important.  Sellers should not be timid about their expectations and commitment to taking the advice of their Realtor®.

 In many cases, a client and their Realtor® partner will spend a lot of time together before a deal is completed. There will be hitches. Things can and sometimes will go wrong.  People will not always perform per contract, and you can expect some extra stress. Choosing the right agent will take the edge off the process and make it easier and more successful for everyone involved.  We are here to serve you as we fulfill our calling to be a Realtor®.