August 13, 2017

Partner with a pro to navigate the choppy waters of today's housing market


A headache for many buyers and sellers in today's real estate market isn't necessarily the tight inventory, increasing prices or picky lenders. It's the real estate information and news swirling around them like a tornado. It can be very confusing and -  if you're not careful - sets the stage for a costly mistake.

2017 NETAR President

Fortunately, there's a solution that just takes a little time to find the right Realtor® to help navigate the choppy waters of today's market. That's right. Despite the allure for sellers to stick a "For Sale By Owner" sign in the yard save some money because it's a seller's market it doesn't always happen. In fact, unless they sell to a relative or close friend they end up chucking the FISBO signs and hiring a professional.

The same goes for buyers. You can research to your heart's content and still be in the dark unless the research culls out all the marginal – if not misleading – results you'll glean from the Internet.

Some of the stuff you find on the Web is good information, but much of it is a mile wide and two-inches deep. It's not detailed enough, local enough or current enough to be much help.

That's why buyers and sellers who partner with a Realtor® have the edge. Realtors® have access to high-quality local research, superior local knowledge and local real estate databases not available to the public. Knowledge is power, and Realtors® put it to work for their clients.

So, how do you find the best Realtor®?

It's not that hard. But it does take a little effort.

One way to begin thinning the herd is to look for a residential agent with the right credentials – especially if you have special needs or interests. When you start compiling your candidates list, you'll see some alphabet soup behind their name. Things like CRS, ABR, SRES and more. Here's a link to some information to decode those designations.

Once you've narrowed the search to Realtors® with the skill sets you like check out their Web pages. You should find a biography that tells you how long they've been in the business and what their community connections are. It will also show their current listings. Another listings resource is, a web site the compiles listings into a searchable online database.

Checking listings is important because it gives examples of how they market properties online – that's critical since most buyers begin their searches online. You can also check out their social media pages to get a feel for their professional and community involvement. Maybe you're comfortable with a seasoned pro, but it would be a mistake not to check out new agents. Some hints to look for is their affiliation with young professional and leadership programs if you want to link up with a rising star.

When you've narrowed it down to a finalists list give them a call ask some questions. That's right – interview them. Ask them for references then call some past clients to see if they were satisfied with the service and result they received.

The last step is a good old fashion face-to-face meeting. You want a partner who has some chemistry with you. Do you like to communicate by text, email, or do you want a phone call? Look for someone who communicates the way you communicate.

One last bit of advice for buyers. When you select your Realtor® make them a commitment that you're working exclusively with them. They're going to invest a lot of time and effort with no guarantee for a payday unless they find you what you want. Your loyalty is not too much to ask in return. It the cornerstone of that all-important partnership.

And remember, if the agent calls himself a Realtor with a capital "R," it means he or she is a member of National Association of Realtors®(NAR). By hiring a Realtor®, you get an agent who formally pledges to support NAR's code of ethics to conduct themselves and their client's business in a way that meets and enhances the highest professional standard.

Eric Kistner is the 2017 president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors®. The real estate education and trade group is the voice for real estate in the Tri-Cities and has over 1,200 local Realtor® members and over 100 affiliates.