NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE WEEK: Realtor roundup — picking an agent that’s right for you

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  • Photos by TYLER WILSON Make selecting the real estate agent right for you a top priority in your home search this spring.

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    Photo by TYLER WILSON

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    Photo by TYLER WILSON

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    Photo by TYLER WILSON

  • Photos by TYLER WILSON Make selecting the real estate agent right for you a top priority in your home search this spring.

  • 1

    Photo by TYLER WILSON

  • 2

    Photo by TYLER WILSON

  • 3

    Photo by TYLER WILSON

As temperatures tick up this spring, more buyers and sellers will be entering the local real estate market. Getting the best Realtor on your side can make a huge difference.

Most agents will tell you their business depends on quality referrals. When clients are satisfied, they share their experience with friends, family and colleagues. Buying or selling a home is generally one of the bigger decisions of adulthood, and experienced real estate agents work to make those decisions as easy as possible for their clients.

So what if you donít have any recommendations for a good Realtor? Or you have conflicting recommendations for different people? Before you even start looking at the market, it might be wise to create a wishlist for the agent who will be working for you.

Experience matters

Realtors with extensive knowledge of the local market certainly have an advantage over those new to the industry. They know the area, monitor sales trends, maintain positive relationships with lenders and fellow agents and stay on top of whatís happening around town.

Most agents will probably tout their experience whether itís extensive or not, but use your intuition and ask specific questions about the things that matter most to you. You can ask for references too ó either past clients, professional contacts or both. Donít be afraid to treat a first meeting like a job interview.

Comparables and data

Good agents know the power of convincing data. For those looking to sell their home, itís important to have realistic expectations of market value, and a Realtor can help you determine the best price for your home based on recent sales of comparable properties, neighborhood activity and other information markers.

Beware of pie-in-the-sky promises. If an agent thinks they can sell a property for a seemingly too-good-to-be-true price, then ask them to show you the data that backs their claim.

Honesty over

forced positivity

This is a big one. Choose an agent who will tell you the truth, even if it seems like it may not be in their best interest. For example, you want an agent with a critical eye when searching for homes, not just someone who wants you to buy the first property you see. Agents spend a lot of time locating properties and scheduling showings, but a good agent should be OK with admitting when certain listings donít meet their own personal standards.

An honest agent should also be OK with pushing back a little on your craziest ideas. This is pretty easy to test when selling your home. Pick a price thatís ridiculous ó a number tens of thousands of dollars above market value ó and see if your agent is confident enough to tell you youíre wrong.

A special warning ó friends and family

Chances are good you know someone in the real estate game ó be it your old high school chum or your Aunt Delilah. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, thereís nothing in the rule book forcing you to work with these people.

Look, I used my brother as my Realtor for the first home I bought. He did a good job because he was a good agent, and thatís true of many of our friends and family in the business. But it isnít always true, and you shouldnít be afraid to go in a different direction if things arenít working the way they should. It might mean an uncomfortable conversation or two, especially if your Aunt Delilah is nutty. Itís your money, so donít let pleasantries force you into making bad decisions.

Personality synergy

People in the real estate game are generally pretty personable. Long-term success in the industry depends on an agentís ability to work well with all types of people.

From a client perspective, keep in mind you might be spending several hours with your Realtor over the next few weeks. If you canít communicate well with them, or if itís incredibly awkward sharing a room with them, then maybe you need to work with someone else.

You donít need to be best friends with your agent, but it helps if you can establish a solid rapport while you navigate the housing market together.

Be reasonable

Great real estate agents devote considerable time and energy to their clients. They should be accessible and committed to giving you the best experience possible. Just remember that Realtors are people too. They have other clients and personal lives that exist outside you. Donít be a monster and respect their time as much as they respect yours. The real estate game isnít close to being a 9-to-5 gig, but maybe donít call your agent at midnight about a hot new property you just found online.

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Let us know about standout neighborhoods and developments that we may feature in an upcoming Neighborhood of the Week. Contact Tyler Wilson at twilson@cdapress.com.

Real Estate Agents, take advantage of Neighborhood of the Week by sending in your suggestions for featured areas, including sites outside the normal confines of Coeur díAlene, Post Falls and Hayden.

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