Did you know that 80% of people looking for a realtor to help them sell or buy their house hire the first agent they meet?  That astounds me that they take less time in hiring a Realtor than they do in ordering a pizza.  Here are some suggestions to help you get the right realtor:

Meet them for 30 minutes.  It’s kind of like speed dating!  You should be able to tell in 30 minutes whether or not this person is the right fit.  You’ll be spending a great deal of time with them so make sure you like and trust them, first and foremost.

While you’re with them ask them the following questions:

Are you full time or part time?  You don’t want an agent who can only answer your questions when they’re not working at their OTHER job (which by the way is probably their MAIN source of income and requires their full attention.)

What are your marketing techniques?  Do they use professional photography or just their iPhone?  Do they offer virtual tours to minimize the number of people who traipse through your home? Ask for addresses of properties they’ve sold and look at those listings—are there misspellings or is the description in ALL CAPS? Are the photos flattering? If they don’t take the time required to show your house in its best light, what other shortcuts are they using?

How do you best communicate?  A phone call, text and email are all good ways to communicate and if all are not utilized you are being short changed. Emails allow you to easily save important information, resources, and dates while texts should be used when someone needs a quick response. Calls are acceptable but any vital information should be in writing.

How quickly can you expect an answer if you do send them a message? Some questions can wait but if you find a house for sale that you’d like to view as soon as possible, you’ll want a speedy response.

If they have only been in business for a couple of years, that’s not necessarily bad but ask them what did you do  before you became a realtor and does that job lend well to real estate?  More important than time is how many homes they’ve sold.

What would you say is your “specialty”?  Do they only sell luxury mansions or horse farms when you are looking for a 3 bedroom Cape? Do they sell everywhere? No one knows the market and amenities in every inch of their state, no matter what they say to try to convince you.

Do you create content?  Is it blogging or video? Ask them for links to those accounts so you can see first hand how they educate their clients

Once you leave the in-person interview, become a detective:

Look for reviews on Zillow, Google or their own website.  But remember, reviews are only opinions. Do your homework.

Stalk them on social media.  Do they post about the market, interest rates and their current listings? Or is every post about drinks and parties?

Buying and selling a home is one of the largest transactions of your life.  Make sure that your realtor treats this event as a priority and allows it  the appropriate time and respect it deserves.