Choosing a Realtor in Portland

By: Lorri Ely

You are ready to buy or sell a home and you live in the best kept secret in the country, Portland. Well, almost the best kept secret. Lately the New York Times can't stop writing about us. For good reason. Now it is time for step one in this journey: Choosing a Realtor. Where to begin and what to look for?

1. Interview three agents:

For most of us, this is the single largest investment of our lives. You want the best representing you. Where to start? Ask everyone you know: Friends, relatives, everyone from all professional, religious, or social organizations you are involved with. Referrals are a great way to find quality professionals.

Other ways to find your agents are open houses, internet forums, and , if you are moving from another city, get a referral from the previous agent you worked with. But don't skip the interview. What worked for someone you know might not work for you.

Hire an agent from a reputable, well known company in your area. They will be very well equipped to deal with any challenges that may arise in your sale or home search.

2. Questions to ask in the interview:

Geography: What neighborhood or neighborhoods do you focus on?

Type: House? Condo? Duplex? What type of properties do you have experience working with?

What sets you apart from other agents that I am interviewing? In other words, why should I hire you?

Ask for any references of previous clients that the agent has worked with.

Do you have any certifications or designations in addition to your license? What do you do to keep current on the overall market and other Portland real estate trends?

Tell me how you understand my needs as a buyer/seller. (Make sure they are not reading from a mental script and answer this question based on your particular situation.)

Tell me about your marketing plan. This one is crucial!! If they don't already have certain systems in place, they are the wrong agent. Look for expertise and, most importantly, creativity.

Use this information to choose your agent. Of course, how you get along with the agent is extremely important, as well. You will be spending time with your agent with the most important investment in your life. Make sure you like them as well as trust them.

Communication is essential in this relationship. Make sure you are able to easily communicate your needs as well as understand your agent's communication style. Ask yourself this question: Will I be proud to have this agent represent me?


3. Some things to watch out for:

Make sure that your agent is a great listener and takes an active interest in your situation. No two real estate transactions are alike. Even after 50 years of experience, an excellent agent will tell you they are still learning every day. If, during an interview, the agent only talks about themselves and how many homes they sold, etc. but doesn't seem to have sincere interest in your needs, they probably aren't the agent for you.

This next item is a tough one but I always recommend not having a member of your family be your agent. Although this is common practice, in my opinion, it is asking for trouble. All kinds of challenges arise during a real estate transaction. For many reasons, things can become difficult. In the same way that a lawyer won't represent a family member and a doctor won't operate on a family member, I believe that it is much better to have your family member refer someone who they think is the best (besides themselves, of course!).

This other agent will have the necessary distance it takes to get the business done the right way and, with the referral, they have the trust of your family member and yourself. To make it easier, the new agent should be willing to give your family member a referral fee.

Congratulations! You are ready to start the journey of buying or selling a home in the absolute best city, Portland, Oregon. Now that you have the right agent, go find the home of your dreams!

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