For most people, buying and selling their home is the most important financial decision they will make in their lifetime. The average price of a home in Anchorage is currently over $320,000 and so a decision of that magnitude requires careful thought and in some cases, professional advice and assistance on both the part of the buyer and seller.Â How to find the right realtor to assist you can be a challenging and frustrating experience.
Although nationally, there has been over a 20% drop in the number of realtors, almost everyone knows someone who is a realtor or knows someone who knows someone who is.Â It can be a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor or a relative!Â Just the thought of Â buying or selling seems to attract realtors so here are some guidelines to consider when trying to make the right choice for you.
The technical terms are listing licensee and selling licensee and these individuals must pass a written exam and be licensed by the State of Alaska. All licensees must work for a broker who is responsible for the actions of the licensee.Â Not all licensees are realtors which is a designation by the National Association of Realtors, a professional and trade organization, which requires their members to follow a code of ethics.Â In addition, you will want to work with someone who is a member of the Alaska Multiple Listing Service, a statewide organization that collects and disseminates data on available properties.Â So, whether buying or selling, the person you select should be licensed, a realtor and a member of MLS.Â You will probably never see the broker unless you have a problem with the transaction.Â Large real estate companies like to boast about their market share but all members of MLS have access to the same data, even the one-man or woman company or the â€˜ boutiqueâ€™ company. So service, compatibility, availability and market knowledge of the licensee are Â more important than the size of the company.
So letâ€™s go back to the friend, co-worker, neighbor or relative whoâ€™s licensed.Â Itâ€™s hard to judge your friendâ€™s expertise without hurting their feelings or to say no thank you to the co-worker whose husband is in real estate.Â During my thirty years in real estate, Iâ€™ve had one friend who has faithfully used me for all her real estate transactions (and there have been many).Â Iâ€™ve also had friends who have asked for and received professional advice and information from me and then chose someone else.Â Since a real estate transaction usually involves some discussion of personal finances, many buyers and sellers are uncomfortable using someone who they see socially or are personal friends with, despite any assurances of confidentiality.Â Most realtors have learned to accept this situation.Â However, if Â in the course of your everyday Â business, you provide goods and services for which you receive payment to a realtor or broker, it is a normal business practice that you will reciprocate when it comes time to buy or sell or at least provide the opportunity for an initial consultation.
Experience alone should not necessarily be the final determination of who to select as your realtor. Frankly, I love to see the enthusiasm of a new licensee.Â Many of them are more responsive, work harder, have more open houses, are more technologically proficient than an old-timer.
What I do say, unequivocally, however, is that selling real estate in todayâ€™s market, is not a part-time job.Â In fact, it is more than full-time as the families of realtors will tell you. Â Although you donâ€™t need to be available 24/7, Â your realtor needs to be available to Â show Â property on evenings and weekends which is when most buyers are actively looking. If you are listing your home, your realtor should provide you with a written marketing plan.Â It should tell you how they are going to market your home to the industry and the public.Â It should include on-line marketing, print advertising and promotion of your home within the real estate industry.
Finally, a word about personality and timing.Â Your transaction, whether buying or selling, will most likely encompass a timeframe of 60 to 90 days. Donâ€™t hesitate to ask whether or not they will be available during that time or if they have a big vacation planned that will make them unavailable.Â Also, Â is this someone you feel comfortable with and can easily communicate?Â That sort of professional compatibility goes a long ways when the transaction hits a rough spot which, in todayâ€™s market, it inevitably will.