52: You have your primary care doctor or specialist. You may have an attorney to call on for legal advice or guidance, and possibly an accountant to handle your taxes or complex financial transactions. These professional service providers are critical to your physical, fiscal, and personal health and wellbeing. What about another provider whose services can save or earn you thousands – even tens of thousands – of dollars and protect what for many is the single most valuable asset you’ll ever own: your home? The right realtor.
The right Fort Lauderdale Realtor can be critical to your financial health and stability, today and even for your retirement. But with thousands of real estate agents in Greater Fort Lauderdale alone, how can you choose the best Realtor for your specific needs? At The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office, we have some ideas. Whether you choose us or another firm, use the tools and ask the questions below before making your selection.
People frequently ask me how they should select the right Realtor. I feel for them and their likely confusion. After all, some 22,000 people work as Realtors in Broward County, Florida, alone. So you no doubt have a Realtor close at hand. It may be a cousin, your brother, your aunt or uncle. We wrote recently of a woman, Denise, who invited us to compete for her listing – against her best friend and neighbor who was a Realtor (we won the work; read the blog to see how and why).
Comfort with the Realtor is important. After all, they’ll be handling a transaction significant to your life and future. You have to have chemistry. But beyond chemistry is the solid credentials that separate the professionals from the pack. What should you look for?
Three Tools for Finding Your Fort Lauderdale Realtor
Assuming you’re looking at several prospective Realtors and you all get along, what else should rise high among your metrics? Below are a few credentials and attributes that should weigh heavily on your pro/con list…
Membership in the Master Brokers Forum (www.masterbrokersforum.com). Established in 1993, this by-invitation-only group is exclusive to the top 1% of all residential real estate agents in the Gold Coast (Southeast Florida) who do the most closings. Visit the website to identify brokers by region, city, almost by neighborhood.
CRS Designation (www.crs.com). Certified Residential Specialists (as part of the Residential Real Estate Council) represent just 3% of all Realtors nationwide. The council is the leading education and networking organization for residential real estate agents.
Homelight (www.homelight.com). This powerful tool gathers data on top real estate agents nationwide. It analyzes millions of real estate transactions to compare real estate agents to deliver free, objective, performance-based recommendations for top real estate agents in your neighborhood. It even narrows down agents by MLS data, closed data, days on the market, asking price versus selling price. You see the figures and make your own determination.
GTS (Google That Stuff). Have the names of a few Fort Lauderdale Realtors you’re considering? Google each. Create a list. Write down their credentials, online mentions, reviews (positive and negative), accolades, or other defining characteristics. Google, and other review websites, are there for you. Use them to your advantage (just beware the ability of people to weight good reviews in their own favor and bad reviews against the competition. To the discerning eye, it can be obvious, but not always).
Empirical vs. Gut, Hobby vs. Career
Gut-check is no single solution to finding the right Realtor for you. Using these three empirical tools – along with a Google search and some recommendations – can help you select the right Realtor for your specific needs. Technology empowers us to make smart decisions quickly.
Once you have a few names in mind and you’ve done your online research, it’s time to bring them in for an interview. Those people we mentioned who are often close at hand among Fort Lauderdale’s 22,000 agents – your cousin, brother, aunt or uncle, even your parent – are the easy picks. But are they the right picks? Like we said, our client, Denise, pitted us against her best friend and neighbor. But that still wasn’t good enough.
What should you look for?
Are they full-time or part-time? Many of those 22,000 agents dabble in real estate on the side. They studied enough to pass the exam and earn their Board of Realtors license. That’s often all the educating, study, and training they receive. If you’re a sharp homeowner or home buyer, you’ve done your research. You know the comparable listings and sale prices. You know what you’re facing. You want an agent who’s one step ahead of your knowledge base – not one step behind.
A commitment to residential real estate. A team like the Gary Lanham Group specializes in one area: the buying, selling, or renting of residential real estate. In that way, real estate expertise can be likened to the practice of medicine. If you have a heart problem and need surgery, do you want a general surgeon who performs your particular procedure occasionally? Or do you want a surgeon whose entire specialty is your issue? It’s the same with Realtors. Technology, tools, even data change frequently – even daily. You need a professional who can consult with you about the current state of the market, especially the real value of your property, and have at hand the important tools to make sure you get the value out of your transaction.
Do they have a team behind them? Those who work on a team often have the resources of that team on their side; the Gary Lanham Group is 10-people strong, and growing. The bigger the team, the more resources – like data and research, relationships and connections, and a broad network that often drives listings, visits, and closings.
Finding the Right Realtor in 5 Easy Steps
A recent blog post discussed “Five Ways the Right Realtor Will Help Buy or Sell Your Fort Lauderdale Home.” In it, we advised home sellers and buyers to ask their prospective listing or buying agent a simple question: “You’ll be my partner. But who’ll be yours?”
The critical point was, you want a team – not a soloist – on your side. With that in mind, Gary Lanham Group our mantra is: “Achieve Maximum Productivity with Only High Quality Providers.”
We work with the most respected and trusted appraisers, inspectors, attorneys, accountants, bankers, and tradesmen eager to help drive your transaction forward at each step.
That’s the power of the network of a proven Realtor professional backed by a solid team who knows the market, the trusted professionals singularly focused on your transaction.
Your professional service providers - your attorney, your accountant, even your primary care doctor or that specialist to more complex health concerns – are critical to your physical, fiscal, and personal health and wellbeing. But when you have tens of thousands of dollars on the line in a real estate transaction, who will you pick to protect the single most valuable asset you’ll ever own? Hopefully, it will be the right Realtor.
Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listings agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on Coral Ridge Country Club, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.