What should buyers search for in a real estate professional to ensure success?

Buyers benefit from specific real estate information, tailored processes, and customized service delivery related to their individual needs and goals, strengths and weaknesses. Generalizations can be misleading since each real estate property, each buyer, and the resulting transaction are unique, and, therefore, every buyer’s set of criteria and financial situation are, too. Since all relevant buying factors are not always evident to buyers themselves, choosing the right professional who understands all the issues may be challenging. Although all real estate professionals are friendly remember you’re not looking for a new friend. You want a sharp professional focused on your interests.

Buyers benefit from fully understanding a professional’s answers to Five Core Matching Questions when selecting one professional out of the crowd. How the answers are evaluated depends on the needs, wants, goals, and real estate expertise of individual buyers. For instance, professionals offer buyers opportunities to shore up their weaknesses and leverage professional experience:

Buyers with little buying or business experience can benefit from searching out very experienced real estate professionals or those dedicated to consumer education to bolster their decision-making or fill knowledge gaps.

Buyers with a few real estate purchases behind them who want a custom build, may benefit from searching out well-connected professionals with varied contractor and municipal-building experience.

What should you fully understand before committing to one real estate professional?

Question #1. “Who’s your Client?” Some real estate professionals work for sellers through listing contracts, some for buyers as an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent, and some for both. There are benefits and disadvantages to each relationship, but the greatest problems arise when buyers do not fully understand who pays the real estate professional and, therefore, has their interests placed above everything but the law. Don’t confuse this legal relationship with sales achievement designations that many brokers award their most-productive sales people.

Question #2. “Who’s your Target Buyer?” Business standards dictate that professionals cannot be all things to all buyers. Real estate professionals may specialize in price ranges, neighborhoods, life-stages like first-time or first-baby buyers, or even ethnic groups. If you are part of the group that a professional tailors their practice to serve with excellence, benefits can be considerable. If you are outside this group, you may not always receive the attention or information you require, especially in a busy market.

Question #3. “What specific experience have you had that would help me achieve my goals?” What professional skills and knowledge would ramp up your ability to confidently make decisions and explore all the options open to you? How will their experience with the type of real estate you want—condominium, detached house, and rural property—be of benefit? How long have they been targeting buyers like you and can they provide relevant testimonials?

Question #4. “What time, attention, and service can I count on?” A high-profile professional may have less time for you unless they operate within an experienced team. Someone new to real estate may have less hands-on knowledge, but they may make up for this with enthusiasm, experienced back-up, and special expertise from their previous career. The energy they apply to build their practice will be directed to your property search. Ask about social media connections that matter to you, systems in place to ensure you hear about new listings ASAP, how many clients they are serving right now, and what their work ethic is. Organization, commitment, and intent can make up for deficiencies, but you should understand what service compromises, if any, you’ll be accepting.

Question #5. “What are your professional goals?” As with all of the above, there’s not a right or wrong answer here, just some matches that are better for you than others. You may favor someone hustling to make as much money as possible since that matches your plans. You may prefer a professional intent on building a reputation and practice that will earn them a place in the community, because you want that commitment for your project. If you don’t understand what your buying goals can and should be, hearing what the professional is intent on will help you clarify what success must mean for you and the professional in the upcoming transaction.

The Five Core Matching Questions will start your real estate conversation with the professional who will help change your life. These questions will make your efforts together more collaborative than confrontational, less stressful and more constructive.