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Considerations When Choosing a Real Estate Broker

It doesn't have to be a roll of the dice



A real estate purchase or sale tends to be, for most people, the largest investment they'll make in their lifetime. Who a buyer/seller chooses to represent them with such a significant transaction matters.

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Last year, I was working with a client who previously had his home listed for sale. Within 60 days of his contract, he terminated the listing agreement. Shortly thereafter, this client contacted me to discuss listing his property for sale. During the interview, I asked him how he chose the previous listing broker. His response was that he didn't know any other brokers, but because this broker had the listing when he purchased it 19 years ago, it seemed like he would be "OK" to sell the property again. Clearly, this assumption did not work in the seller's favor, and the seller was very disappointed on his first go-around, trying to sell his property. This same client said to me that he wished he had interviewed more brokers and discussed the marketing strategy before he hired, and felt like he had lost more than 60 days of valuable marketing time.

Not all real estate brokers are right for the type of sale and situation. For example, different factors apply when purchasing or selling an investment property versus a single-family home. Not every broker specializes in the details of tenant-occupied properties; nor do they understand a return on investment worksheet, profit and loss statements and the details of closing a transaction of this kind. Conversely, not every broker is the right fit for horse properties or ranches.

Is a broker who doesn't understand the day-to-day workings of a ranch the right fit to market a horse property? Another way to look at it: A cardiac patient isn't going to see a neurologist to discuss heart surgery. So, why would a buyer or seller call a commercial real estate broker to discuss the purchase or sale of a hobby farm?

It's important to find the broker who's the right fit for the type of property someone is purchasing or selling. In addition, that broker also needs to be the right fit on a personal level—meaning, does this broker have a similar communication style that meets the client's requirements? Does the broker understand the needs, time lines, desires and goals of the sale or purchase? As a buyer or seller, it's crucial that the chosen broker has a solid understanding of their client's expectations.

When choosing a real estate broker, don't be afraid to interview several. Ask questions about the process, marketing and get a feel for the congruency between the two of you. Real estate transactions can be complicated. In short, choosing a real estate broker doesn't have to be a hit or miss experience.

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