8 Tips for Selecting a Portland Realtor

Buying or Selling a home is a personal and life changing decision.   Navigating a hot and fast real estate market, like Portland’s, can be daunting.  Homes are disappearing at record rate, and bidding wars are rampant.   So why not choose a champion to be on your team?

It’s crucial to find a realtor who knows the area, and will listen to your wants and needs.  A good realtor is fast and responsive, can price a home accordingly, and negotiates like a bulldog.  The bottom line is that you want to feel confident that you’ve gotten the most out of your dollar, and that there won’t be any unwanted headaches down the road.  Select someone from the start who you’ll want fighting from your corner.

8 Tips for Selecting a Portland Realtor :

1. Experience:

The number one question that you should be asking is: “How many homes did you close in the past year?”  You should also ask to see examples.  Some realtors will even be able to provide references of past clients.  This will give you an idea if they are successful, and if they are experienced in your type of transaction.  Also, you’ll want to know how long they’ve been doing business. Five years or more is a good measuring stick. 

Choose a Portland area realtor who is skilled at handling your type of transaction, from REO to commercial investments. Image courtesy: Jeff Turner https://www.flickr.com/photos/respres/

Choose a Portland area realtor who is skilled at handling your type of transaction, from REO to commercial investments. Image courtesy: Jeff Turner 

2. Local Knowledge, Facts, Figures,Track Record:

If you are a buyer, a good realtor should immediately be able to rattle off a portfolio of prospective properties that will fit your needs.  Some will even be able to get you in to a showing that day.

If you are a seller, you’ll want to see examples of properties they’ve successfully sold in the past year that are similar to yours in size, price, and location.  Also, how many days were these homes on the market?  The key to selling homes quickly is to price them properly right out of the gate.  Find a realtor who is up to speed on comparables and appraisals.  A home that sits unsold on the market, could mean another month of mortgage eating away at your savings.

Finally, both buyers and sellers will want to compare the listing price to the final sale price in completed transactions.  This will give you an excellent indicator of whether your realtor has quality negotiating skills.

3. What kind of Commission do they require?:

While most realtors stick to the typical commission rate in their area, everything is negotiable.  The typical commission rate in the Portland Metro area is 6%, which is paid by the seller and split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.  However, some brokerages offer a total of only a 4% commission rate to list a seller’s property.  This means that the buyer’s agent would collect 2.5%, and the seller’s agent receives 1.5%.  With properties in Portland easily bringing in $300,000 and over, this could mean the difference of thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket!

A knowledgable realtor will price your home correctly from the start, to ensure a quick sale. Portland, Oregon Image courtesy: American Advisors Group

A knowledgable realtor will price your home correctly from the start, to ensure a quick sale. Portland, Oregon Image courtesy: American Advisors Group

4. Advertising:

What kind of a marketing campaign will they run?  A marketing campaign for a listing can include the following: professional photographs, video tours, listings on real estate websites, advertisements in local newspapers and industry magazines, open houses (frequency?), social media, and signage. 

5. Accolades, Reviews and Awards:

Take a look at their online reputation on consumer review sites like Google +, and Yelp.  You can also check to see if they’ve won any awards in their field by checking their professional profile on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, and Realtor.com.   

6. Customer Service:

As you are interviewing your potential realtor, take note if they are actively listening to your needs.  If the broker works with a large agency, find out who will be the main point of contact, and is this someone you will be able to work with?  Also, how many active clients do they service at one time?

7. Communication and Response Time:

Ask about their response time.  Your realtor should always call you back within 24 hours, and a great realtor will respond within a few hours.   If you are the buyer in a hot seller’s market like Portland, sluggish communication could prevent you from landing your dream home.  You’ll want an agent who responds quickly and in the means that is most convenient for you, whether it be text, email, or carrier pigeon. 

8. Credentials and Specialization:

Even realtors who have been in the business for decades make mistakes.  There are so many constant changes in the industry from zoning to REO transactions, that education can outweigh tenure when securing the deal.  That is why it’s important to look at those little letters behind a realtors name, and find someone certified in handling your unique situation.

R (Realtor): Member of NAR, the National Association of Realtors. This realtor has taken an oath to support their code of ethics.

CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Realtor has completed additional training to garner this high designation.

ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative): Realtor has completed additional training with focus on representing buyer-clients.

SRS (Seller Representative Specialist):  This designation is awarded by the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB) for meeting set educational requirements, professional standards, experience and performance.

CRB (Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager) Realtor has completed advanced educational and professional requirements.

SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist): Realtor has completed training specific in servicing buyers and sellers over the age of fifty.

ALCs (Accredited Land Consultants): Realtor is a highly qualified expert in land transactions.  They have completed the LANDU education program and adhere to a code of conduct, all reviewed by the REALTORS® Land Institute

CPM (Certified Property Management) – These individuals are experts in real estate management.

CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) –  Realtor has completed extensive training to receive this global standard for professional excellence.

Written by Jennifer Kane, Expanded Exposure LLC.