Lois Marris | RE/MAX Results | Feb 2017

Finding the right real estate agent is an important part of the home buying or selling process. Of course you want to choose someone with experience and negotiating skills but are there other qualities as well? You bet! You’ll want to find someone that you like and feel you can trust. After all, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time together over the next few months and relying on them for one of the largest transactions of your lifetime.

A good agent will take time to listen to your wants, needs and goals. Sometimes we listen so well we are able to pinpoint things better than the client! I’ll never forget, years ago, searching for a home with our real estate agent in Dallas, TX. That poor guy showed us so many houses. Finally, he said, “I want you to trust me on this one” and took us to something very different from what we had described to him. We bought it! He had listened and observed us as we looked through each house and was then able to find a good home for us.

To find a great agent, don’t just call off of a yard sign or national website. Ask friends and family for references.  Check agent profiles on local real estate websites. Search Facebook, google+ and twitter for local agents to see who has a good online presence.  If you’re selling a home, online marketing is an important part of any real estate marketing plan so look for an agent that has proven their ability to use social media marketing. Feel free to interview agents to find one with experience, skill and who establishes trust with you.

I would suggest you look for an agent with at least 3 years of experience, if not more. It takes several years to fully understand the nuances of a real estate transaction. New agents may not know what they don’t know unless they are working on a team or with a good mentor. Check to make sure the agent is licensed in your state. I work as a full-time agent but many in the industry are part-time so be sure to ask about full-time/part-time status. Check to see if the agent is a member of the local, state and National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Those agents have volunteered to adhere to a strict code of ethics as part of their commitment to professionalism.

Real Estate is sort of the same from state to state but the distinctions are such that it really is a local practice. Things change from city to city and suburb to suburb, such as schools, city ordinances, neighborhood covenants and market demand. Look for an agent who knows your area well. For example, I know that building permits in Rochester haven’t topped 500 since 2005 so new construction is down, causing a market shortage, causing prices to increase and it will likely stay this way until about 2019. I know that the North Park area has 14 different plat maps and which areas sell for more.  Century High School has the best high school rating, walkout lower level basements are in demand, wood siding is not in demand. If your debt-to-income ratio is too high you’ll need to get an FHA loan versus a conventional loan. Loans over $417,000 are jumbo loans and have a different interest rate.  I know the average days on market should be looked at by price bands and neighborhood areas to get a true idea of how long a $400,000 in Southwest Rochester will take to sell. You get the idea! Find an agent that knows the local market.

Skilled agents don’t mind being asked about their expertise in the local market or taking time to be interviewed. Finding the right agent, who you can trust with such a large transaction is important and will help make your home purchase or sale a bit less stressful.


If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the Rochester MN area, I’m happy to chat with you about your goals: Lois.Marris@Results.net, 507.398.3251.