There’s no substitute for using a good local realtor who knows the market you’re selling or buying in. It does happen that friends will ask a realtor friend to represent them in markets that are not their own, and it can be tempting in commission-based professions to take that on. Generally speaking, though, no matter how good that realtor is at what they do, the best thing they can do for a friend is refer them to a highly-recommended realtor who is in that local market. Potential clients should ask themselves the following questions:
- How likely is it that a non-local realtor would know any details about the history or specifics of the properties in question?
- If the non-local realtor isn’t in the community, what can they really tell you about the neighborhood or the experience of living there?
- If there is a train, a treatment plant, an upcoming development, a flood, a former grow-op, or other material information about a property or a community, are you sure that the non-local realtor will know and tell you about it?
- If they don’t have buyer or seller contacts in that community, are they in the best position to find the people and resources you need to get a deal done?
- Do they know the local routines? In Squamish, the realtors have a manual e-mail process to view all new properties that come on the market. Someone who isn’t here isn’t likely to know about it.
- Real Estate is a relationships business – although the Rules of Cooperation mean that realtors work with each other as professionals, the rapport and trust that develops among colleagues can help to smooth the buying and selling process, especially if anything goes wrong.
- Will a non-local realtor be present to show or view properties with you? The answer is often ‘no’. In that case, that responsibility may fall to a local realtor, who is representing their own client. Is a Listing realtor who shows the property by having the tenant (who, in most cases, doesn’t want the property sold) let you in, really providing the best representation for their Seller?
- If your realtor isn’t present in the community, will they see and understand trends and changes as quickly as a local realtor?
- If your realtor isn’t local, will you get the same level of service? As a Seller, for example, will you have as many open houses? Will you get on the Realtor Tour? Where will a busy realtor’s priorities lie if they have to make choices and trade-offs about where to put their time?
Did I make the right decision? Yes.
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