How to Interview a Realtor in San Carlos: An Insider’s View

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There are currently 21,000+ realtors in San Mateo County.  How do you isolate the one that will be able to best serve you?  It can seem like a daunting task.  Listed below are some thoughts that you may want to consider when screening a potential San Carlos realtor.

Local


The first thing San Carlos realtors will tell you about San Carlos is that it plays by its own rules.  When the rest of the California market is up, we may be down and vice versa.  Further, and as is the case right now, San Carlos is up and its neighboring town, Redwood City, is down.  The San Carlos market is hypersensitive, meaning that it can switch directions quickly, sometimes in only a few weeks. San Carlos agents are simply in a better position to feel these quick swings and are better able to advise their clients. Many buyers and sellers come to realize the importance of using a realtor from San Carlos.  There is a reason you keep seeing the same names pop up on signs around town.  Additionally, and especially these days, San Carlos agents are in a much better position to move a property off-market.  With low inventory and some sellers in a position where they would rather move their property without all of San Carlos knowing about it, a San Carlos realtor is in a much better position to provide a practical solution.

Competence


As in any business, “competence” is a major issue.  Your realtor is well paid.  You have the right to demand the very best service, knowledge and execution. At the end of the day you are going to trust this person with, on average, a one million dollar transaction.  If you sense that you do not have the utmost confidence in the prospective realtor, it’s time to move on.  If it took two or three phone calls or emails to make first contact with your prospective realtor, it’s time to move on.  Further, in this market, if it took your prospective realtor longer than a few hours to respond to your email or voicemail, it’s time to move on. Finally, it is always a good idea to ask specific questions of your prospective realtor.  Here are some examples:

(1) How many homes are currently on the market in San Carlos? Pending?  Sold in the last 3 months?

(2) In what specific Area of San Carlos is my home? (for sellers) What are the differences between the six different areas of San Carlos? (for buyers)

(3) What are the assigned schools?  How are the prospective changes to the assigned boundaries going to change values, if any?

(4) Can you point to particular sales in the last month that would indicate the direction the market may be moving?

(5) For Sellers>>What is most important when marketing a property in San Carlos?  What items are currently major issues for sellers when they receive an offer for their San Carlos home?

(6) For Buyers>> What is your style for negotiating? With such a low rate of inventory in San Carlos, how many off-market properties have you found for buyers?

Track Record


When interviewing a realtor always ask for the last year or two year’s worth of production in San Carlos. If your focus is in San Carlos, your realtor’s focus should be there as well.  Your realtor should be able to provide a track record of representing buyers and sellers in San Carlos.  If they are non-specific, ask them for a printed list of all properties bought and sold in San Carlos over the last 2 years. If this list is adequate, pick three random transactions and ask the realtor if you could speak with two of those particular clients regarding his or her services.  If the realtor has done a great job for clients, they are usually more than happy to be used as a reference for future clients.  Any realtor can have two or three prepared references.  However, if you randomly pick a few from a transaction list, you are far more likely to get an accurate representation of the realtor’s abilities.  Even more to the point, if you are a buyer, pick transactions where the realtor represented buyers and the same protocol if you are a seller.

Summary


In my opinion, we do have a high number of well-qualified, hard working realtors in San Carlos. Finding the one that is best for your specific situation is a matter of some due diligence on your behalf and conducting interviews.  It’s been my experience that after interviewing a few realtors, most buyers and sellers usually settle on one that seems to fit their specifics needs.


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