Make sure you take your Lancaster County Realtor for a "TEST DRIVE"!

Real Estate Agent with Weichert Realtors - Engle & Hambright

Make sure you take your Lancaster County Realtor for a "TEST DRIVE"!

So how should one choose their Lancaster County real estate professional? You know, that one person who is going to guide you through one of the most important financial decisions of your life? Do you just call up the office closest to your home and go with whoever answers the phone? Do you drive around, find a house you like and call the person whose phone number is on the yard sign? Or maybe you go online to different company websites and choose the agent whose picture you like best. Or better yet, choose the agent who claims to be the "#1 agent in Lancaster County" and whose picture is plastered on every home magazine and billboard.Lancaster County realtor, Lancaster real estate agent

As you've probably guessed, I am going to strongly suggest that none of these strategies (if you can call them that) are suitable ways to find a quality realtor. Sure, you may get lucky by calling up your local office and getting a trustworthy , reliable  professional on the other end but why leave such an important choice to chance?

One good way to choose your Lancaster realtor is the same way you might choose your pediatrician or handyman and that is by REFERRAL. If a good friend or family member that you trust is recommending a professional that did a stellar job for them chances are that they will do an equally outstanding job for you.

An even better way to choose a realtor is to do what I call a "test drive". You have likely never heard of this concept because there are not a lot of agents out there willing to do this. Essentially a "test drive" means to not officially "hire" a realtor (i.e. sign paperwork) until you are sure that you, Number one: TRUST this person. Number two: LIKE this person. Number three: BELIEVE this person knows what they're doing, and Number four (possibly the most important): HEAR from this person.

No matter how much you trust, like or believe your realtor, none of it will matter if they don't return your phone calls. Or your texts. Or your emails.

It's my personal opinion that your realtor should treat you like you are their only client and frankly there is no real way to know how they are going to treat you unless you work with them for awhile! Who in their right mind meets a realtor they don't know and because they seem nice (and can deliver a mean sales pitch), signs a contract to work with them exclusively the same day? I know I wouldn't be willing... so I don't pressure people who are looking to purchase a home to "sign here" until their ready. And when it comes to putting your house on the market, I write clearly at the bottom of the listing agreement, this agreement may be cancelled at any time if you are unhappy with my service.

Crazy? Maybe. But the bottom line is that I would never want a person to feel obligated to work with me because of a piece of paper. If I'm not your cup of tea or if you feel I'm doing a lousy job then it's certainly your right to move on. So the next time you, or your aunt or your neighbor is looking to buy or sell real estate in Lancaster County make sure to ask the agent you're considering working with if you can do a "test drive" first! And if they laugh at you and tell you how silly you are for asking such a thing... well, you know who to call.

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Comments (9)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

This has been a part of my business for 20 years. 

Home tours for buyers is the absolutely best way for the buyer to know you AND FOR YOU TO KNOW THE BUYER.

Show them how good you are.  You'll have a great buyer/agent relationship.

May 09, 2010 01:34 AM
Lisa Garcia
Weichert Realtors - Engle & Hambright - Lancaster, PA

AMEN to that Lenn, actions always speak louder than words! I'm honored that you stopped by! :)

May 09, 2010 07:33 AM
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

The way I understand Agency is if you show a customer a house as a Transaction Agent (no signed contract) you can not go back and change it to a Buyers Agent or perform the duties of a Buyer Agent when you are in fact a Transaction Agent, or, because the listing belongs to your company a Seller's Agent. But, you do what you think is correct - you're not in my market area and I am not a used car nor a used car salesman. No Test Drive - with me.

May 09, 2010 01:13 PM
Lisa Garcia
Weichert Realtors - Engle & Hambright - Lancaster, PA

Erica: My thoughts exactly!

Mike: I absolutely agree that short sales in particular require extra time, patience and expertise. However, closed business alone is not always the best barometer IMO. It seems to me that some top-producing agents don't always have the time and patience to deal with a short sale even though they may have the expertise.

Gregory: To each their own. You certainly need to conduct your business the way you see fit.

May 09, 2010 01:45 PM
Ray Mikus
Green Light Real Estate - Montpelier, VT
Green Means Go!

Mike--I like the little detective work you did.

Lisa--There are a lot of Realtors, and a lot of buyers and sellers.  Every set doesn't have to be a match.

May 09, 2010 03:53 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I like to meet with buyers for an initial consultation and then go out once to look at homes before we decide if we're going to work together.

May 09, 2010 06:38 PM
Aaron Vaughn, REALTORĀ© 830-358-0455
eXp Realty - Canyon Lake, TX
My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty

Lisa: This post makes a terrific point! And I hope some of the REALTORS(r) out there listen to this. By the way, REALTOR(r) needs to be in all caps with the trademark each and every time.

May 09, 2010 06:57 PM
Lisa Garcia
Weichert Realtors - Engle & Hambright - Lancaster, PA

Ray: Precisely!

Christine: Sounds like a good plan that works well for you!

Aaron: Thanks for the reminder!

May 10, 2010 05:37 AM