How to Find a Good REALTOR®: 5 Tips for Military Families
by Julie Provost - October 22nd, 2022
When it's time for military homeowners to PCS, finding an experienced and reliable real estate agent should be at the top of your to-do list. Whether you're selling your current home, buying a house at your new location, or both, a great REALTOR® can make the entire process run smoothly.
Military families face unique challenges when buying and selling homes. It's crucial to work with a real estate agent who understands those challenges.
A smooth move begins with finding the right agent. But how can you ensure your family chooses the right one? We've consulted with leading industry experts to compile these 5 tips for finding a great REALTOR®.
Want to start your search for a real estate agent who understands military life? Click here to access our database of experienced, vetted, and A-rated REALTORs® across the country - and earn cash back at closing for working with one!
How to find a good REALTOR®
You always have a choice when choosing who represents you when you buy or sell a house. Finding the right agent will make the entire process run smoothly. And as every military family knows, PCS is stressful enough without worrying about an upcoming home sale.
First-time homebuyers, in particular, should choose a reliable and experienced agent. There is so much to learn when buying your first home, and it can all feel overwhelming. A great agent can explain the homebuying process in detail and walk you through each step. They'll understand VA loans and can help you find a military-friendly lender. A great real estate agent will understand military life and its unique challenges and will work to make the process as easy as possible for your family.
"I love helping first-time homebuyers. Buying your first house is such an exciting time, and I'm always honored to be a part of it, especially when it's a military family. There's a lot to navigate as a first-time homebuyer: making an offer, going through inspection, loan applications, and closing. But I love explaining all of it to my clients and helping them navigate the process."
- Experienced Military-Friendly Agent
5 tips for choosing a great real estate agent
When you are ready to buy a house, you always have a choice in who helps you. You want to find the right person who can help you find the right home. Here are some tips to get you started in seeking out a good real estate agent.
1. Interview real estate agents before deciding
Start by interviewing several agents before making your decision. As military families, it's not always possible to meet potential real estate agents in person, but phone calls or video chats are just as effective.
Getting along with your real estate agent is a must. Different personalities don’t always work well together. During the interview process, get to know the agent and their personality. Find out how they prefer to communicate with clients, and ask if they can accommodate requests like virtual video tours, home shopping from a different time zone, a Power of Attorney, and other unique circumstances military families face.
When you click with your real estate agent on a personal level, your experience will be a lot more enjoyable, and you won’t feel pressured to buy a home you don’t really want.
2. Find a VA-knowledgable REALTOR®
Personality is important, but knowledge, experience, and professionalism are what get the job done. If you intend to use a VA loan, make sure you work with an agent who understands the VA home loan process.
In some cases, VA loan issues can slow down the process or even result in having an offer rejected. A knowledgeable agent can help you avoid homes that might take too long to get approved. An agent who is familiar with VA loans can discuss all your options and help you make an informed decision.
Not all military homebuyers will use a VA loan. If you're looking for a trusted military-friendly lender, check out this page to find one near you.
3. Choose a good listener
A real estate agent that won’t listen to you is just going to waste your time. If you need a three-bedroom home with a fenced-in yard, it doesn’t do you any good to keep looking at two bedrooms with no fence. And if you want to live close to the military installation, but your agent continues to show you homes 45 minutes away, you'll end up frustrated.
A great agent listens - really listens - getting to know your family so they understand what kind of home will suit you best. You should be able to tell your agent exactly what you want in a home, and in turn, they will connect you with listings that meet those requirements.
It's worth noting that listening goes both ways. When you choose an agent, you're acknowledging their expertise. Make sure you listen to their advice about the local neighborhoods and the current housing market.
"I feel like 90% of my job is knowing how to listen. If I don't understand what the buyer is looking for, it's going to cause frustration on both of our parts. I always sit down with clients before we start looking at listings. I want to learn about them as people, get to know their family. And I want to have a clear picture of what they're looking for, so they end up with a home they love."
- Military-Friendly Real Estate Agent
4. Is the agent knowledgeable about the area?
Having a real estate agent that really knows the area will help you find an ideal location. They can advise you on popular neighborhoods (though they can't "steer" you toward or away from any specific areas), where other military families live, and the attractions and amenities in each area.
You can also check the neighborhood reviews at PCSgrades.com to see what other military families think about the areas you're considering.
5. Motivation is key
An ideal real estate agent is motivated to help you find your dream home, no matter what. For some, finding the right property can take a few weeks. For others, it can take a few months.
As a military homebuyer, you might be looking for homes in different states, or even house hunting from another country. It's not always possible to see a home in person before signing a contract. That's where hiring a motivated agent comes in. You want someone who understands your needs and is willing to work hard to help you find a home, even from a great distance.
Military families face specific moving challenges
Military moves don’t always leave a lot of time to purchase a home. If you are in a time crunch or house hunting from a distance, it is vital that you hire a real estate agent who knows their stuff and is willing to go to work for you.
Great agents don’t have to be a veteran or prior military spouse, but they do need to have respect for military families and experience working with PCS logistics. Having a real estate agent knowledgeable in military moves can make all the difference when you are looking for your next home.
Search real estate agents, read reviews, and qualify for cash back at closing
Want to know how to find a good REALTOR®? The best place to start that search for a trusted military-friendly agent is on PCSgrades.com. There, you can find experienced REALTORs® in your desired area and read reviews about them written by other military families, just like yours.
Plus, you could qualify for up to $7,500 cash back at closing when you work with one of our trusted agents. Learn more about the cash-back program here.