8 On Your Side: Finding a realtor for headache-free house hunting

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – With thousands of realtors in the Tampa Bay area, finding the best fit can be overwhelming. In today’s Path to Home story, 8 on Your Side helps you choose a realtor with peace of mind.

As first-time home buyers Kate Postle and her husband didn’t know what to expect. They were just excited to move out of their cramped Chicago apartment and back to Florida.

“We wanted some space and a yard,” Postle said. “We wanted a dog and room to grow.”

The couple didn’t know if they even needed a realtor. Postle describes her husband as “Mr. YouTube” always looking things up and researching before making decisions. They decided to hire a realtor, through a referral, in hopes of getting better access to properties.

“There were so many things we didn’t know moving from a different place,” Postle said. “For example I didn’t know what termite damage looked like. Our realtor showed us that. And even invasive plant species. She was constantly checking things out we never would have thought of.”

Their realtor, the owner and broker at Blue Dog Realty, Jodi McKeithan, tells 8 On Your Side that most people aren’t critical enough.

“You have to remember the realtor works for you,” McKeithan. “It’s just like hiring a doctor or lawyer. You wouldn’t blindly hire someone and hope they’ll do the right thing for you. You have to ask them questions like a job interview.”

She recommends going out with a realtor to see a few homes before agreeing to work with that person.

“You should ask about how many first time buyers they’ve worked with,” McKeithan said. “Figure out how you will communicate and what they’ll do for you throughout the process. I’ve sold homes on Facebook Messenger before. Not all agents will do that. All clients are different in terms of the way they want to communicate.”

She also warns of not only looking at how many homes someone sells.

“Maybe someone only sells ten homes a year but is really up on the market,” McKeithan said. “A lot of it comes down to personality and what works for you.”

McKeithan says the lender is just as important as the realtor so do your research there too. As for the Postle’s, they have a charming home, a dog, and a baby on the way.

“We are so happy,” Postle said. “We just love it.”

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