We’re only a week into 2022 and the flood of housing market advice is already cresting.

Buy. Sell. Don’t buy now. Don’t sell now.

There’s a surge of foreclosures on the horizon. It can make things very confusing for buyers, sellers, investors, and sometimes real estate professionals.

Step away from the media avalanche, take a deep breath and prioritize.

The first thing you need to do if you’re buying or selling is to partner with a Realtor who can help you make sense of this rapidly evolving housing market.

This year won’t be as crazy as last year, but in many ways it will be more of the same. There’s still more demand than inventory. Prices may not increase as fast, but they’re still increasing. There is still a lot of competition, so buyers could bump up against cash buyers, and while there may not be as many multiple offers, they’ll still be around on some properties.

Buyers will need a Realtor who can help them decide what to offer without paying too much or how not to make an offer that has little – if any chance – of keeping them in the chase.

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the market’s pulse will make a buying/selling experience much easier, but what’s the secret to finding one who understands the market dynamics and will take the time to explain simply and effectively what that means?

There’s no secret, but it takes more effort than just picking out a name from the list of agents clamoring for your business.

The first step in finding the right Realtor is defining your needs. There’s a plethora of designations and certifications that can help you find a Realtor with specific skills. Go to www.onlinelearning.realtor/A/Category/DesignationsAndCertifications to narrow down your list of candidates with the credentials that match your needs.

The next step is interviewing candidates. How long have they been in business? What are their current listings? How many and what type of sales are on their resume. How do you want them to communicate with you? You will be spending a lot of time exchanging information. Do you want telephone calls, emails, or text messages? Ask them to explain what’s hot and what’s not in the neighborhoods you’re considering.

A significant part of the relationship will also be how candid you are with your Realtor. This is especially true for buyers.

It’s a good idea to strengthen the relationship with a commitment that you won’t be shopping with other agents. That’s only fair. A buyer’s agent invests significant effort without a guaranteed payday. Buyers who commit to an exclusivity arrangement are taking the high road, but if things are not going well, don’t hesitate to sit down with your Realtor for a heart-to-heart. More often than not, misunderstandings or differences are overcome by good communication.

It’s different for sellers. They have a listing agreement, so the relationship is contractually connected. Sellers shouldn’t be timid about their expectations and committed to taking the advice of their Realtor.

Once you’ve found your partner, internalize the reality that there will be hitches. Things can and will go wrong. Expect some extra stress. But choosing the right agent will take the edge off the process and make it easier and more successful for everyone concerned.

For more information from the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors, including pending sales, trends reports and the regional market analytics, visit www.netar.us.

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