Selling your home is both exciting and stressful. Likewise, finding your forever home is thrilling but exhausting. Not only is sentimentality in play, but so is the sheer magnitude of such a large and long-term purchase. Therefore, it is extremely important that the real estate agent that is going to be taking care of buying and/or selling your home is the right agent for you. He or she needs to be someone that you trust and someone who truly understands you and your needs. You may be wondering how exactly you find that ‘just right’ person. Using our simple tips will help ensure that you are finding the best real estate agent to meet your needs.
Tip 1 – Know Who You Are Looking For
Think through these questions: What are your needs? What are you looking for? Is your priority finding someone who is a top notch producer? Is your priority good and effective communication skills? Do you want someone who is available to you night and day? And/or are you looking for a fierce negotiator? It’s possible to find someone who meets all of your criteria, but you can’t find what you don’t know you are looking for. Knowing what your needs and expectations are will not only help you find your agent, but to know that you have found him or her when the time comes!
Tip 2 – If possible, choose an agent who knows the area!
Having an agent that is familiar with the neighborhoods you are looking to buy in can be very helpful. They will be able to guide you towards places that are priced right and to one’s that you may be getting a really good deal on. Likewise, having an agent that knows the market in a particular area will certainly help your cause if you are selling your home. With that said, just because an agent is familiar with your neighborhood and its market, doesn’t guarantee that the real estate agent is right for you. Make sure you check your agent’s skills and qualities against multiple criteria.
Tip 3 – You have to vet your agent
It is important to do the leg work to research and vet real estate agents in your area. Sometimes there are too many to choose from, and in some places, too few. Either way, you have to take the time to research them on the internet, call their references, and interview more than one potential agent if necessary. Of course, if an agent works for a particular agency, you need to research the agency as well and get insights into their reputation and productivity. Find out: Are they known for integrity? Do they get a good rating by the Better Business Bureau? Do they have a lot of resources that will help you in your home buying or selling process? Doing your due diligence is time-consuming and of course, none of us have enough time, but this investment is likely one of the biggest of your life, so you want to choose wisely and correctly (it will pay off in the end)!
Tip 4 – Channel your inner detective: ask questions
Meet your prospective agents in person. Talking on the phone is great, but let’s face it, it is difficult to get a good read on a people without face-to-face interactions. When you do meet them, here are some good questions to ask:
What areas are you most familiar with?
Where have you sold the most houses?
What do you bring to the table that is unique from other agents? How will you market my house to sell?
What do you do when the house we want to buy is one that is listed with your agency?
How long have you been an agent?
Do you have a list of referrals?
Tip 5 – Be on the lookout for red flags
It’s always nice when you can give acquaintances business, but with real estate agents, it could be detrimental and an instant red flag. You have to be able to talk opening and honestly and that can be difficult with agents whom you have a personal association.
Also, be aware of instances where your agent is also the seller or buyer’s agent. This could cause a conflict of interest. Your agent is required to disclose this to you, but you should protect yourself and always know who the other agent is for the transaction. If your agent is the other party’s agent as well, there should be a written agreement that everyone is aware of and understands. Likewise, if you are the buyer, it is a good idea to get another agent to represent you through the negotiation and sale process.
Finding the best real estate agent may require some diligence and work up front, but in the end, when you are settled into your new home or celebrating the sale of your old home, you will be glad you patiently waited for “just right.”