Finding a reliable real estate agent is essential to anyone looking to purchase a piece of real estate. Whether you are a real estate professional looking to expand your portfolio or a casual home buyer, picking a real estate agent you can trust is a must when it comes to buying or selling homes.
But how do you go about finding the right agent for you?
The best agent for you is not always going to be the most familiar real estate name in the biz, the one who has sold the most homes in the area you are interested in or the one working for the largest brokerage. In fact, many times those things will not matter at all.
What will matter is that you find someone that acts in a professional and ethical way, is willing to listen to your needs and knows the market you are looking to enter.
Today we will take a look at what role a real estate agent plays in the home purchasing process and provide you with some helpful tips for finding the right real estate agent for you.
What is a Real Estate Agent?
Real estate agents are licensed professionals that represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. Many times a real estate agent will work under one of the following:
- Real Estate Broker: A professional or firm in the real estate business that charges a fee or commission for conducting buy and sell transactions of real estate initiatives. They also handle the earnest money deposit and escrow account. A real estate agent that works under a broker is licensed to help people buy and sell property.
- Realtor: A real estate professional that is a member of the National Association of Realtors. They are considered expert real estate agents and are more educated than your typical real estate agent.
A real estate agent’s duties will depend on whether they are representing a buyer or seller in the purchase process.
If representing the seller, a real estate agent will advise the client on how to price the property, how to prepare the property for sale and what improvements can be made to boost the value of the home. They also promote the property through things such as listing services, networking platforms and traditional advertisements via online or newspaper ads.
If representing the buyer, a real estate agent will search for available properties that match the buyer’s needs and price range and arrange for the purchase of the property.
How to Find the Perfect Real Estate Agent
Now that you know what a real estate agent is responsible for, let’s look at some things that can help guide you to an agent that works best for you.
Satisfied customers of exceptional real estate agents will not hesitate to refer them to family, friends and co-workers. In fact, word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find out if meeting with a potential real estate agent is a good idea. Here are some things you should discuss with those that have had experience with a real estate agent:
- What was the experience like from start to finish?
- How satisfied were you at the end of the process?
- Did the agent truly listen to your wants and needs?
- Did the agent give you exactly what you wanted?
- What did the agent do that exceeded you expectations?
- How likely are you to refer them to others and why?
Visit Open Houses on Your OwnOne way to see an agent in their element is to visit an open house in the market you are interested in. This is an informal way for you to meet the agent and get a first impression that may encourage you to pursue them as your agent.
Observe how prepared and knowledgeable the agent seems. Notice how the open house is set up (should you be in the market to sell your home) and decide if the setup is something you would want for your home. In addition, notice the energy you get from your interactions with the agent. Although not always right initially, your feelings about someone upon a first meeting are usually right.
Lastly, make sure you know who the listing agent is on the open house. Experience is a must when it comes to choosing a real estate agent. Just because an agent has attended an open house does not mean the property is theirs to sell.
Check Their Experience Level
The goal of finding a great real estate agent is to find someone experienced in doing deals that are similar to the one you are interested in conducting. For example, if you are looking to buy a starter home that will fit your family’s needs, finding a real estate agent that has experience only in luxury condo sales is probably not going to be a good fit.
You need an agent that understands the market, whether you are looking to buy or sell. Additionally, an experienced agent will have many connections, will know of properties that are considered off-market that may suit your taste and have the negotiation skills to help get your offers accepted.
Match These Qualities
There are plenty of different personalities, experience levels and success rates floating around the real estate industry that can confuse anyone when it comes to choosing a good real estate agent. Make a list of the personality traits you are looking for in an agent and look for someone that matches the majority of them prior to hiring them to help you buy or sell your property:
- Make sure they are licensed. Being a real estate broker or Realtor is not required. However, your real estate agent’s license should be in good standing. In addition, they should have zero complaints against them. This information can easily be Googled.
- Knowledge is key. You want to find an agent that excels in the type of real estate transaction you are interested in. Residential and commercial properties are very different. Short sales or foreclosures have their own individual issues to contend with. Buying versus selling makes all the difference.
- Communication is also key. This seems like an obvious point but unfortunately with many real estate agents, communication is not a strong point. It is your right to know what is going on with your real estate transaction at all times. Make sure you are receiving regular updates in your preferred method (email, phone, text). Also, make sure you can easily get in touch with your agent should you have any questions or concerns.
In addition to these important qualities you want to make sure you find a real estate agent that is truthful, has integrity and performs their job with pride. Investing in a property is a big deal and is one that does not come cheap. Someone who does not understand this is not worthy of your time or money.
If you are looking for a real estate agent to represent you in your real estate endeavors, take note of the above-mentioned tips. They will go a long way when it comes to choosing the right agent to represent you and get you the best deal possible, no matter which side of the bargain you are on.