Choosing to buy or sell a home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. Finding the correct real estate agent can save you time, effort and frustration whether you are looking to find your dream home at the right price or sell you current home quickly and for top-dollar.
When you decide that you are ready to buy or sell, choosing an agent to represent you can be overwhelming. A little legwork and questioning go a long way in finding one that is right for you.
Ask someone you trust, and who has bought or sold recently, for a recommendation. Your friend or family member’s experience is a good indicator of how satisfied you will be with a certain agent. Referrals are also extremely influential in the success of a real estate agent. If an agent knows you have been referred by a past client, it is likely he or she will strive to give you the same quality experience.
Experience & Credentials
Look for an agent with a lot of experience. More importantly, look for experience in the location and price range where you are looking to purchase or sell. They will be up-to-date on the history of the area’s market and can help you differentiate between a good and bad home.
Consider choosing an agent who is a Realtor®, as well. Along with being licensed by the state to sell real estate, Realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors and must follow a strict code of ethics.
When looking for a prospective agent, ask questions! You are hiring them to do a job, so it is important to be selective. Ask these questions and look for the following answers:
Is this your full-time job? How many clients have you served this year? A full-time agent will most likely have more market knowledge on a day-to-day basis.
Can I see your references? Like any job interview, an agent will highlight all of their positives. References will give you an idea on what it’s like working with an agent on a daily basis.
How many clients are your currently working with? There is no “correct” answer. If your agent has 25 listings and is working with 10 buyers, it may indicate that their attention will be divided. But working with too few clients could suggest that the agent is not highly-recommended or possibly inexperienced. You will have to decide what best suits your needs.
How are you going to market my house? (Sellers) Do they take part in print and online advertising? Do they market and hold open houses on a regular basis? This question will help you differentiate each agent’s means of success.
Bottom line: find out what your agent is going to do for you and how they’re going to do it. A good real estate agent is going to know the market, communicate in a timely manner, strategize with clients on offers, and put a client’s needs above their paycheck. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that will determine if your needs will be met!
Looking for more information on buying a home? Our Mortgage 101 Handbook is the ultimate guide for First Time Home Buyers.