Four Tips for Finding the Right Real Estate Agent
Unless you are planning to handle the buying or selling of a home all on your own, you are going to need to find yourself a good real estate agent; you will be working with this person closely and it is important to carefully consider a variety of factors from experience to personality when it comes to finding the agent that is the best fit for you and your needs. Here are some tips to do just that.
Look for the Realtor Designation
While many people use the world realtor to mean any real estate agent, this term actually refers to real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors, which has stringent criteria for gaining and maintaining membership. A realtor must work according to a comprehensive code of conduct that goes far beyond typical business practices and they tend to have a greater amount of knowledge about all things real estate. Less than 50 percent of licensed real estate agents are realtors. Now, this is not to say that someone without this designation is a bad agent or that having a realtor designation will automatically mean you will get the perfect agent, but it is definitely something to consider when choosing the person.
Attend Open Houses
Seeing an agent in action is a great way to evaluate potential candidates. Attending open houses in your area allows you to meet agents and interact with them — without feeling any pressure — and to see how they naturally act while doing their job — no putting on appearances because they are trying to win your business. Are they helpful? Are they handing out professional looking materials about the home? How are they interacting with people coming to see the house? If you feel good about what you see, put the agent on the list of potentials. If not, it is probably a good idea to pass. You need to feel good about who you choose.
Ask the Important Questions
There are lots of different questions you should be asking potential agents when trying to decide on the right one for you. Here are some of the most important ones. You want to know how many deals they closed last year, how many were in the area you are looking to buy or sell and how will they meet your needs? If you are selling a home, you want specifics on online and offline marketing strategies, number of photos posted, what photography equipment will be used, where the home will be advertised and for how long. You also want the agent to be able to provide information on what buyers in your area are currently seeking in a home. If you are buying a house, you want to find out how the agent will be looking for suitable homes, how many you may expect to look at before finding the right one, who comes up with pricing and how the agent handles multiple offers.
Set Clear Expectations for Communication
Good communication between you and your agent is paramount for success and a harmonious working relationship. Agents may differ in their communication preferences and frequency, but it is important to find someone who can meet your (reasonable) needs. You want to find out how often you can expect to be in contact with the agent, how and when you can reach them. If you have preferred means of communication, make sure the realtor is on board; if you prefer email for example and a particular agent is more of a phone person, that may not be a good match.
Kelli Cooper, writing for Miami luxury real estate agent SildyCervera, is a freelance writer who has covered all things real estate from how to save for a down payment to tips for finding your dream home.