One of the most frequent questions I am asked from friends and family is “Do you know a ‘good’ real estate agent?” It is a question everyone will have who is in the market to buy or sell their house and will shape their experience in real estate. So if so many people are buying, selling and renting why is it so hard to find the best real estate agent? The reason is simple, everyone is different and everyone has a different experience working with different people. Here are some tips on how to find a real estate agent:
Referrals: It is often said the best compliment one can receive is a referral to another’s friends and family. This holds especially true when picking an agent. Ask everyone you know who they used, how they liked that person, and if they would recommend that agent in your purchase, sale or rental agreement.
Experience: After you have asked you have asked your friends and family do a little research on the real estate agents they have suggested. You want an agent with experience, but not someone who is too far removed from your interests. Experience in the real estate market is crucial in contract negotiations, receiving closing cost credits, and saving you money all around.
Look at Listings: Do some research on the internet of homes you are interested in seeing. Often times you will see an agent pop up time and time again. This may be indicative of an agent who does a lot of business in the area. Which brings us to the next point…..
Go Local: When you speak to an agent, ask them what area they live in? Not only will this give you a fantastic insight as to perks and benefits of your potential new home, but it will also give you reassurance that the agent is familiar with the area and knows the value of the home you are buying. With respect to someone who is selling their home, agents often get the “sell my house quickly” request. Nothing slows down the sale of a house than an improper evaluation.
Pick Up The Phone: You would be amazed what picking up the phone can do for you. Call the agent, see if they pick up. If you are new business now and cannot get a call back until a week later what will happen when you are in a bind? Agents are very busy, but the best real estate agents will make sure they get back to you within a reasonable time.
The other important aspect of picking up the phone is being able to hear how you interact with an agent and being able to ask them extremely important questions such as:
(a) How long have they been in the business?
(b) Are they residential real estate agents or commercial agents?
(c) Do they specialize with Buyers or Seller?
(d) Who is their team? Do they recommend people as attorneys, home inspectors, lenders, etc.
(e) Is the agent a full time agent?
(f) What market does the agent service?
Look at the tips below if you don’t have friends or family that can refer you to an agent:
Attend An Open House: Attending open houses are a great opportunity to see a home and informally chat with a real estate agent who is present. This way, you can speak to the agent with no pressure of having to use them moving forward.
Look at For Sale Signs in the Area: If you are driving around and see the same realtor selling a lot of the properties in the area consider doing a little research on the real estate agent to see if they are someone you would consider working with.
Ask Other Professionals: Do you know a residential real estate attorney, home inspector, termite company, etc..? They may not only know a good real estate agent, they may have a list of the best real estate agents they enjoy working with.
Check Social Media: Finding the best real estate agent is not like finding the best sushi restaurant. Using rating sites vary dramatically. Often times, a really, really good agent can be pegged down by one bad experience that is not indicative of their skill or care for clients. I suggest using social media as a starting place if you cannot find an agent after trying all of the above.
One Last Point….. after you have chosen the agent for you, be sure to tell the agent what you are looking for. Informing the agent of exactly what you want can change seeing 150 houses to 5 houses and save you tons of time! I wish you all the luck buying, selling or renting your next home!
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