When preparing to buy or sell a piece of real estate, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is which real estate agent you wish to work with to complete the purchase or sale. A good real estate agent will have extensive knowledge of the local market and many years of experience successfully closing deals. Your agent can make all of the difference between a stress-free process and one that pushes you to your wits end. Fortunately there are many excellent real estate agents to be found in every city in the country – you just need a good plan for finding the best one for you.
First, what should a real estate buyer focus on when finding an agent? There are a couple of main points that a real estate agent needs to hit on when assisting in the purchase of a property. The first is showing you, the buyer, all of the relevant properties that are for sale within your budget and your desired area. A good agent will be able to navigate the maze of listings to sort out the ones that will interest you the most.
Once you have selected a property, the second part of the buyer’s agent job kicks in. Your agent should be able to present you what they feel is a fair offer price based on comparable sales in the area. This is important information to ensure that you don’t offer too much (or too little) when you contact the seller. The best agents are honest with their clients, and are willing to fight for a good deal.
Knowing what skills you want to find in a real estate agent who will assist with your purchase, how do you find ‘the one’? Certainly, a simple Google search will reveal countless agents within your geographical area. To narrow it down, you will want to find agents that have specific qualifications so you can be sure they are up to the task of finding you the perfect property and closing a great deal.
Use the Web to Narrow it Down
You don’t want to make your final decision based only on the comments of others online, but that is a good place to start. Develop a list of realtors that serve your area and narrow it down to a group of three based on reviews from past clients, how long they have been in the business, what kind of properties they focus on, etc. It won’t take long to put together your top three once you spend a little time reading about them on various websites, including their own.
One thing to remember when reading online reviews is that anyone can write them, legitimate or otherwise. The things you read might be from actual past clients, or they might be from competing real estate agents looking for an edge. Reviews can be useful, but they should only be one piece of the puzzle.
Contact Your Top Three
With a list of your three possible agents in hand, write up an email with some questions that you can send to all of them. The email should inquire about the following points –
- Can they provide references?
One of the best ways to learn about the agent is to speak with a real, live person that has worked with them recently. Just a quick phone call to a past client can get many of your questions answered and help you decide if they are the right agent for you.
- Will they be showing you properties themselves?
Some larger agencies may have employees show you houses instead of the agent themselves. While this does not have to be a deal breaker, you should know what the plan is before you start working together.
- What makes them stand out from the crowd?
This question gives the agent a chance to explain what makes them special and why they would be a smart choice as your buyer’s agent.
In your email, give the agent a brief explanation of what you will be looking for and they will be able to give you better detail in their response. Remember, the agent is only half of the equation – you have to bring your opinions and ideas to the table as well if there is to be a successful purchase in the end.
Tips for Sellers
Similar rules apply when looking for a seller’s agent as when you’re looking for a buyer’s agent. You still want someone that is experienced in the area, someone that has good references, and someone that is willing to work closely with you to get the job done. The biggest additional point that you want to investigate is how many sales the agent has closed within the last year. Any agent can take some pictures and post a listing, but good agents do whatever it takes to make the sale. When you find an agent that you like who has sold numerous properties in the last twelve months, you will know you have found a winner.
Finding the right real estate agent might be the most important part of a good experience with buying or selling a property. Your agent can bring the knowledge and experience of the business that you don’t have, and will be able to guide you along from start to finish. Use the advice contained in this article to find the real estate agent that can pass all of the tests you have for them. Good luck with your upcoming real estate transaction!