Finding your dream home is a process that entails many important steps. But the one step that can have the biggest impact on your final outcome is finding the right Realtor. There are a few simple ways though to help you find that perfect fit and get you from “point A” to “point B”.
1. Canvas the Neighborhood
As the saying goes, “fish where the fish are” and the same holds true when it comes to finding the best real estate agent. The best Realtors are constantly working hard for their clients at places like open houses and home showings. An open house is a great opportunity to see an agent in action whether you’re interested in the property or not. Meeting real estate agents in this environment will give you a glimpse into what your overall experience with them could be like. The best Realtors know that while you might not be a buyer for that particular listing they can use that opportunity to impress you with their knowledge of the local market and eventually win you over as a new buyer client. In reality, open houses are more successful for Realtors than they are for the home seller because of this fact.
You can also find the right Realtor in your own neighborhood if you know where to look. Take stock of online and printed advertisements since these usually indicate a strong local presence in the market. Use their presence to help verify their dedication to the area.
2. Get verified recommendations
An instrumental part of finding the best real estate agent is verifying a potential candidate’s past work. Friends and family are a great source for referrals since most people only recommend Realtors that they trust. Just make sure that they didn’t hire the Realtor based on friendship or family relations.
When taking recommendations though, it’s important to sift through potential candidates and make sure they’ve had a successful working relationship with their past clients. While recommendations from friends/family present a great starting point, make sure that they are unbiased and lead to results.
Local real estate referral agencies can also be a good resource for verifying recommended agents since they only have an incentive to recommend the best. So whether it’s a trusted source, a referral agency or both (even better!) make sure to ask about past clients’ overall experience with the recommended agents, any issues they might have run across and what changes (if any!) they could have made better to improve their experience and end result.
3. Ask the right questions
The best real estate agents do their homework to know what you are looking for and to know the market you’re looking in. That being said you need to come to the table with the same level of preparation. Asking every question may get you to the right agent but asking the right questions will effectively get you to the best real estate agent.
- You will want to make sure they’re active in the community: Do they have a healthy number of clients they’re currently working with? Dedicating all their time to you day and night is great but how are they able to do that? If they don’t have experience dealing with multiple clients at one time, that could be a red flag. On the flip side you don’t want someone who just hands you off to his or her assistants. You should be just as important as their next client regardless of budget.
- You won’t have all the answers but your real estate agent should: Test their knowledge by asking detailed questions about the local market and the homebuying process in general. Do they have their own informed opinion about the neighborhood and can they convey that to you logically? You don’t want someone who can’t break things down to your level rather than requiring you to become the aficionado.
- Make sure they know the area: This goes back to the idea of “fishing where the fish are”—if they’re not swimming in the pond then what are they doing there in the first place?
4. Compare agents
The best of the best are competitive when it comes to finding clients. Use whatever tools are at your disposal to determine which real estate agents are at the top of their game and if they’re a right fit for you. Comparing their abilities, successes, and the experience their past clients have had with them helps you determine who will ultimately suit your needs. At the end of the day, skills are a necessity but what separates a great real estate agent from the best one for you is the connection between realtor and client. Comparing them side by side gives you the opportunity to pick that person with confidence.
And now you’re on your way!
Taking the time to find the best real estate agent for you should be the first priority on your checklist. Once you have the right, knowledgeable person to navigate your search you’ll be on your way to your new front door! Good luck!