Although more and more potential homeowners are choosing to start their search online, eventually most people decide to find an experienced and trustworthy real estate agent to help them find their dream home.
Real estate agents are trained professionals who have access to tools that you probably don’t, such as the Multiple Listing Service. This service gives agents information on any listed property at the touch of a button. They also are trained to negotiate the sale and draw up the contract so that your rights are properly protected. So how do you find the right real estate agent? Here are some great tips for choosing the best real estate agent:
1. Ask Friends and Family – Perhaps the best way to find a trustworthy real estate agent (or any professional service provider) is to talk to close friends and family who have bought and sold homes and ask for recommendations. You can also ask peers at work for recommendations.Try to talk to more than one agent before making any moves.
2. Expertise in Desired Location – You need someone who “gets” your desired neighborhood. Can the agent give you an off-the-cuff list of churches, schools, parks, retail establishments, and restaurants in a two-mile radius? Understanding the area will not only help your agent find the perfect property for you, it will also help with it comes it comes time to negotiate.
3. Always Interview – When you’ve compiled a list of prospective agents, interview each one. Ask for references. It does not necessarily matter whether the agent is highly experienced, or new in the business. Often, a rookie is more energized and willing to work harder for you than someone who’s been around for a while. Also, don’t judge a company based on the fact that it is a large franchise with an office on every street corner, or a small one-office boutique. You can find professionals at both.
4. Availability – Ask how often the agent checks email and how early or late you can call. When time is money, both of these forms of communication are critical. Getting in touch with the agent during your most convenient times may be important to you. Be sure to ask about weekend availability.
5. Comfort Level – Often, your decision will simply be a matter of who you feel most comfortable with; after all, you will likely be spending a good deal of time with this person. (Unless, you buy the first property you see.) But smart buyers will often look for a real estate agent who complements them—in other words, someone who will be aggressive when they are demure…or someone who can be diplomatic when they are intense.
Remember, this individual is representing you in one of the largest transactions in which you may ever be involved. So, take the time and do it right. When searching for your perfect real estate agent, look for someone who is an expert in your area and who shares your goals and philosophy. Finding the right agent is like finding your soulmate; you’ll just know when the agent is the right fit.