Buying or selling a home is a big decision – you need an experienced professional to guide you through the process. When you work with a real estate agent, you want to know that they have your best interests at heart, and that they have the experience needed to get you the best price for your home.
So how do you make sure that the real estate agent you’re thinking of working with is up to snuff? Here are 5 tips for choosing a real estate agent:
- Do your research
It’s important that you find a real estate agent who understands your local market. You can start by asking friends and family for recommendations, or search online to read reviews from past clients. Friends, family, and coworkers may have used a real estate agent in the past and can tell you about their experience. Do they feel like they were represented well? Did they feel like the agent was knowledgeable about the housing market? Knowing these answers will help you narrow down your choices as you look for an agent.
- Pick someone you like and trust
The relationship with your agent is personal, so find someone you like and trust. Your real estate agent is going to know much more about you than the average person – how much money you have, how much house you want, how much house you can afford, where your kids will be going to school, etc. After all that’s said and done, if you don’t click with your real estate agent or your personalities don’t mesh well together, it’s going to leave a bad taste in your mouth for years after the transaction is done! When interviewing potential real estate agents, consider whether this is someone you can see yourself working with. If not, move on and keep looking!
- Prepare a list of questions
Once you’ve made a shortlist of potential real estate agents, prepare a list of questions to ask them in person. Some examples include:
How long have they been an agent? How many homes did they sell last year? Are they part of any local trade organizations? Will they be working with other agents in their office? Do they work full time as an agent?
- Interview multiple agents before hiring one
Even if you like an agent who helped you buy a home in the past, interview others before making your decision. Ask about sales of properties similar to yours and their experience in your neighborhood. You want someone who knows about comparable properties that have sold recently and who has expertise in your specific location.
- Make sure your agent works full-time
The real estate market fluctuates seasonally, so it pays to go with an agent who is engaged in the business year-round. If they only dabble in real estate between other pursuits, they may not be as familiar with market conditions as someone who is immersed in it daily.
- Check reviews and rankings for local agents
Many websites allow users to rate and write reviews on their experience with real estate agents. Look up your local agents online and see what locals are saying about them. You should also check if any of the agents have received awards in their field.
Look for an agent who’s sold homes like yours recently. Some homes are harder to sell than others depending on their location, condition, or features (like acreage).
- Ask About Experience
Experience matters when it comes to hiring a real estate professional because this is one of the biggest financial transactions you will ever engage in. If you’re buying a house, choose an agent who has been working in the industry for at least five years and has experience representing buyers like yourself.