Wondering how to find a real estate agent? The process can feel a bit daunting, we know! There are literally hundreds and hundreds of Realtors, how do you wade through the ocean of agents to choose the right real estate agent? Whether you are buying a home, selling or renting, here are 8 simple and practical tips to help you with your decision. (Yes, you should utilize a Realtor when renting, as well! Read our post on that topic here: Do you need a Realtor to Rent)
1. Interview each potential agent.
You are about to embark on a VERY important step in you and your family's lives. Too many buyers and sellers fail to spend the time on an interview, yet buying or selling a home is a very large financial event. Even if you feel you don't have a lot of excess time, you can accomplish this interview process online (G+ Hangout or Skype, we have even held interviews via Facebook Chat!), on the phone or in person.
2. Make sure to be very clear during your interview on the topic of communication.
Ask them pointedly what their turnaround time is on phone calls, texts and emails. Also, discover what their preferred form of communication is (hint: it needs to be what YOUR preferred communication style is!) If you can’t wait (or don't want to wait) all day for a response from your agent, listen carefully to what they say in response. If you don’t want to be bombarded with info and only want updates a couple of times a week, again, listen to their answers.
3. Who will be working with you on the process of buying, renting or selling?
Is there a team? Is it one client? How many people will you have to work with to get from start to finish? Is the lead agent hands on or do they introduce you to someone called a transaction coordinator or customer care specialist? Neither format is better than another, it simply depends on your preferences. When you are looking to find a real estate agent, determine whether you want to only work with the agent, then being handed off to a team will likely not make you feel like a priority.
4. Ask them to flip back to YOU their understanding of what you are looking for in a home.
So many times, agents are focused on their presentation or their system and forget to really listen to what you’re saying between the lines and it can end up being frustrating and a waste of time. If you are selling your home, make sure the agent understands and has listened to your timeline, who will be remaining in the home during the process of selling and whether you have any restrictions or limitations on the showing of the home.
5. What is important to your agent? What core values do they work from?
What morals and values do they hold high in their lives and business?
6. How long have they been in business?
While most will advise you to inquire heavily about the agent's years of experience, keep in mind that sometimes the best agents are the ones with a fresh take on the industry, with new and out-of-the-box marketing ideas that will sell your home the fastest, or unique negotiating skills that will get you the most bang for your buck. If you are choosing a newer agent, be sure to inquire into the support and backing they receive from other agents in their brokerage, or from their broker.
7. What services does this Realtor offer AFTER the transaction closes?
Do they stay in touch with you? Do they offer a home warranty or do they provide a service whereby you are sent reminders on various to do items with the new house (i.e. change filters, etc.) or do they invite you to client parties (fun!) — look for the agent that goes above and beyond.
8. Go with your gut.
When you are looking to find a real estate agent, perhaps you’ve met or been referred to an agent BUT it doesn’t feel like a great fit. If this happens, move on. There are literally HUNDREDS of agents and you need to find the right one for you and your situation!
Still feeling confused and don't know where to start? We are happy to help - using our extensive network of trusted and known real estate professionals from literally all over the globe! We'll have a short discussion on what is important to you and then we can offer some stellar recommendations and referrals!