Choosing a real estate agent to help you navigate the treacherous waters of purchasing a home is one of the best moves you can make. Real estate agents are trained to help you in many areas of the home buying process. Some examples are:
- Advise you on market conditions, prices, and mortgages.
- Locate properties that meet your requirements.
- Provide you with information on location, features, square footage, etc.
- Handle negotiations between you and the seller.
- Review purchase contracts to ensure terms are met.
So it is important that you find someone who really knows their stuff – but how do you find one who is really trained, qualified and have your best interest in mind when there are so many real estate agents out there clamoring for your business? Today, I will tell you how.
I will cover 5 topics that will help you find a reliable real estate agent. I will touch on checking out reviews, years of experience, current listing, licensing, and trusting your gut feeling.
After reading this post you will walk away feeling confident about what to look for in an agent and you will know how to choose one who is equipped and trained to help you.
Check Out Their Reviews
The first thing you should do before choosing a real estate agent is to check out their reviews via social media.
You might also find reviews doing a Google search for their name.
If they have a Facebook page see what people are saying. Do they respond to comments? Do they smile? Do they seem approachable? What type of helpful advice or informative information are they sharing with their followers and friends?
Does she present herself as the one you could build a trusting relationship with?
This is important because you will work and rely upon this person for several weeks to several months before the process is completed.
Hopefully, there will be some sought of “click” between you and the real estate agent that you choose. Within you, there should be a peace of mind knowing that you have picked someone who will do all that she can to help.
If possible, try to chat with recent clients of hers.
You can ask the potential agent to give you a list of what she has sold (and listed) within the past year and be sure to include contact information.
To find out how strong her negotiating skills are, ask what was the asking price versus the final sales price for some homes she negotiated.
Find Out Years of Experience
You should also find out how long the agent has been in the real estate business by simply asking her.
Five years is considered a learning curve for agents, so you may want to consider someone who has been in the business longer.
However, just because they have been in business longer does not necessarily mean they are more knowledgeable and most importantly, someone who is committed to helping you.
Sometimes, newer agents will work harder to please you because they know satisfying you could bring them more potential clients in the future.
Newer agents may not know as much offhand, but they have responsible trained sources to turn to, who will help instruct them on how to make the home buying process easy and successful for you.
Remember, no matter how much experience a real estate agent have they all started out as new and had to learn.
Having a new agent may work out just as good as working with an experienced one-it may possibly even work out better. However, after speaking with one, trust your gut feeling on whether you should or should not continue to do business with him/her.
Do They Have Any Houses They Are Trying to Sell
Check out a potential agent’s current listings. You can do this online by accessing the agency’s website or other sites. Determine if the agent’s past listing is comparable or similar to the home you want to purchase and within the same price range.
Make Sure They Are Licensed
Be sure your agent is licensed by the state they’re practicing in. You can check to see if the real estate agent is licensed by contacting your state’s regulatory body. That will also reveal if the agent has any complaints or if there are disciplinary actions against her.
A real estate agent should have the right credentials—just as lawyers.
Notice the lettering after the agent’s name to get more information.
For example, a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) shows that they’ve had the training to assist buyers directly and sellers 50 years and older.
A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) means they’ve had additional classes in buying and selling residential properties.
If an agent is an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), you’ll know they’ve had further education in representing a home buyer’s transactions.
Mainly, an agent who is listed as a Realtor (capital R) is a member of the National Association of Realtors, who has pledged support to the Realtor’s code of ethics.
Check out awards and recognitions the agents have received, especially by her peers.
The “Realtor of the Year” award is presented by the local branch of the NAR or by the state and it means a great deal and is quite an honor to be chosen by your peers.
You can be assured that she’s respected and looked up to by the business.
If you still feel unsure about the agent’s abilities, one test you can do is to ask the agent about property in the area that has recently been put on the market or sold.
If the agent immediately knows the property you’re talking about, it’s a sure thing she knows the area and the market you’re considering.
When choosing a real estate agent just remember that you want to choose someone who will carefully guide you along one of the most important and expensive journeys of your life.
Even if the real estate agent doesn’t meet all the criteria mentioned above, it does not mean he/she will not do all that they can do for you.
As mentioned before, consider your gut instinct about the person. Sometimes, that’s the best rule of thumb.