Find the Best Real Estate Agent for You – the First TimeBy Jonathan Deesing
Before you can move into your dream home you need to find it, and one of the best ways to locate the house you’ve always wanted is with the help of a top-notch real estate agent. Sometimes finding the right agent can be even trickier than finding the right house. Don’t waste time jumping from agent to agent. We can help give you a leg-up when it comes to recruiting the perfect real estate agent for you the first time.
Do Your Research
Homebuyers spend hours researching homes, neighborhoods, and mortgage rates, but they often overlook researching real estate agents. If the same agent’s name keeps popping up on properties that catch your eye, take the time to check them out.
Photo by Glenn3095/Flickr
Go to the agent’s website and read their mission statement, blog, and comments from past clients. Note their credentials and any awards or recognition they’ve received. Find out if real estate is their full-time career or more of a hobby.
Ask the Right Questions
Ask friends, family, and colleagues if they’ve heard of the agent or ever worked with them. Take the time up-front to vet your agent and you won’t face wasted weeks and months down the road looking for an agent that’s a better fit.
Make sure your real estate agent is a good fit for your goals by asking about their track record, the types of properties they specialize in, and how hard they’re going to work for you. Ask how long they’ve been in business and what credentials they hold. Don’t be afraid to ask any question that will help you feel comfortable about putting your dream home in their hands.
A real estate agent with fewer than five years of experience is still learning, so you might want to move on to more seasoned candidates. Find out which professional licenses they hold and to what organizations they belong. Members of organizations like the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are held to a strict code of ethics that protects both buyers and sellers.
No one can say more about a real estate agent’s qualifications than their former clients. Look for client testimonials on your potential agent’s website, but don’t stop there. An agent may control the comments that get posted to their business site, so look to neutral places like Zillow and Trulia, as well as Google search, for additional reviews.
Photo by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung/Flickr
It’s also smart to ask the agent for referrals to recent clients so you can speak directly to someone who has worked with them first-hand. If you know someone who recently bought a house, ask them how they liked their agent and if they would recommend them.
Check Out Current Listings
One of the best ways to find out if an agent will be able to show you the types of houses that you’re interested in is to check out their current listings. If they represent properties in your desired neighborhoods or with features that are on the top of your list, there’s a good chance the agent will be a good fit for you. Get an idea for the types of properties the agent usually represents. If you’re looking for a townhouse, but they usually sell single-family, detached homes, it might be better to find someone with a more intimate knowledge of townhouses and a track record for securing buyers a fair deal.
Pay attention to the price ranges of the homes the agent has listed. If you’re tied to a specific price range, you want to know your agent will work hard to find you the right home within your budget rather than pushing you to stretch it. Be cautious if the majority of an agent’s listings are way above your target price.
Buying a home is exciting and should be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Finding the right real estate agent can be the key to whether you love or hate the process, so don’t leave it up to chance. Arm yourself with the knowledge and strategies you need to secure an agent that’s the perfect fit for you and your dream home.
Featured image by Beglen/Flickr