Choosing A Great Real Estate Agent-How To Find: Advice For Buyers and Sellers
Buy or Sell Your House Today!
Find the Right Person for Your Very Important Purchase or Sale
So how do you find a great real estate agent? How do choose that person who will work with you (and your significant other) to buy or sell your home? There are a number of tips that I will share that are based on our last experience selecting a real estate agent.
How can I find a real estate agent:
- I like to get referrals from friends or relatives. If you know someone who has recently purchased a home or condo, or sold some property ask them if they were satisified with their agent. If they were, arrange to meet this person and ask some questions.
- You can easily find a real estate agent online (or if you still are hanging on to the 20th century, in a phonebook), but ultimately you want to meet someone and perhaps even go to a couple showings before you sign exclusive rights to them.
- Call on the telephone or stop into a real estate office. The only problem with this is that great agents might not be the ones hanging around the office trying to catch walk-ins. They might be the ones always on their way to another successful showing.
What to look for in a real estate agent (for buyers and sellers):
- They must know your area -- city, town, region. It seems obvious, but if your dream house is downwind from the dump, maybe it's not worth looking at. If they don't know your town all that well, and they are an amazing agent, they should be eagerly exploring that area, and must stay ahead of you with research. I prefer to find someone who knows the area like a local!
- They must continually provide you with new ideas in your price range. If your agent wants you to find all of the houses online yourself or with Sunday drive-bys, and then they will arrange the showings: They are L-A-Z-Y! Find someone else...
- They need to not try to encourage offers. Great agents know that once you are happy in your search, (or with an offer) they will make a sale. If they look at each showing as clock time, bad agents will make you feel that you have looked at so many houses that you owe it to them to offer to buy something soon... Warning flag! What you want is an agent who understands that some people see five houses or condos, and make an offer to buy one of them; others see 100 houses or more before they submit an offer. The agent will make a living as all his clients needs average out. Some deals are quick, some aren't-- please don't pressure us!
- Real Estate Agent Honesty. Obviously, this is huge, but if they think a house is awful (i.e.,"really sucks') they should have the integrity to tell you! Our agent when asked directly his opinion about house we thought we wanted said: "remember you have to live in this piece of $%#$%$". I respected him so much for that honesty! He could have just pushed for the sale to go through and take his commission...
- Communication: I think you need a great communicator who is also a good person, has a decent personality, and sense of humor. Remember you will see a lot of this person during your search (or home sale) - it could take months. You will call them often and you want to know that spending time looking for a house with them is not a chore, but fun for you (and your significant other!) If you're selling they must understand your needs, your range of price, and your schedule. They must respond in a reasonable amount of time to calls, emails, texts or whatever mode of communication that you're using.
- Make sure you have an agent that listens to both of you! An agent that YOU like, that ignores your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend is sure to get dropped soon! It's rude and it's a bad idea... It's too big of a purchase to play games.
- You need someone who is not afraid to give you new ideas. Where to look, how to sell, where to find a home inspector, real estate attorney... How to increase the value, how to negotiate better. (Ideas and referrals can be useful as long as they are not pushy!) It is still probably best to use outside referrals (back to your friends and relatives) for most of these, but a helpful agent is a very good sign.
Hope that helps!