Tips for Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling property, a real estate agent will be able to provide valuable help. But how should you pick one?
You don’t only want to know how long the agent has been in the business, but how many buyers they work with whose needs are similar to yours. Also keep in mind the difference between a part-time agent and a full-time agent. Certainly, the latter will be able to provide a level of service that may not be possible with the former. This is a very natural expectation.
Areas and Types of Properties
As neighborhood markets vary significantly, it’s a must to choose an agent who is an expert in the location where you want to buy or sell property. Some properties may also need a specific specialty, like historic homes that require an agent who is knowledgeable about unique challenges and likely restrictions. If you’re buying a home for the first time, go with an agent who typically works with newbie buyers and can help you through the process as patiently as possible.
A communication gap that spans mere hours can mean the difference between an excellent deal and an opportunity thrown down the drain. Hence, pick an agent who returns your calls, texts or emails in a timely manner.
Interviewing potential agents is always a good idea, and so is talking to buyers and sellers they’ve worked with in the past.
This gets rid of the self-promotion business people are obliged to do, and offers a clear idea of how your relationship with the agent will likely play out. You also want to know how much of their business is sourced from referrals or repeat business. If the agent usually works on referrals or repeat business, that’s a sign that they’re doing something great.
Buyers usually don’t pay commission directly, but sellers generally do and the costs can be different from one agent to the next. In any case, always ask for a breakdown of your estimated closing costs. If it fits your market, agents may throw in staging for free or shoulder your moving expenses, but be sure to compare apples to apples. If an agent charges less, make sure the services will not be compromised in exchange for the lower commission.
These considerations are all useful as you look for an agent, but your instincts should still rule in the end. There are many agents today with different personalities and professional styles, but you have to find the one whom you feel is just right for you.