Whether you are buying or selling a home, the right realtor can offer guidance and simplify an otherwise stressful process. But with so many real estate agents out there, how do you choose the right one?
While credibility and experience play valuable roles in selecting a realtor, personal connection is a crucial component as well. There are, however, a few steps you can take to ensure the agent you choose is the right one for you.
Do Your Research
You have three very important resources: your friends, family and the internet. When searching for a good realtor, utilize your friends and family as a primary source for recommendations; any positive referrals coming from people you trust is worthy of consideration.
Additionally, gather information on local real estate agents online. Read reviews, but always with discretion, as these sources are not always reliable. Consider agents with a strong online presence, a healthy number of listings and look for:
- Licensing information to ensure he or she is properly licensed and no complaints have been formally made against him or her.
- Peer-given awards as an indication of high esteem and credibility.
- Credentials that match your needs such as: CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative) or SRES (Seniors Real Estate Agent).
After your research, create a list of at least three realtors with worthy reviews and credentials (source).
Interview Multiple Agents
You wouldn’t hire an employee without meeting them or considering their credentials, which is why hiring a realtor should be no different. Make appointments to meet with your prospective realtors and bring along a list of questions.
Remember, while the questions you ask are important, your overall impression of the agent is equally important; a realtor with excellent credentials who you don’t particularly enjoy speaking with will certainly dampen your buying or selling experience.
Ask the Right Questions
Knowing what to ask during your interviews is essential to choosing the best realtor. Here are some important questions:
What kind of property do you specialize in? The right realtor will specialize in the type of property you are buying or selling, such as single-family homes or condos.
How many listings do you have? While many listings can indicate healthy business, it may also foreshadow less attention than you require.
How many homes have you sold in this area? Your ideal realtor will also specialize in your buying or selling location. Be wary of realtors who don’t have significant experience in your neighborhood.
Can you tell me about other properties listed for sale in this area? Whether buying or selling, your realtor should know the real estate listings in your area off the top of his or her head. Beyond this, your realtor should also be able to tell you about the schools in the area, what the morning commute is like—as well as any up and coming neighborhood changes.
How often will you communicate with me? How will you communicate? When working with a realtor, will you prefer constant updates via text message? Or perhaps daily overviews sent to your email? Communication is the most important facet of your relationship with your realtor, so it’s important to reach an understanding early on.
How will you market my home? Who should the target buyer be? If you are selling your home, your agent should have a clear idea of the ideal buyers and how to reach them.
How often will you send me listings? Have you worked with other buyers in my situation? If you are buying a home, it is similarly imperative that your realtor has extensive experience with your buying needs and you agree on terms and expectations.
How high should my asking price be? Each realtor’s asking price should be about same. A real estate agent who suggests a significantly higher price is a red flag.
After Your Interviews
After speaking with each prospective realtor, ask for a list of the homes they sold in the past year, along with the clients’ contact information for references.
Reach out to the list of contacts, asking for their personal experience and satisfaction with your prospective realtor.
Realtor Red Flags
While choosing the right agent relies heavily on both credentials and chemistry, there are several red flags that indicate a real estate agent should not be hired. These warning signs include:
- An agent who only works in real estate part-time
- He or she doesn’t typically work with your property type or within your price range
- Any indication of unfamiliarity with neighboring real estate listings
Each of these red flags suggest a lack of commitment.
Selling a Home?
With help from the right realtor, selling your home can become a much more simplified process. That being said, there are still time-consuming—and sometimes expensive—steps to take with a realtor (source), including:
- Home repairs
- House showings
- At least three months of selling time
- Standard 6% commission
- Closing costs
If you want to sell your home quickly—without any of these consuming steps, there is another option: GWG Properties will purchase your home quickly, regardless of its condition.
If you wish to sell your home and move on quickly, contact GWG Properties today for a free consultation.