How to Pick a Real Estate Agent
Whether you’re planning on selling or buying property, having a real estate by your side is wise. But how do you choose the right one?
Aside from how long they’ve been part of the real estate industry, you should ask how much specific experience they have with clients having needs that are similar to yours. Take note of the difference between part-time and full-time agents as well. Definitely, you can receive from the latter a level of service that the former cannot match. It’s the most natural thing to expect.
Areas and Types of Properties
Since neighborhood markets can be very unique, it’s important to pick an agent who is an expert in the area where you plan 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 removes the self-promotion that all business people have to do, and will give you an accurate idea of what’s it’s like to work with the agent. You also want to know how much of their business is sourced from referrals or repeat business. If an agent works for a company that thrives mainly on repeat business or referrals, this can mean that their clients are satisfied wit their work.
Usually, buyers don’t pay commissions directly, but sellers do, and their actual costs can vary sidely from one agent to another. In any case, make sure to request a breakdown of 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.
The above considerations can be helpful in your search for an agent, but in the end, you have to listen to your gut. There are a lot of agents these days having different styles and personalities, but you have to find the one who’s just perfect for you.