The right real estate agent can make all the difference in your home search. Reliable representation can get you into the right home at the right price, whereas a passive agent can leave you waiting and wondering when you’ll finally be able to make a move. When you need to know how to choose a realtor, consider the following:
- References — Talk with recent clients. A successful real estate agent should have a strong list of references. Take advantage of it. Ask these recent clients about the agent’s communication style, how they felt about the process, and whether or not they felt properly represented. Two things will be key: accessibility and persistence. Make sure you can reach your agent when you need to reach him — time is of the essence when you identify the right home. And make sure your agent is willing to do whatever it takes to make the right deal happen.
- Experience — How long has the prospective agent been in business? And how long have they worked specifically in this market? There’s nothing wrong with new talent, but there’s no replacement for a deep knowledge of the process and market — traits that can only develop over many years of work. Also be wary of individuals who do real estate as a part-time gig. Many see real estate as a way to supplement their income, but these moonlighting agents don’t always have the time and experience needed to do an outstanding job for you.
- Licensing and credentials — Check with your state’s real estate licensing board to make sure your agent is in good standing. Many agents also have credentials that can provide greater insight into their experience and areas of specialization. If they have letters behind their names, check to see what they stand for and what they might mean as far as skills and additional education.
- Commission — It’s important to know how much representation will cost going into the engagement. While you can sometimes negotiate a lower rate, stay away from agents who quote the smallest commission — this could be a sign of inexperience or previous struggles in securing clients. Also ask how much an agent thinks your home is worth. If they quote a price higher than any others have quoted, they may be inflating their estimate to garner your business.
- Listings — Take a look at a prospective agent’s current listings. It’s helpful to find an agent who works in the areas where you’re buying or selling homes and who works with properties similar to yours. Also check to see how long the homes they are selling have been on the market. It’s not always an agent’s fault if a house lingers without selling, but it might indicate an inability to counsel clients to lower a price from an unrealistic expectation.
How do you choose between real estate agents? Well, you wouldn’t buy a home without first researching it, and you shouldn’t hire a real estate agent without first researching him or her. Finding strong representation is key to a satisfying, successful home search. Due diligence can lead you to the right real estate, and the right agent can lead you to the perfect home. Contact Century 21 Core Partners today, and learn more about our experienced team of agents.