Tips for Choosing 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?
Experience in the Industry
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 take note of the difference between a part-time agent and one who’s in the job full-time. 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.
Locations and Property Types
Neighborhood markets can have unique quirks, so you have to choose an agent who has expertise in your target area, whether you’ll be buying or selling property. There are also property types that need a particular specialty, like historic homes requiring agents to be knowledge about probable restrictions. If this will be your first home purchase, pick an agent who usually works newbie buyers like you and can patiently guide you from start to end.
A communication gap of only a few hours can mean the difference between a great deal and a wasted opportunity. Therefore, go with an agent who is prompt in returning your calls, texts or emails.
Interviewing potential agents is always a good idea, and so is talking to buyers and sellers they’ve worked with in the past.
This eliminates the self-promotion that business people often need to do, and will provide a clear picture of your potential relationship with the agent. At the same time, you also want to know what percentage of their business comes 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.
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, 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.
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 so many agents nowadays and they have varying styles and personalities; take time to find the right one for you.