How to Pick a Real Estate Agent
Whether you intend to buy or sell property, a real estate agent can guide you through the process. 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. Take note of the difference between part-time and full-time agents as well. Surely, the latter will be able to provide a level of service that the former cannot. It’s the most natural thing to expect.
Locations and Property Types
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. There are also property types that need a particular specialty, like historic homes requiring agents to be knowledge about probable 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 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 they generally work with referrals or repeat business, that means their clients were satisfied.
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.
These considerations can help you understand an agent’s process and personality, but in the end, it’s good to depend on your instincts when choosing the right one for you. 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.