Whether you’re buying or selling a property, a quality real estate agent is vital to make the process run smoothly. Seek out an agent with excellent credentials and references. Meet with a handful of agents to make sure any questions you have are answered. Watch out for potential red flags. Agents who charge very low costs or only work part-time may not be reliable.
EditFinding an Agent with the Right Credentials
- Look for someone with at least five years experience. The longer a real estate agent has been in business, the better. When reviewing an agent’s credentials, look for someone who’s been operating for at least five years. Five years experience means an agent likely has a good feel of the real estate world and can help find you the best deals.
- However, there are no hard and fast rules here. An agent with less experience who exceeds other expectations may be a decent choice.
- Find someone who works in your area. The agent you work with should have many properties in the area you’re looking to buy or sell. Agents who work in your area will be aware of the best neighborhoods and trends regarding prices. A local agent will also know small details, like where the best schools are, commute times, and so on.
- Check the agent’s license. Obviously, you want an agent who’s operating legally. Every state should have a list of licensed agents online. While making a list of agents to contact, check to ensure every agent you interview has a legal license to buy and sell real estate in your state.
- Look for agents with awards and honors. Check a real estate’s website and resume for awards, honors, and other signs of recognition. Things like a “Realtor of the Year” award are a sign of a quality agent who’s more than likely to exceed your personal needs.
- Ask friends and family members for referrals. If you know someone who recently bought or sold a home, reach out to them. Friends and family members are likely to give you honest assessments of their experience with a particular agent.
- However, do not simply go with an agent because a friend or family member recommended them. Needs in real estate are somewhat subjective and someone who met a friend’s needs may not necessarily meet yours.
EditInterviewing Real Estate Agents
- Ask how long they’ve been in business. When interviewing a real estate agent, one of the first questions to ask is how long they’ve been operating. They should be able to answer the question quickly and accurately. Remember, while five years of experience is ideal, someone with less experience but who otherwise meets your needs may also work.
- Also, ask how long the agent’s been working in your area. An agent with extensive experience may not be the best choice if they’ve only been buying and selling in your area for a few years.
- See if they work alone or in a team. Standalone agents can work, especially if they have strong credentials. However, teamwork is always a plus. Agents who work in a team are able to respond quicker and are available more often.
- Ask about any planned vacations. Real estate often requires quick action and response time. If a realtor has a vacation planned soon, you need to see whether this will affect you buying or selling a property. If an agent is planning a vacation in the near future, make sure they have someone to help you out in their absence.
- Ask about their properties. In addition to looking at current properties online, have the agent show you several properties they’re selling. Make sure these properties are similar to what you’re looking to buy or sell. It’s vital to pick an agent who works with the right properties for your needs.
- You should also pay attention to presentation online. The properties should be presented in a clear, concise manner and the website should be easy to navigate. This ensures customers will be enticed enough by the website to invest in a property there.
- Contact their recent clients. Ask for a list of references after meeting with an agent. A quality agent will not hesitate to hand you a list of recent clients for you to call to ask about their experience. Call a few references for every agent you interview to make sure they have stellar reviews.
- Ask about any hesitations the person has recommending the agent as well. This way, you’ll get a sense if the agent has any major flaws that would be a deal breaker for you.
- Make sure you get along with the agent. Chemistry is important in real estate. If you’re working with someone who you don’t get along with, this can cause unnecessary tension during an already stressful process. Make sure you click with the agent and feel comfortable in their presence.
EditWatching for Red Flags
- Avoid agents who only work part-time. A good real estate agent considers their work a full-time job. In general, you want an agent who is not doing real estate on the side. This way, they will be completely committed to getting their clients the best deal possible.
- Stay away from agents who don’t know the area. If an agent does not work in your area, or cannot readily provide information about the area, this is a bad sign. A quality agent should be able to quickly rattle off things like neighborhoods, general price ranges, nearby businesses, and so on. If an agent cannot provide many specific details about an area, work with someone else.
- Do not be tempted by lower costs. When it comes to real estate, you can expect to get what you pay for. Quality agents charge a commission between five and seven percent. Agents who charge lower commission may not be as adept at finding the best deals.
- When buying, you can always negotiate a lower commission later on.
- Does the real estate agent have an assistant? An agent who can focus on your needs and desires instead of the paperwork can be really helpful, especially to a first-time home buyer.
- Know when to Reopen an Estate
- Use a Simple Interest Calculator to Find Your Payment Amount
- Make a Fortune in Today’s Real Estate Market
- Prepay Your Mortgage