When buying or selling a house, finding a qualified and experienced real estate agent to work with is perhaps the most important decision you'll make throughout the entire process. Your real estate agent will be your business partner for the coming months, instructing you on how to navigate the market, negotiate, and ultimately get a great deal.
Finding an agent with specific expertise in your local market is extremely important: housing values, buyer preferences, and legal regulations can all differ greatly from city to city. In order to make things go as smoothly as possible, you'll want to find someone who knows your area like the back of their hand. This will ensure they know how to cater their services to your specific needs.
Choosing an agent is not a decision that should be taken lightly: finding a good realtor can set you up for success, while working with a bad one will often lead to pretty poor results. It's for this reason that we've outlined five tips for finding the best realtor in your area to ensure the success of your home buying or selling endeavors.
1. Get References and Referrals
When you consider purchasing a product or paying for a service, you likely seek out reviews or references. Vetting a real estate agent should be no different: you'll want to find someone that's built up a solid reputation in your locality.
One way to do this is by asking friends, family, and neighbors in your area who recently bought or sold houses about their experiences with their real estate agents. This can get you some good leads to follow up on and help you fruitfully begin your search. Getting a recommendation from a trusted source is a very good indicator of the realtor's quality.
Once you've gotten in touch with a real estate agent, be sure to ask them for the contact information of some of their recent clients. This will allow you to get firsthand accounts of the experiences buyers and sellers have had working with the agent you're looking into.
2. Meet Face-to-face
Sometimes people just click. This is no different with a real estate agent. Since you'll be working closely with your realtor, it's important that you're comfortable with them and feel like they're someone you can trust.
If you get the wrong vibe from an agent — even if you can't put your finger on why — working with them is likely not a good idea. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut. Going against your instincts and entering a business relationship with someone you don't feel right about is a recipe for a very unpleasant and potentially disastrous experience.
3. Make Sure They Have the Proper Credentials
There are a number of different certifications that real estate agents can obtain, so it's wise to pick one that's knowledgeable in an area relevant to you. For example, senior citizens may want to work with an SRES, or Senior Real Estate Specialist. Agents with this certification have completed courses focused on helping buyers and sellers aged 50 years and older navigate the real estate market.
Other certifications you may come across include CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), which is someone specialized in residential real estate, and SRS (Seller Representative Specialist), which means an agent has studied how to best represent sellers in real estate transactions. Realtors with a capital “R” in their titles are associated with the NAR, the National Association of Realtors.
4. Look Through Their Current Listings
A real estate agent's current performance is one of the best indicators as to what approach they'll take when trying to sell your house or find you a new one to live in. An easy way to look into this is to simply Google their name or find their agency online. You should be able to find a few of their current listings pretty easily.
Once you've looked through a few of their listings, you can start to form some impressions about them. Do you like how they market their properties? Are the listings good quality, with professional photographs and well-written descriptions? Does it seem like they do a lot of business in your area?
Ideally, you'll want an agent who has a good amount of clients, but isn't so overwhelmed that they'll be difficult to reach. You'll also want someone who is experienced with houses in your target price range and in your locality.
5. Find Someone Who Knows the Local Market
This is perhaps the largest factor in a real estate agent's performance. Without knowing the local market, realtors won't be able to accurately price a house, explain to you the local regulations, and know what features make houses stand out in the area. What's more: real estate agents that don't normally operate within your city or neighborhood won't have the wealth of professional connections to draw upon — this can greatly affect the success of your home sale or purchase.
Before deciding on a real estate agent, be sure to ask them what their experience in your target market is. A solid number of current listings and good references in the area are usually good signs that they know what they're doing.
In the end, the most important thing is to find a real estate agent that you can trust. Clever Partner Agents are all highly reputable, top-rated, board-certified real estate agents from major brands like Century 21, Keller Williams, and RE/MAXX. Partner Agents will help guide you through the often confusing home buying or selling process at a fraction of the cost of other agents.
While most agents charge 3% in commissions, sellers working with Clever Partner agents can list and sell their home for just $3,000 or 1% of closing prices over $350,000. Buyers working with Partner Agents are also eligible for a $1,000 home buyer rebate in 40 states.
To start the home selling process on the right foot, just fill out our form and we'll get you in touch with one of our top-notch agents.
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