How To Choose the Right Realtor
Whether you are selling or buying a house, you are in for a very stressful but also exciting experience. To minimize the amount of pressure put on them, many people decide to hire a real estate agent instead of doing all the work themselves. In fact, according to a statistic provided by the National Association of Realtors, almost 90% of sellers and buyers did so through a real estate agent or broker.
However, because of how common it is to work with realtors, plenty of people decide to pursue this career, meaning there are hundreds of real estate agents you can choose from. This poses a question – How can I choose the right one? If you are also pondering upon this, then this article is for you.
Below, you will find some tips on how to choose the right real estate agent so that the process of buying or selling your home won’t be as challenging as it would be if you were doing it on your own. So let’s jump right into it.
What Should You Look for In a Real Estate Agent?
Before we dive into how to look for the right real estate agent, let’s take a moment to go over things that you should consider when thinking about hiring a realtor.
License and Certificates
Now, don’t get us wrong – the person you choose doesn’t have to have every certificate under the sun. However, they should be licensed as a real estate agent in your state, and ideally, they should also be a realtor.
You might be wondering – Aren’t these the same thing? Not really. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and they have to adhere to a strict code of ethics, no matter if their clients want to purchase Queens, NY homes or sell their Los Angeles apartments.
If, for example, you are looking for the right real estate agent for your parents or grandparents, then you might want to look for a senior real estate specialist – such a person completed courses to make the process of selling or buying a house easier for senior citizens.
This is especially important if you’re a first-time buyer or seller – since you’ve never done it before, you probably want to work with someone that has done it at least a few times so that they can smoothly get you through the process. In most cases, you should find this information online as most real estate agents will quickly emphasize their experience on their websites and other marketing materials.
Knowledge of the Local Market
Finally, you should choose someone who knows the local market and what techniques will work best to achieve the desired effect – especially since those will differ depending on whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market.
The right real estate agent should be available when you need them. However, don’t be mistaken – they don’t have to be at your service 24/7. It’s more about being able to adjust meetings and presentations to your schedule.
While we’re not saying that a real estate agent working part-time won’t be able to do it, it’s usually easier for those working full-time, so that’s something that you also should take into consideration when choosing your agent.
How to Choose the Right Realtor?
Now that you know what you should look for when choosing a realtor, let’s move on to how you can find the right one. After all, there are so many people working in this profession that making a choice can, without a doubt, be a challenge. Well, you can start by using some of our tips.
Ask Your Friends and Family for Referral
Sometimes the easiest way of finding the best choice is simply asking people who needed such services not so long ago – usually, they will recommend a good real estate agent that will make the process of buying or selling a home a piece of cake. And even if the experience they had with theirs wasn’t the best, they will tell you who to avoid.
Do Your Own Research
If you asked everyone you know, and no one could recommend a good real estate agent, or you didn’t ask at all, it’s time to take the matter into your own hands and do your own research. Thankfully, thanks to technology and information available on the internet, it is not that hard.
The first thing you should do is look for online reviews. However, please don’t limit yourself to the agent’s website because you will most likely only find positive reviews, which will not give you a real impression, but rather show you them in a way they want to be seen. Instead, try looking for reviews on other websites or online forums. Great sources of this type of information are also on social media – trust us, if someone is less than satisfied with someone’s services, they will surely share it there.
Check Out the Local Housing Market by Yourself
Another way you can find your potential real estate agent is by driving or walking through your neighborhood or an area in the city with many houses for sale. Some of the surnames are bound to be repeated, and even if they aren’t, it will give you a list of names that you can then research on your own.
Interview the Potential Choices
Once you’re done with your research, and you decide upon a few people that could potentially be a good choice, you can work on contacting them and setting up an interview – keep in mind that this is a standard part of a hiring process, so the real estate agent shouldn’t have any issues with answering your questions. However, if they do, consider it a red flag and find someone else.
If you aren’t sure what kind of questions you should ask during such an interview, we gathered some of the most helpful ones:
- How many years have you worked in the real estate industry?
- Is there anything that sets you apart from other real estate agents/realtors?
- How do you plan on finding properties that meet my expectations and needs?
- How do you plan on marketing the property I have for sale?
- How does your commission work? What’s the average you charge for a transaction?
- If I’m not satisfied with the services I receive, how can I terminate the contract?
To increase your chances of finding a suitable candidate, invite at least three agents to the interview. Also, don’t hide what you need. For example, if you want to buy a new property because you got a new job, and need it rather fast, be open about it – it will give the candidates an idea about what they will be dealing with.
Ask for References
During the interview, you can ask the real estate agents to provide you with information about the homes they sold or helped buy for their clients and contact information to some of them. Then, once you receive it, you can call or send an email to those people, asking about their experience with the real estate agent, what kind of support they provided throughout the whole process, and whether they would hire that agent for their next real estate transaction.
Go to Open Houses
Before you decide, or even before you schedule an interview with the real estate agent, go to an open house hosted by them. It will allow you to see how they communicate with potential clients and present the property they are trying to sell.
Trust Your Gut
While knowledge and experience are important, you also need to consider how comfortable you feel with those you interviewed and whether you trust them. After all, you might encounter some problems along the way.
Although it might sound silly, choosing the right agent is similar to dating – if there’s no ‘chemistry’ between you and them, you don’t vibe with that person, then don’t go for them, even if they seem to have all the other necessary qualities. Remember – there are plenty of real estate agents that will be a great choice and are a better personality match.
Thinking About Buying/Selling a House Without a Realtor? Think Again!
More and more people consider either selling or buying a property without a real estate agent or a realtor. However, that’s not a really good idea. Let us tell you why.
Buying a Property Without an Agent
First of all, when you are trying to buy a house by yourself, the sellers might not be as willing to meet up and show you the house. While this shouldn’t be a problem if you know the seller, in most cases having a real estate agent improves your credibility and trust and makes the owners more willing to show you around.
Secondly, not everyone feels comfortable negotiating prices. However, a great real estate agent can usually work their magic and get you what you want – especially if the house you are considering buying has some damages that you would prefer to be repaired by the owners.
Real estate agents have access to a part of the real estate market that isn’t available to just everyone – for example, those properties that aren’t listed on traditional channels. Also, by not hiring an agent to help you buy a house, you might be missing out on homes that you haven’t even thought about at first – for example, in a different neighborhood.
Last but not least, thanks to their knowledge and experience, a real estate agent can accurately determine whether the price the owners are asking for is adequate to the house’s condition and location.
Selling a House Without a Real Estate Agent
Let’s be honest – selling a house is a full-time job. After all, you have to put up ads, organize an open house, show the potential buyers the property, and so on. Most people don’t have time for it. By hiring a real estate agent, you don’t have to worry about that, as all these responsibilities fall on them.
What’s more, real estate agents understand the contracts and documents needed to close a house, which can get quite complicated – especially since there are plenty of state and federal regulations that need to be met.
Lastly, agents have a better understanding of pricing – after all, they know the local market best. So they will be able to accurately price your house, taking into consideration things like its location (particularly the neighborhood) or condition (whether any repairs need to be done).
The Bottom Line
Selling or buying a property can be, without a doubt, very stressful. After all, there’s just so much to do – going to open houses, showing the potential buyers your property, or getting all the necessary documents ready are just a few things that need to be done. And if you have a full-time job, the task is twice as difficult. That’s exactly why you should hire a realtor to help you through the whole process – they’ll take some of the responsibilities off your shoulders.
However, with so many people working in this profession, choosing the right one can be challenging. After all, everyone claims to be the best and has only your best interests in mind. Well, that’s something we hope you learned while reading this article.
Remember – don’t make a rushed decision. Trust us; nothing will happen if you delay your decision by a day or two to sleep on your choices. However, if you do it hastily, you might end up with a real estate agent that will make the process of buying or selling a house even more irksome than it already is.
So – ask your friends and family for a referral, do your own research, visit open houses, interview the potential choices, and trust your gut – and you should have no problem finding a great realtor. Good luck!
Thank you for reading!