How to Pick 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?
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 keep in mind the difference between a part-time agent and a full-time agent. Definitely, you can receive from the latter a level of service that the former cannot match. This is one very logical expectation.
Areas 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. Some property types also need a certain specialty, such as historic homes requiring an agent who knows about potential 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. 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 removes the self-promotion that all business people have to do, and will give you an accurate idea of what’s it’s like to work 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.
Buyers don’t pay commissions directly in most cases, but sellers do and how much you have to pay will be different from agent to agent. 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 cheap, make sure the quality of their services will not suffer.
These considerations are all useful as you look for an agent, but your instincts should still rule in the end. There are so many agents nowadays and they have varying styles and personalities; take time to find the right one for you.