Whether you're interested in buying your first home or you're considering selling a property that belongs to you, you need the right real estate agent for the job. Real estate agents are pricing experts: you won't get a better idea of what a property is worth than you will from a local real estate agent. They also have fantastic negotiating skills that they'll bring to bear on your behalf, whether trying to talk a seller into covering closing costs or trying to get the best possible price out of your property. How do you find the best real estate agent for you?
1. Experience speaks for itself.
Take a look at the real estate agent's past successes. Does the agent have a high success rate? Does the agent tend to be better at buying properties or selling them? Look for an agent who has experience buying or selling the type of property you're interested in. A commercial real estate agent, for example, may not have the experience needed to help you find and purchase a home, not to mention having access to fewer properties.
2. Reviews matter.
Before you choose a real estate agent, take the time to look at reviews. Ideally, you'd like to hear reviews from a friend or family member who has used a given real estate agent in the past: someone who can tell you exactly what to expect from a specific agent. If you can't get a personal review, check out the real estate agent's social media page and Google My Business listing. Don't just look at the average star rating; instead, take the time to read both some of the highest reviews and some of the lowest reviews to get a better idea of exactly what it will be like to deal with the agent.
3. Ask the right questions.
You don't have to go with the first real estate agent you speak to--and, in fact, you may not want to. Instead, take the time to interview the real estate agent before you make a final decision. Ask questions like:
How many properties or clients are you currently working with? While the number of clients an agent can work with will vary based on whether they are full or part time, the geographic area they cover (it's easier to cover more properties in a city than in a sprawling urban town), and their personal ability to handle the workload, you want to know that your real estate agent has the time and ability to focus on you.
How long have you been working as a real estate agent? Does the agent you're considering have plenty of connections in the local area? Do they have plenty of properties to show you? This might, for example, include local vendors, including home inspectors, movers, and more. An inexperienced agent, on the other hand, may not have those important connections.
How do you choose to communicate with your clients? Carefully consider how--and how often--you prefer to receive communications. Do you want your real estate agent to check in regularly even if there's nothing to report? Do you prefer phone calls, or are you happier with text messages that you can answer when it's convenient for you?
Do you have experience with situations like mine? Has the real estate agent worked with other customers who are looking for the type of property you need? What about the size home you need, or your timeline? By working with a real estate agent experienced in exactly your needs, you can increase the odds that they'll find a property that's just right for you.
Finding a real estate agent doesn't have to be a difficult process.