If you are buying a home, choosing a real estate agent may be the most important decision you make. A good real estate agent can help ensure that you are notified of homes that meet all your criteria. A good agent will also answer your questions and will walk you through the buying process, which is an invaluable service for first-time homebuyers. Despite all this, most buyers choose their agent in a completely haphazard way, simply falling into a relationship with the first real estate agent they encounter. A much better strategy is to do some sleuthing to uncover the agent who will truly help you find that perfect property. You can find the right professional by:
1) Interviewing candidates. It may seem like a lot of work, but comparing different real estate agents from different agencies can quickly show you which agents you respond best to and which ones seem to offer the best service. Interviews also allow you to assess experience, education, and other factors important in a good real estate agent.
2) Checking qualifications and sales. Look for a real estate agent who has some experience and has been on the job long enough to have expertise in the area. Ideally, you want someone who has worked as an agent for years in the same area and has an impressive sales record. In every community, you will generally find a few agents who perform very well because they know what they are doing and are good at what they do. Look for these agents and check to make sure that no complaints have been filed about them with the State Board of Realtors.
3) Lining up personalities. Buying real estate is highly emotional, so it is important to find someone you are compatible with. Look for a real estate agent you can really communicate with. If your personalities do not match, you may feel that your real estate agent is not doing enough for you and your real estate agent may get frustrated that you are not placing any bids. Find someone that registers a high comfort level with you and you can avoid these problems.
4) Making sure that your real estate agent is creative. Your agent will use the Multiple Listing Service (M.L.S.) to find homes, but he or she should also use their knowledge, contacts and experience to find homes that match your needs. You don’t want someone who can simply run simplistic searches you can run yourself from home.
5) Ensuring that your agent knows the area. A real estate agent who knows the area where you hope to buy can help you understand what is available and at what prices.
6) Checking customer service before you enter into a relationship. Real estate agents are busy people, but they should still be able to offer you good care. Your phone calls should be returned, your concerns should be addressed and you should be able to contact your real estate agent when you need to. If your agent uses an assistant, you need to ensure that it is the real estate agent themselves who will handle all work with contracts as well as the closing. That is what you are paying your real estate agent for. Stay away from agents who seem distracted, disorganized, and are not able to interact with you personally. You may find that your home buying experience suffers with these sort of agents.
The good news is that there are plenty of terrific, highly qualified real estate agents out there. Now that you know what to look for, you can hunt them up and have superlative help when it is time for you to buy property.