The ideal agent is not always the one with the most sales under his or her belt or the most years on the job. The ideal agent is one who listens to you, is easy to get along with, and has the tools and skills to address your unique situation.
Every home buyer is different. Some have credit issues. Some are buying from out of state. Some need help selling their current home in addition to buying a new one. Just as buyers have different needs, real estate agents have different skills and specialties. It’s important to make an informed decision when working with a real estate agent. Along these lines, it can be difficult to define who the “right” real estate agent is for you.
Here’s how to find an agent who’s right for you:
1. Ask friends and family for agent referrals.
Nobody knows you as well as your friends and family do. They’re often in the best position to recommend an agent who is well-suited for your needs. You can also trust a referral from someone you know, rather than taking the word of a stranger.
2. Talk to multiple agents.
You don’t have to exhaust yourself interviewing agent after agent, but at least talk with two or three to see who you’re most comfortable with. Don’t just rush into things without shopping around first, make sure that who you’re trusting in your home buying process is someone you have confidence in (which leads to the next point).
3. Consider the vibe factor.
Professional expertise is an important box to check when choosing a real estate agent, but interpersonal skills are equally important. After all, you’ll be working with this person anywhere from 2 to 12 months, so it helps to get along with them. We all have unique personalities, and that’s the way it should be. But when working with someone professionally, it helps if their personality can “mesh” well with your own.
4. Ask how they hunt.
When deciding on a real estate agent, ask how they search for homes. Some agents have preferred listings that they favor. You want what’s best for you, not what’s best for your agent. Make sure the agent is willing to search high and low to find the best home for you. That includes using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as well as their own personal network.
5. Read the paperwork carefully.
This advice is heavily used for a reason. You must examine all documents during the home buying process, and that includes your agent agreement. At some point during the relationship, your agent will probably ask you to sign an agent agreement. It simply means that if the agent shows you a particular property, your purchase of the property should be credited to that agent. In most cases, it’s a simple, standard document but it doesn’t hurt to read it carefully and ask questions.
Buying a home is an exciting tedious process that almost everyone will go through. It can be stressful at times but having the right real estate agent in the passenger seat with you can help alleviate the pressure on your shoulders. Home buying is a milestone in life that should be celebrated, rather than worrying about things that a real estate agent could be taking care of for you.