You’ve made up your mind, you’re ready to buy or sell a home. But where do you start?
First up on your checklist is finding a Realtor®. But not just anybody, you need to find the Realtor that’s right for you. After all, this person is going to be your biggest ally, your confidant and your self-appointed BFF throughout the home buying process. Choose wisely.
Why do you need a real estate agent?
Sure, you have the option to buy or sell a home without the assistance of a licensed Realtor, but this isn’t your parent’s housing market. Thanks to the vast amount of information available to you via the Internet, you can search for homes while simultaneously binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. So why even search for and hire an agent to help with your real estate transaction?
The answer is simple. A Realtor is your trusted advisor, your advocate and your expert. You’re going to be navigating uncharted waters, and a Realtor can walk you through the process to ensure you don’t skip over necessary steps. They will help reduce any risk you face, help carry the load by setting up inspections and recommending experts, and will help if the process goes off course.
Did you know that Realtors have access to listings before they hit the Internet? What buyer doesn’t want that inside scoop and what seller doesn’t want their home in front of buyers sooner?
When it comes time to close on your first home, your Realtor–who’s certainly no stranger to the negotiation process–will work hard to get the best terms to meet your needs.
When to find a real estate agent
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? No one knows!
When it comes to anything related to homeownership, it’s a good rule of thumb to consult your Realtor first.
You need to find an agent before you begin window shopping for homes on your own. You don’t want to fall in love with homes you can’t afford, right? Your real estate agent will help you determine how much home you can afford based off your budget and and can help you become pre-approved before you start your home search.
Likewise, your Realtor will help keep you up to date with average listing prices, average selling prices and how quickly properties are selling in your neighborhood. You’ll also want their expert opinion before making any costly upgrades to your home before listing it to sell.
How do I find a real estate agent in my area?
The first step toward a successful real estate transaction is knowing you need a Realtor. And since we’ve established why you do, you can check that off your to-do list.
Here are some reliable sources for when it comes to finding a real estate agent in your area:
Ask your friends
If your friends just bought or sold a house ask them who their Realtor was. But don’t stop once you get a name, ask if they were satisfied with their Realtor and whether or not they’d recommend them to others.
Once you have that recommendation, Google the Realtor and do some more homework. Read reviews then check out their website and bio. See what their social media profiles tell you about their personality and professionalism.
If you’re searching for real estate online and come across a home you’re interested in, check to see who the listing agent is. Peruse their website, read online reviews and give them a call if you like what you see.
Social media can be a great way to find the Realtor that’s right for you. Use hashtags to search for a #realtor if your #specific location.
How to interview a Realtor
Next on the to do list is to conduct interviews with the top Realtors on your list of candidates. Don’t sweat though–it’s you that’s going to be asking the tough questions.
Go into the interview process armed with questions that will help you identify their level of professionalism, as well as their personality. Whether you’re buying a home for the first time or selling for the second, you want to feel confident that your agent is going to advocate for you from pre-approval to closing and beyond.
Use these jumping off points if you need help breaking the ice.
What’s your background
There’s no better way to get to know someone than by asking them to talk about themselves. The idea behind this get-to-know-you question is to help you have a relaxed conversation in which you can learn more about the person.
In other words, use this time to gauge if their personality meshes well with yours. If you feel confident that the candidate will go to bat for you over anything, then chances are you’ve found the right Realtor. (Added bonus if you discover you both like the Yankees!)
How do you communicate
Call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me!
A small but important question to ask is about their communication style. Ample communication is the key to any successful relationship, and your relationship with your Realtor is no exception.
If you prefer texting and the last time this person text anyone was when using T9, you two may not be the perfect match.
Admit that you need help!
This isn’t so much a question as it is a plea for assistance. Especially if you’re a newbie, you need to know the Realtor you choose has the experience to help you.
Don’t be shy here, ask for what you need like detailed information on specific neighborhoods, tips on how to boost credit score, resource books for home financing options, etc.
If the first interview doesn’t leave you with all the feels, then interview another real estate agent until you find the right match. When you find someone you can trust, someone you feel comfortable with and someone you’re confident in, you’re home free.