Getting in the financial shape to qualify for the best home mortgages would be a hollow victory at best if your Realtor is a bad fit for you.
And forget about handling the whole thing yourself. Without extensive experience in real estate, the whole process will almost certainly be more aggravating and expensive than it would be with a great real estate professional on your side.
So with so much on the line, let’s take a look at ten tips to help you find the right Realtor for you.
Questions to Ask:
Who Are Your Past Clients?
Get some names and numbers of people your prospective agent has sold to in the last 12 months. Ideally, you want to talk to people who now own similar properties to what you’re looking for.
Call them up and go down your list of prepared questions. These should include:
- What’s your overall opinion of the agent?
- How long did it take to find your house?
- Did the agent listen to what you wanted?
- What was the asking and final price of your home?
What Will I Find in Regulatory Records?
Real estate professionals aren’t tracked as well as many other professionals in different industries, but your state should still have records of whether your agent is actually licensed and if there have been any official complaints or actions.
Do You Have Any Official Recognition?
“Realtor of the Year.” “Million-Dollar Sales Agent.” “Client Appreciation Award 2018.” Any variation on these speaks well to their hustle and ability make a lot of people happy.
Are You a Specialist or Generalist?
Just as athletes and mechanics don’t excel at every sport or car, Realtors don’t sell every type of house and/or aren’t intimately familiar with every process across the entire spectrum of real estate.
If yours isn’t a “garden variety” home purchase, make sure your agent has the extra training to serve your needs properly.
How Long Have You Been Doing This?
Everybody has to start somewhere, but the fact is, if an agent has less than half-a-decade of experience, they’re still learning. Maybe they’re a wunderkind who can stand with any 20-year veteran, but it’s still best to know how long they’ve been in the biz.
What Are Your Current Listings?
How many properties is the agent currently representing? If it’s only one or two, they may not be a stand-out. If it’s 80 or 90, you may not hear from them for more than a week after you call.
Do You Sell What I Want to Buy?
The last thing you need is an agent who sells McMansions by the score but has no experience with starter homes. Or vice versa.
In addition to homes, your Realtor should have a breadth of experience with the area you want to move to — details on neighborhoods, recent home sales, schools, all the good stuff that helps make a house a home.
Do You Work Full-Time?
Part-time agents aren’t necessarily a bad fit, but if your house-viewing hours conflict with their other job, you may have a harder time nailing down your dream home.
Realtor. Agent. Broker. What’s the Difference?
A “capital-R” Realtor is a real estate agent (possibly also a broker) who is a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Members of the NAR abide by a code of ethics that essentially offers you an extra measure of security and reassurance.
A real estate agent is someone who has a license to sell property. Generally, this means they have completed 100+ hours of training and passed a state licensing exam.
A broker is a real estate agent who has additional course work under their belts, passed a brokers license exam, and is thus allowed to hire agents to work for and/or under them.
Finding a Pro
As with everything else in our modern world, going online is your first step when looking for a real estate professional. One excellent tool is Realtor.com’s Find a Realtor search engine to find Realtors in the area you want to move to. You can cross-reference by years of experience, the number of homes sold, and typical price ranges.
Take Your Time
You might have a friend or family member who knows an agent they, “love,” but this may be the first and last time you ever buy a house. Take the time to talk to at least two or three Realtors. Maybe you’ll use the same one they did, but maybe you’ll find one even better.
Like anything worth doing, finding the right agent or Realtor takes some time and effort. The payoff, however, may be a superstar who will smooth out the bumps in the home buying process helping you save time and money.
Want to learn more about picking the right Realtor? Answer a few questions here, and a home lending expert will contact you.