Choosing the right real estate agent is a daunting task. Whoever you choose is going to be responsible for one of the biggest investments of your life, so you need to make sure that you choose someone who will keep your best interests in mind while trying to help you find or sell a home.
Whether you’re buying or selling, one of the most important traits to look for is someone who is familiar with your area. An agent who has experience with homes in your geographical location and within your price range will be much more helpful than one who might have to do some guesswork. Do an online search for agents in your area, ask for recommendations, and go look at homes for sale in your community. Are there any names that you see over and over? Do they have a website that you can review? Do they have an active social media presence? (While social media shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor, it can be an indicator that an agent is able to use technology and will also give you an idea of the type of person you’ll be working with.)
After you have a list with several agents on it, come up with a list of questions to ask each one. Ask them about their experience, what their availability is like, how they prefer to communicate with clients, and what they plan on doing to make your home look competitive on the market. Real estate agents are experts at home buying and selling, so if you run into any who can’t or won’t explain their process, cross them off your list.
When you’ve narrowed down your list to two or three agents, you can ask them how much they’d list your home for and why they would list it at that price. It’s tempting to choose the agent who is offering to list it for a higher price, but that can be a costly mistake. Unfortunately, sometimes agents will offer to list a home for a higher price just to get the listing, and the house ends up sitting on the market because it’s overpriced. That extra time on the market means missed buyers and more time that you have to spend being in a home that you’re trying to move on from. A good agent should be able to provide you with data about similar homes in your area that have sold and will be able to make their price decisions based on that.
Hopefully by taking the time to find the right agent for you, you’ll be rewarded with a fast home sale or purchase and a smooth real estate process. Good luck!