Are you buying or selling a home? Identifying an agent to help you with the process is essential. Finding a good one can save you a significant amount of time and money.
But finding a suitable agent can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Today, there are over two million agents in the United States. With all these people to choose from, finding a suitable one can feel mind-boggling. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are the top things to consider when looking for one.
1. Use Trusted Referrals
Don’t hire the first person you find. First, ask friends, family, and colleagues if they can recommend an agent who offered excellent service. When faced with a plethora of choices, they’re a great place to start.
Preferably, speak to people who had needs similar to yours. For example, if you’re selling, your needs will be different from a friend who bought a home.
2. Evaluate Experience
Experience doesn’t always guarantee quality service. However, seasoned agents often know more about the housing market compared to novices.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re purchasing a home, hire an agent who’s been working for a minimum of two years. Conversely, if you’re selling, look for one with at least four years of experience in the sector.
3. Think Local
General experience in the housing market is a great quality for an agent to have. But ideally, choose one with a depth of knowledge in the area where you’re buying or selling.
If you’re selling, one who knows the local market can assess the competition in your area and help you sell your property at a competitive price. Conversely, if you’re purchasing, one who knows the local market is likely to know more about things like the area’s amenities and taxes.
4. Visit Open Houses
Open houses are a great place to meet with agents and see them in action. And you don’t have to narrow down to properties that match yours. Pick random properties and observe how the agents interact with clients.
Look out for agents who are courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable. And once you’re done touring, don’t be too quick to leave. Network with the ones you think stood out and get their contacts.
5. Go Online
Visiting open houses is a great way to find agents. But if you’re hard-pressed for time, an online search may be the best place to start. Nowadays, most agents have an online presence. Skim through their websites. Examine their social media pages. Check out their online reviews too. Many negative reviews could be a warning sign, while many positive ones might point to the ones you should consider.
6. Examine the Agent’s Track Record
While experience is a great quality for an agent to have, it doesn’t count for much without concrete results. Check the agent’s results and pay close attention to properties the agent has sold recently.
Probe the agent for information such as rough estimates on how long it takes to close home and pricing. For instance, if you’re selling a property, you’ll want one with a proven record of closing deals quickly.
7. Conduct Interviews
You’ve asked for referrals, visited open houses, researched online, and examined track records. You’ve come a pretty long way. Now, you’re ready to narrow down on an individual. But before you do, interview at least three prospects.
Interviews are an excellent way to learn more about an agent’s experience, styles, and strategies. During the interviews, don’t hesitate to ask burning questions. Use the opportunity to thoroughly vet the agents and learn as much as possible. Acquiring in-depth information will help you make a confident decision.
8. Hire a Personality Match
Experience and market knowledge matter when considering the ideal candidate. But ultimately, you’ll want to pick someone you’re compatible with. Buying or selling a home isn’t an easy task, and you’re likely to spend plenty of time with the person you settle for. Therefore, you should hire someone you genuinely like.
Choosing the right real estate agent doesn’t have to be a hassle. Conduct extensive research and adopt these handy tips, and you’ll find someone suitable for you.