Pull Together a List of Local Agents
Image via Flickr by Phil Sexton
The first step to getting a good agent is to find someone local. You can do a search online to find real estate agents in your area. For example, if you’re looking for London real estate, include specific areas within your search parameters to find agents nearest your area of interest. Once you have a list of agents, you need to start narrowing them down. Check out their websites. This can give you a first impression. If you are uncomfortable with anything you see on the website, you can take them off the list.
At this point, you may still have a large list. Start calling around to the agents; you need to get the list narrowed down. You want to find an agent or agency; you shouldn’t try to work with multiple agents at once.
There are many questions you should ask potential agents. Some of the questions you should ask include:
- Are you licensed?
- How many homes have you sold?
- How will you search for my new home?
- How many clients to you take on at once?
- Will I work with a team or just with you?
- Do you have a network of other professionals in the industry who you work with?
- Do you only show properties from your agency?
- How do you handle client complaints
- Do you have references?
These questions can help you ensure that you work with someone you are comfortable with. If you get answers to these questions that give you pause or just are not something you are willing to deal with, you will know immediately not to work with that agent.
Call Their References
If you get a list of references, make sure to call them. Sometimes, people will give a list of reference assuming that you won’t take the time to call them. However, if you really want the inside scoop as to how an agent works with their clients, call some of their previous clients. You can ask them about specifics on how the agent dealt with conflicts, problems, or disagreements. This will give you a better idea of how the agent will work with you.
Consider Agents Friends or Family Members Have Used
Has a friend or family member recently bought or sold a home? Did they have a great experience with their agent? If so, consider contacting that agent. It never hurts to work with a professional that someone you have a close relationship had a good experience with. Make sure that you get examples from the friend or family member as to what was good about the agent, so you can go into the experience with a little bit of background.
Make Sure Your Agent Works on Your Schedule
Image via Flickr by Joe Lanman
A real estate agent needs to work with you, not against you. They need to be able to work on your schedule. There are a few ways that this can come up. First, if you are only available a few days a week, you need to make sure that your agent is able and willing to show you homes on these days. This includes weekends. If they aren’t willing to work with you, move on to the next person.
In addition, if you are working on a time frame for home buying, make sure that your potential agent understands this, and is willing to do what it takes to make it happen. Sometimes, your time frames are not under your control, and things come up to push things back. But it’s important that your agent is willing to try to help.
Compare Each Agent’s Fees
Every agent is going to have fees. However, these fees are generally negotiable, and they vary from agent to agent. Because of this, you need to make sure that you ask the fees upfront. When you have the information on the fees an agent charges, you can easily compare. Remember, cheapest is not always best. Make sure that the fees are not the only thing you take into consideration. Though it is a piece to consider, it’s not the only thing to think of.
Choose an Agent That Knows the Neighborhood
Image via Flickr by Lauren Wellicome
Whether you are planning to buy or sell, it’s important to use an agent that knows the neighborhood. A selling agent that understands your neighborhood is able to highlight its features to potential buyers. They can highlight the benefits of the neighborhood. If you are buying, your agent can help you find a neighborhood that fits your requirements. Are you looking for a home that is in an area with a good school? The more your agent knows, the more they can help you with this.
Know Exactly What You Want
Let’s be honest, when you’re picking a real estate agent, it’s important to make sure that you know what you want. Real estate agents come in all types of personalities, just like the rest of us. You may have a personality clash with your agent, and that’s not a good thing.
The most important thing is that you know what you want to get out of the relationship. Do you want to become friends with your agent? Is it ok if you can’t stand spending much time with your agent, as long as they get you your dream house? Knowing this before you go into even looking into finding an agent can help you through the whole process. You can find an agent that will work with you how you want, when you know what you want.
Finding the right real estate agent is important. This is the person that will help you find your home. In addition, they will also help you with all the paperwork required to legalize the purchase. Because of this, make sure you get a great agent.
About the Author: Susan Pizarro is a freelance writer based out of Florida with a degree in Marketing. She loves writing about personal finance, health, and frugal living tips; and she enjoys travelling the world and trying different foods.