Choosing A Real Estate Agent
When you are ready to begin your home search, you’ll need to recruit a real estate professional to guide you in your search. Why not just go it alone? Because you need someone familiar with the market, the process, and who can help you determine value. You’ll need help with understanding how to evaluate the market, how to negotiate the best deal, and how to determine the best financing option available. Sure, you could do it on your own, but you’re doubtful to save any money, and you may pay a heavy price.
So how do you pick that perfect agent? How do you find the one who will enthusiastically assist in your home search, help you make the best deal, and guide you through the mortgage and closing process? It begins by asking friends and relatives for recommendations, but I recommend you not hire a relative, neighbor, or business acquaintance, unless they have the credentials to support your choice.
Another search method is to visit agent’s websites and to read their real estate blogs. You can learn a lot by simply reviewing the topics chosen and the professionalism with which the information is presented. Those who don’t have a website should be crossed off your list.
Here is a list of questions to ask potential agents:
- Are you a full-time agent? There are some qualified part-time agents, but experience can be invaluable. I always prefer the knowledgeable help of a full-time professional.
- How do you use the Internet and social media in your business? Anyone not taking advantage of the many tools offered by today’s technology has a huge void in their ability to offer “full service.” Agents who are actively involved with social media have the potential to reach millions, and those who fail to grasp the significance are short-changing their clients.
- Are you a member of the NAR, The National Association of Realtors®? While non-members may be well qualified, NAR members are pledged to follow a strict Code of Ethics and demonstrate a certain dedication to their craft. And if you’re having trouble understanding the differences between agents and Realtors®, click HERE for an explanation.
- How many buyers/sellers do you assist annually? This number will tell you if the person is a full-time agent. The number isn’t necessarily the number of closings, but reflects listings or representations. Depending upon local market activity, the number should be at least 15 or more.
- What is your most valuable asset that you use to help home buyers? While the answer to this question will vary, it will give you an idea of the agent’s marketing “comfort level” and also their creativity.
After discussing the above questions with potential agents you’ll have a much better idea of their qualifications. A careful observation of body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice will often provide much more information than the words that were spoken. The simple act of listening and paying attention shows that an agent respects others and has a genuine desire to meet their needs. Then, go with your “gut,” and pick the agent with whom you are most comfortable and who inspires confidence.