Real estate agents sell over 5 million properties every year. Whether you're looking to buy or sell, there's no question that you want a savvy agent in your corner. With over 3 million real estate agents licensed to set up showings, schedule appraisals and inspections, and do market research, your job is to find the right one for you. Here are a few pointers on how to find a real estate agent so that you can save time and money during your next move.
Getting ready to work with an agent
Additionally, make certain that your home is in pristine condition. Clean up any clutter and address any repairs needed that could raise your property’s appeal when it’s time to list it.
Broker or real estate agent?
You may be familiar with these two terms but unclear on their differences. After receiving the same training to aid clients with buying or selling real estate, agents and brokers diverge in what they are able to do. Both are licensed to buy and sell homes, but brokers have taken additional education that empowers them to act independently and even hire other real estate agents to work for them.
What's a Realtor?
Anyone who works in the real estate industry can be styled as a Realtor as long as they are a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This includes agents, brokers, appraisers, property managers, and any other real estate professional.
Buyer's agent or listing agent?
A buyer's agent can help with the entire house-hunting process, accessing homes that are ready for showings, representing their clients when making offers, and guiding buyers all the way to the closing table. On the flip side, listing agents (also known as seller’s agents) will stage properties, coordinate viewings on behalf of their clients, and market homes online.
Finding an expert real estate agent
Do they have experience and expertise?
When selecting a real estate agent, it is wise to account for both the length of their career in this field as well as their proficiency. Even if they are new to the industry, an exceptional success rate shows they have what it takes to get you great results.
Does this real estate agent have your back?
As you research potential agents, take note of the size of their support staff. Not all agents need assistants, but if you're working with a particularly busy real estate agent, an assistant may be extremely supportive as you navigate the buying or selling process.
What are they charging in commission?
When selling a home, it's essential to consider the commission that your real estate agent will charge. Agent fees can vary but typically sit between 5 and 6 percent of the final sale price.
It's wise to inquire from several agents about their commission rates. By comparing a few options, you can guarantee that you're getting the most favorable offer possible. Lastly, keep in mind that sellers usually pay the commission fee, not buyers.
Check the reviews
If a prospective agent has glowing qualifications, yet their past clients have complained about them, don't overlook it. Take the time to thoroughly read through all relevant reviews, and try your best to speak with someone who has worked directly with the agent you're considering hiring.
What to look for in a buyer's agent
Your goals are their goals
When you search for a buyer's agent, you want to work with someone who will connect you with properties that align with your must-haves and fall within your budget. If your real estate agent keeps recommending properties over what you can pay, it might be time to find another one who understands and respects the limits of your finances. An experienced buyer's agent will take into consideration what you are willing to spend and work with that amount accordingly.
They get the best deal
Your buyer's agent isn't there simply to act on your behalf; they should also be striving for the lowest possible price. With each offer you put in on a house, your agent should work toward getting you the best deal from a seller and advocate for your goals.
Honesty is something a great buyer's agent won't shy away from. They'll make sure that you're aware of the current competition and housing availability, which sets appropriate expectations.
Great attributes of a seller’s agent
They'll market for you
An experienced seller's agent knows that their success is dependent on yours, which is why they will act as your marketing team, assisting you in listing your home and staging it to draw buyers in.
They'll suggest minor changes
A seller's agent will provide you with detailed guidance on how to make modifications that could incrementally bump up the asking price of your property and capture more attention.
They'll manage expectations
Your seller's agent is instrumental in setting realistic goals for the sale of your property. They'll use their expertise to recommend an asking price and skillfully guide you from listing to negotiations.
They'll be informed
When seeking a seller's agent, you should look for someone who is well-versed in the local real estate market and has had recent success in your area. This way, you can trust that they will list your property at an attractive price point that sets it up to be sold quickly.
Embark on your next real estate adventure
*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock