Finding a new home or selling your current one is difficult, especially when it involves moving to a different city. You might not know the best neighborhoods in your new town or be familiar with housing prices and market trends. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a knowledgeable real estate agent who can help make your transaction as smooth. However, finding a real estate agent you can trust is a bit trickier than choosing one whose face is on a billboard.
To make the hunt easier, we’ve put together a few tips for finding a real estate agent you can trust. In this post we’ll talk about:
- The Difference Between a Buyer Agent vs Seller Agent
- Asking About Real Estate Licensing
- Interviewing Several Real Estate Agents
- Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Cost
The Difference Between a Buyer Agent vs Seller Agent
Real estate agents can have a variety of different titles (and sometimes even two or three at the same time). For example: did you know that the term “Realtor” is not interchangeable with “real estate agent”? That’s because to be a Realtor, you must be certified by the National Association of Realtors.
However, the most common confusion comes between a buyer agent vs seller agent (also called a listing agent). While either of these agents can complete an entire transaction, they are only obligated to act in the interest of one party. In other words, you could miss a deal if you’re trying to buy a home through a seller agent, and vice versa.
If you’re searching for a new home, seek a buyer agent who specializes in hunting for properties and negotiating. If you need to sell your house, search for a seller agent who specializes in pricing strategy and handling offers.
Ask About Real Estate Licensing
Licensing is one of the most important pieces of the real estate agent search. When finding a real estate agent, make sure your he/she is fully licensed and affiliated with a reputable brokerage (i.e. Keller Williams or Redfin). All agents should have full access to their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and be able to show any credentials upon request. This can be handy if you find an agent who works for an unfamiliar brokerage.
Don’t be shy to ask –proper credentials will give you peace of mind as you embark on your real estate journey.
Interviewing Several Real Estate Agents
Qualified real estate agents expect to be interviewed by their potential clients. Not only will it give you the opportunity to connect with an agent and gauge their skills and personality, but it’ll also give them a chance to sell themselves to you. Each agent has unique experience and qualities, which is why you should chat with at least 3 different professionals.
If you’re selling your home, be sure to ask each real estate agent for an estimate. The numbers should remain relatively similar, but if one is an outlier then you may need to question that candidate. If you’re a buyer, ask if they have any assistants who will be helping you. Also ask how often they get offers approved that are under asking price.
Also, assess the level of experience each agent has. Note that time spent in the industry doesn’t necessarily add up to quality experience, as younger agents might have deep understanding of the market, emerging trends, or home financing.
Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Cost
While deals can be had, your choice in real estate agent should be based on who you think can best fulfill your and your family’s needs. Buying or selling a home is a large commitment, so you’ll want to work with someone you can trust every step of the way. And often times a qualified real estate agent can pay dividends more in terms of securing better deals and outperforming other agents.
Most real estate agents are ethical businesspeople, but it is always worthwhile to keep your eyes and ears open. When finding a real estate agent, choose one who makes you feel most comfortable.
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