Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions most people will ever make in their lives. It can be stressful and overwhelming, but the good news is you are not alone. Real estate agents are trained experts that can help you through the process. Follow this advice to find an agent that best suits your needs.
How to Choose a Real Estate Agent
No matter if you are looking for a buyer’s agent or a listing agent, you need someone that is an expert on your neighborhood and that is familiar with your area’s market.
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Your neighborhood is a good place to start looking for your agent. Keep your eyes peeled for agents that have a lot of for sale signs in your area. Talk to your neighbors to see which broker they used and what they thought about the experience. You can also drop into open houses to see the brokers in action.
Interview The Agent
Treat the agent hiring process the same way you would hire a new employee. You need to interview several candidates, get a good understanding of their track records and gather references.
Start off the interview process by asking to see their current and previous listings and pay special attention to the price ranges, neighborhoods and list to sell prices.
Take stock of who the agent is as a person. Have the agent sell you on why she is the perfect person to find your next home or sell your current home. If the person can’t sell herself, she can’t sell your home. Ask yourself if she seems honest, communicative and hard-working.
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Find out if the agent works on a team and who will handle each part of the process. Having a support team behind your agent can be helpful, but be sure to get an understanding if the big name broker you are expecting to work with is actually the person that will show up.
It is also important to review the buyer purchase or seller listing agreement and take a close look at your cancellation rights.
Dive Into The Numbers
Find out what the agent’s real estate fee is, but don’t automatically go with the person with the lowest fee because it might mean they are pressed for business or inexperienced. If you are buying and selling a home at the same time or can use the broker for future purchases, then you should try to negotiate the fee.
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Likewise, when you ask the agent what they will list your house for, don’t necessarily go with the person that says she can get you the highest price. It might mean that she is unfamiliar with the market or trying to tell you what you want to hear to get hired.
If you are working with listing agents, ask about what types of marketing they will do and what they will spend. At a minimum you can expect open houses, professional photos, website promotion and advertising.
Stay informed, do your own research, have an open mind and keep lines of communication open with your agent and you will find your new home in no time.
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