There are many reasons why you should buy your home with a real estate agent. They know the ins and outs of the industry and your local market, they have connections that can win you the house you love, and their keen negotiation skills can help you stay in line with your budget.
Although you may already be sold on the benefits real estate agents can bring to your home purchase, you might not know exactly where to start looking for one, much less what qualities you should be looking for.
We are here to help with tips on how to choose the right real estate agent for your next purchase. Starting with understanding how an agent can support your purchase needs, we will move on to how to kick off your search efforts, and then provide best practices for the selection process. Let’s get started on finding the perfect real estate agent for your next home purchase.
What Do Real Estate Agents Do for Buyers?
Real estate agents do a lot more than you might realize, and their expertise will easily come in handy in today’s buying landscape. While it’s easy to get excited about the fun parts of searching for your next home, agents focus on all the steps involved in the process.
Real estate agents are able to get showings scheduled for you, coordinating with sellers’ agents. This is crucial because the more time you spend waiting for a viewing upfront is time wasted if it doesn’t end up meeting your criteria. Just that simple task of working out everyone’s schedules can be more time-intensive than you realize.
Agents are also very familiar with the local market because it’s what they do full-time. They’ll be aware of noisy areas, flood and wildfire zones, awkward floor plans, and other potential issues with a listing that you might miss. They will also be able to point out an unbelievable deal when they see one, too.
Once you find the home of your dreams, a real estate agent will advocate on your behalf during the contract negotiation. They will provide clarification on terminology you’re unfamiliar with, as well as help you navigate any issues that come up during the appraisal, inspection, and ratification.
START YOUR SEARCH WITH REFERRALS FROM OTHER HOMEOWNERS AND YOUR LENDER’S RECOMMENDATIONS
Now that you’re ready to enlist the support of a real estate agent for your next transaction, the next question is how to get started on finding the right match.
Take a cue from the saying that the best form of advertisement is word-of-mouth. If a family member, friend, neighbor, or colleague is willing to rave about a recent experience they had with a real estate agent, it’s a safe bet they did a great job on their transaction and that they’ll bring that same value to your purchase.
Aside from personal recommendations, another great resource is others regularly involved in real estate transactions, which would include your mortgage lender, insurance agents, appraisers, and title agencies. If you have a lender you’re already getting pre-qualified with, ask your loan officer for their top real estate agent recommendations.
If you aren’t having luck with recommendations from personal connections or those in the industry, the Internet is also a good resource for vetting what others have to say about their experience with an agent.
REVIEW AGENTS’ REPUTATIONS FROM PERSONAL REFERENCES AND ONLINE TESTIMONIALS
With a few candidates in mind, it’s best to take an inventory of what other buyers have to say about their experience with that agent. While it’s normal for even the best real estate agents to have some negative ratings, their online review volume and overall rating will help you gauge whether they will be a good fit for you.
Take the time to look beyond just the star rating and read through the top reviews they’ve received. What do people have to say about them? What are the top things that went well working with this agent, and what were some areas that could have been improved?
Pairing personal recommendations with some online research will help you gain a holistic understanding of how this agent deals with clients, handles issues, and delivers results. All of that will help you feel confident in moving forward with the agent you select.
STRONG NEGOTIATION SKILLS ARE A MUST-HAVE
Aside from online reviews and personal praises, your real estate agent will need the industry savvy and negotiation expertise to support you in your purchase. You want to pay a fair price that fits within your budget, but you also want to win the house in a fast-paced market.
Chatting with your prospective agent as you’re making your final determinations about who to work with is a great way to gauge whether or not their negotiation skills are on par with your expectations and needs. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they will handle a specific situation you might encounter during the course of your purchase, like a bidding war or issues that are discovered during the home inspection.
Having these frank conversations before making a commitment to move forward together will ensure your success and comfort for the home buying process that lies ahead for both of you.
PASSION, WORK ETHIC, AND TRANSPARENCY ARE WHAT MAKE A GREAT REAL ESTATE AGENT
Real estate is fast-paced, sometimes cutthroat, but always rewarding. For you as a buyer, you’ll become a happy homeowner. Your real estate agent will feel just as accomplished in helping a new client achieve their goal.
There is no replacement for hard work, passion, and honesty in this field. In your initial conversations with an agent you’re considering hiring, you should look for these three core values.
You can ask your agent about their experience, specialty, and team to get more insight into their approach and business model. This will help you determine if that spark is there and help you feel confident in making your decision to move forward in working with them.
Now that you know how a real estate agent can add value to your home buying process, and our tips for how to find the right one for you, you’re ready to get connected. Our loan officers have excellent recommendations for agents that can meet your specific buying needs.