Whether you’re thinking of selling your home or looking at entering into the market for a new home, your greatest ally is your real estate agent. From navigating pricing and staging to negotiating your perfect price, your agent is there each step of the way. It’s crucial that you find a top realtor, so take a look at these tips.
Ask Friends and Family:
A word-of-mouth recommendation is the best way to find a top agent in your area. Happy clients can provide details of their experience and why they enjoyed working with their agents. On that same note, you can also discover realtors to stay away from based upon negative experiences. The best people to get this information from? Your friends and family.
If you’re new to an area, take a look at dedicated social media groups. People use these groups to get recommendations for area services and share their experiences with local companies. A quick search will likely yield real estate agent recommendations, and if not, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals directly.
When to Contact an Agent:
If you’re a seller, you’ll want to find an agent about three months before you wish to sell your home. If you know that your home will need a little TLC before listing, contact an agent a little further out from your projected sale date, but not more than six months out. Hiring an agent with some built-in time before listing will allow you to do a walkthrough with your agent to get recommended repairs and updates and give you the time to make the fixes.
How to Interview an Agent:
After you receive agent recommendations, you should have about three to five solid agents to review. If you’re good at internet sleuthing, you can likely narrow a field of five agents down to three by looking at agent track records and reviews online. Once you have your candidates, set up times for phone or video call interviews. (In pre-pandemic days, you would typically set up a time to go into the office for an in-person meeting with a prospective agent.)
Before you interview a real estate agent, draft a list of questions to ask based upon what you’re looking for in that person. You’ll want to ask questions like how long the realtor’s been practicing, how well they know the area, what their marketing would entail for your property-type, and what safety measures they have in-place for showings. A quick internet search will yield a slew of questions to ask prospective agents, and you can pick and choose depending on your circumstances. For example, if you’re contacting an agent early to get their repair recommendations, you may want to ask what their professional network is like and whether they have contractor recommendations.
How to Know which Agent is Right for You:
If you’re not one to go on gut feeling alone, especially when hiring a realtor, there are some key indicators that the agent you’re considering is a good bet. How quickly did the agent get back to you after you initially contacted them? While lightning-quick isn’t always a positive sign, an agent who takes more than a business day or two to respond may be challenging to get in touch with when you’re working with them.
Another consideration is your agent’s experience with the area and with your property type. When an agent has successfully brokered deals in your neighborhood or your area of interest, they probably have a good feel for what buyers are looking for there and know how to price your home for the market. That agent may also have potential buyers for your property, depending on how extensive their network is.
Finally, if your agent is easy to talk to, it’s a good sign that you’ve found the right fit. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions – experienced agents will have the answers you seek and will take you through the buying or selling process from start to finish.