Ranch style or Contemporary? On a big lake or in a gated community? A townhome, condo, McMansion, or a simple starter home? Whatever type of dream home you’re in search of you should consider hiring a Realtor versus hunting for one on your own.
But how exactly do you find a good Realtor who suits your needs the best? Good question.
Some people are happy working with anyone from a well-established real estate firm in their area, while others will look long and hard for the “perfect” agent for months. Is there such a thing? What’s perfect for one person may not be perfect for another – think one man’s junk is another man’s treasure scenario.
However, if you put your mind and heart into your search, you will surely find the right Realtor for your needs. Here are some tips and ideas to help you as you begin the path to hiring a Realtor.
Ask for a Referral (or two)
Perhaps one of the best ways find a Realtor is through referral; ask friends, colleagues, and people whose opinions you trust. Then ask why they like the person they are suggesting for deeper insight. If the answer is that the Realtor gave them great advice, helped them find the greatest home ever, and assisted them throughout the contract and settlement processes, give that Realtor a call.
But if you find that you don’t click with your friend’s Realtor after seeking them out, keep looking. There is nothing worse than making a commitment to a Realtor only to find later that you are uncomfortable with their services.
Another benefit of asking for a referral is that you may get some names of potential Realtors to avoid. If your co-worker talks about a Realtor who lied about things or failed to assist, stay clear of this person at all costs.
Other Search Options
If you can’t find a Realtor by word of mouth, there are other options such as looking at ‘For Sale’ signs in your immediate area. Are these names that appear regularly when a house is on the market? Interview those Realtors and ask for referrals from their past buyers.
Be sure you shop around and interview as many agents as possible before you decide on which one will best serve and represent you during the home buying process. In other words, don’t settle on the first one you interview; due you due diligence and be thorough.
Also, be aware that there is a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Realtors issued by the National Association of Realtors. Make sure that you are working with a Realtor who is a member if you want to hire the best of the best.
What about an agent’s credentials? Do they have any? Don’t be afraid to ask if the agent you are interested in has any credentials that may back up their experience. For example, the designations posted after an agent’s name can tell you if that the agent has attended classes in a particular area of real estate sales in addition to what type of agent they are. Some of the designations include:
- CRS (Certified Residential Specialist):Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
- ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative):Completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.
- SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist):Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.
- If the agent has the NAR after his/her name with a capital “R,” this means he/she is a member of the NAR.
If you’re still not convinced about their credibility and experience, seek out a state licensing authority who may be able to tell you how long he/she has been practicing real estate. Of course, you may also ask the agent directly yourself and then gauge if he/she is the right person to represent you. According to some experts if the agent hasn’t been in the field for at least 5 years, they may be too new.
Bottomline: Keep in mind that what you need is an agent who is well-versed in the field of real estate and knows the area well that you want to explore, as well as the prices.
Another great way to choose an agent is to explore what types of listings he/she has online such as their agency’s website and Realtor.com, which offers a searchable online database of properties in the Multiple Listing Service.
You will want to gauge if that agent’s own current listings are like the properties you want to buy or sell. Are they in the same general area? Is the price range the same? Does the agent have enough listings to show they are active, or do they have only a few that could imply they are not that busy?
Once you have found the right type of Realtor for you, it’s time to share your preferred location and the house size, and style you want with this person. You will view and visit various options with the Realtor of record until you find the perfect home.
Overall, the Realtor plays a vital role in bringing the buyer and the seller to an agreement once you find the home. The Realtor will relay your questions to the seller and the answers to you. If you do find a home that you like along the way, don’t be afraid to go back and see it more than once before deciding to make an offer.
In the end, a Realtor can be very beneficial to you when you are ready to buy a house as they should make every effort to walk you through the entire process from start to finish. It’s worth your while to find the perfect Realtor for your needs. It’s not unheard of to start with one Realtor and end with another before all is said and done, and you’ve signed on the dotted line.