By Mark Lemmons I May 25, 2022
Buying or selling your home is probably the largest financial transaction you will make in your life. It’s important to have a good real estate agent to help you through the process.
An agent represents your interests, which is important since you will be dealing with other parties with interests of their own!
With a relatively low barrier to entry to becoming a real estate agent, buyers and sellers need to be discerning when choosing an agent.
It is true that every real estate agent must pass exams to acquire a real estate license, but just because someone has a license doesn’t mean they have what it takes to represent you well.
Here are 7 things to look for when choosing a real estate agent (besides their credentials!).
A good real estate agent will have a good reputation. You can look into an agent’s credibility by reading their Google reviews, social media post comments, or other social proof such as testimonials.
It’s worth mentioning that 1 bad Google review in the midst of many 5-star Google reviews doesn’t have to be a red flag. Seeing how the agent responded to that one review can even tell you a lot about their character and how they handle conflict.
On social media, take note of any negative comments on their posts. If a client was unhappy, they may be speaking up in the comments section.
You can also usually discover more about an agent’s reputation by reading testimonials on their website or by asking around about them.
Another thing you want to keep an eye out for is their experience in the area you are buying or selling in. Much of the real estate transaction process comes down to knowledge of the market and the home.
A real estate agent with experience in your area is going to know more about the comparables in the area, key selling points, and how to strategically position your home for a favorable transaction.
You can find an agent’s recent transaction by using Zillow’s Agent Finder tool.
You also want to make sure that your real estate agent is timely and effective in their communication. Of course, every agent has multiple clients at a time and can’t be available whenever you want – but they should be timely in their responses.
Your agent should also be effective in communicating with you. It shouldn’t be difficult to understand what they are saying or carry on a conversation with them. A large part of a real estate agent’s job is negotiating on your behalf. If they can’t communicate effectively with you, they won’t be able to communicate effectively when it comes to your transaction.
While many real estate agents are known for being relational, they should also maintain professionalism. Representing buyers and sellers is their job, and they should demonstrate that they take that role seriously.
Does their website portray that?
Does their social media presence give you a sense of both friendliness and expertise?
Do they show up on time and do what they say they are going to do?
If you start to see red flags in their professionalism early on, you can be sure that that is going to come back to bite you down the road. Better to go with a professional who will get the job done than with someone that feels like your “friend” but can’t execute.
Your real estate agent must be knowledgeable about the real estate market, home valuation process, and financing. They should know how to answer the questions you have and give you the sense that you are working with an expert.
Good real estate agents constantly have their finger on the pulse of the market, understand trends, and how to leverage the market to your advantage. They will also be well versed in putting together Comparative Market Analyses (CMAs) and discussing comparables, appraisals, and inspections.
Financing is one of the most important parts of a real estate transaction, and your agent should know how to explain documents to you and help you understand any financial jargon in the paperwork.
While you want to work with someone who is a professional, you also want to take into account that you will likely be working closely with this person for months.
Do you enjoy being around them?
Are they pleasant and positive?
The way they treat you and win you over is the same way they are likely to treat others and win over negotiations. Make sure your real estate agent is a person of character with great people skills.
Finally, you should look for an agent who has a proactive, take-charge attitude. A good real estate agent should have an ownership mentality when it comes to your home buying experience.
For example, even though your loan will be through a financial institution, your real estate agent should be the one nudging things along, providing updates, and overseeing the entire process.
Your agent should offer solutions and ideas for things like home showings, open houses, or crafting strategic offers. A home transaction relies on time-sensitive factors, so having a real estate agent that is on top of things is crucial.
Choosing a good real estate agent will help you have the best experience possible. You are dealing with a lot of money when you engage in a home transaction, and even small things cause serious repercussions.
You want a real estate agent you can trust to be thorough and knowledgeable so they can protect you along the way.
If you need representation in your real estate transaction, don’t hesitate to reach out! My team is available to help.
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