How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
Homebuyers often make the mistake of choosing the first real estate agent they meet, thinking that they're all the same, but buying a home is a huge undertaking and one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. That's why real estate agents are so important.
A good agent will guide homebuyers on their journey to find, negotiate, and close on the home of their dreams. A bad one will coerce you into buying prematurely, show you properties that don't meet your criteria, or simply fail to fight for you when the negotiations get tense.
But how do you choose the right real estate agent? The key is to do your research and ask a lot of questions before deciding which agent you want in your corner.
Your Agent Should Have the Proper Credentials
Real estate agents must be licensed to legally represent you but not all agents have the same amount of training or experience, which can make all the difference during the process. You can check your state licensing board to find out if an agent has the necessary certification to work in the field. Yelp, Google, LinkedIn, and the Better Business Bureau are also terrific resources for finding reviews from the agent's previous clients.
Your Agent Should Be an Expert
Working with an agent who has not only the required licenses, but additional, specialized credentials can make or break your homebuying experience. A truly dedicated real estate agent continues to learn about the industry by taking supplemental classes and training in a certain specialty.
These credentials give the agents access to information unavailable to the public and provides training to assist a specific kind of buyer. If you're over 50 and looking to buy a home, an agent with an SRES certificate has insight into your needs as a homebuyer, whether it's moving into an active adult community or finding a comfortable condo.
Your Agent Should Be an NAR Member
The agent should also be a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Members of the NAR have access to real estate data, business tools, educational opportunities, and other benefits that will keep them updated on the latest market trends. Joining the NAR is so common that it's nearly required in order to be a successful realtor, so if your agent doesn't have the designation, you'll want to keep looking.
Your Agent Should Have Experience
Don't be afraid to ask questions upfront about an agent's background or work history. This way you'll know how much experience they've gained over the course of their career. Not only do you want to know how many years they've been in the real estate business but also how many buyers they have worked with in the past.
You can ask them for a list of properties they've sold in the past and contact those clients to get feedback from their experience working with that agent. Friends and family are also useful when searching for a good agent. The experiences of family and friends can help you narrow your list of potential agents.
While researching their background, check to see if that agent has received any awards or endorsements from their peers. It's even better if the agent received awards like "Agent of the Year" from their state or local branch of the National Association of Realtors. This will give you insight into the commitment and work ethic they carry in their profession.
Your Agent Will Be Your Advocate
Although no agent is perfect, some will go the extra mile to help you get the home of your dreams. They will be patient with your decisions, show you listings based on your requirements, and break down information from contracts so you can get a better understanding of the deal.
You don't want to waste your time or money with an inexperienced realtor who makes rookie mistakes because buying a home is a huge investment.