How to Find the Right Real Estate Agent as a Homebuyer
Finding a good REALTOR® is like finding the right family practitioner, child care provider, or financial advisor. You want someone you can trust who has your personal best interests in mind. The wrong real estate agent can hold you back from finding a home that meets your needs, or worse, put you in a risky financial or legal situation.
Real estate agents do more than provide a simple service. A REALTOR® is meant to guide you through the process of buying a home. And you probably already know this is one of the biggest life decisions you’ll ever make. The agent you choose should not only be trustworthy, but they should also be a source of support, information, and expertise.
Here are some key things to consider when interviewing your list of potential agents.
Finding a REALTOR® you get along with is an important piece of your selection process. You’ll be spending a significant amount of time emailing back and forth, attending showings together, and collaborating throughout the closing process when you do find the home you love. Since you’ll work so closely with your agent, it’s important to find someone you enjoy working with so you can build trust and confidence in your relationship.
Purchasing a home can be stressful, and at times, daunting. Having an agent you trust to put you and your needs first will give you much-needed peace of mind. Honesty, openness, and friendliness are key characteristics to look for in your REALTOR®.
Track Record and Reputation
Digging into your agent’s (and agency’s) track record and reputation is a great way to make sure you’re receiving qualified assistance in your home search. Fortunately, a quick Google search often makes this information available in just a few clicks.
Find out how many years your REALTOR® has been in the real estate business. Read testimonials from previous clients. While you’re searching, see what kind of ratings your real estate agency has on Google and Facebook. For example, if you search for Urban Acres, you’ll see that on our Facebook page, we feature more than 100 recommendations from past clients, who’ve given us a 4.9 out of 5 star rating.
Communication and Reliability
Does your agent take weeks to respond to your emails? Do your calls and texts go unanswered and your voicemails ignored? These are both serious signs of an unresponsive real estate agent.
That being said, REALTORS® are people, too. They have personal and family commitments, as well as other clients who need their attention. A good agent will ask how you prefer to be communicated with and let you know when you can expect to hear back from them if they aren’t able to respond immediately.
But your agent should never leave you in the dark or dodge your questions. If you can’t rely on your REALTOR® to return your calls and texts in a timely manner, will they do the extra legwork when you have an important question for the seller about a home you’re considering? Will they show up for the closing? Choose an agent who follows through, sets expectations, and understands your needs as a buyer. If you don’t feel like your agent has your best interests in mind, it’s time to move on.
Designations and Certifications
Your dream home will be unique to you and your needs. Therefore you might consider an agent with the background and expertise specific to what you’re looking for. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, it doesn’t hurt to work with a REALTOR® who specializes in guiding buyers through the purchase of their first home. The same might apply if you’re looking specifically for a new construction home.
While many agents are generalists, there are some who have designations or certifications. When vetting an agent, ask if they have a specialty or designation. Find out what your prospective new agent is known for, and determine which agent you feel has a background best suited for your situation.
House hunting can be downright confusing. Your agent should know how to guide you through the process and keep you informed at every step—they gain their experience helping people buy and sell homes every day.
If your agent is up-to-date on the latest trends in real estate and the local market, it’s also a good sign you’re working with someone who values their profession and their relationships with clients. Their experience and resourcefulness will come in handy when challenges arise and your REALTOR® knows how to address them.
Buying a home requires an entire team of professionals, from your real estate agent to your mortgage lender. Many agents have a list of preferred partners they’ve established strong relationships with in the past.
Your REALTOR® should be able to recommend a list of their trusted partners, including lenders, home inspectors, contractors, and title companies. A good agent will also disclose any partners that provide compensation when agents refer clients to their business.
A Final Note
As agents, most of us want to be your agent for life. Long after the sale, we encourage you to call on us for recommendations when you need a repair professional, when you’re making updates to your home, or when you need a market analysis. We want to serve as your go-to resource throughout the time you own your home.
Ready to find your real estate agent?
Why not start with us? Get to know our seasoned team of REALTORS® ready to help you find your dream home.