Help Your Agent Understand Your Needs
Although this might seem simple, Gentry says it’s an often overlooked step in the home buying process. Many home buyers focus on getting to know their agent when, really, it’s most important to ensure the agent gets to know them.
“From a buyer’s perspective, you want your agent to know you: your short- and long-term goals, family, where you grew up and where you want to live. Are you a saver or a spender, etc.,” Gentry says. “This is key to a long-term relationship, not just a one-off transaction. An agent who cares about the long-term will be far more likely to put the client first and work hard to see that long-term goal happen.”
Another thing to think about is their credentials, and whether or not they line up with your needs. There are lots of different types of real estate agents out there, and you’ll want to make sure you find one who makes sense for you. For example, a Certified Residential Specialist has done specific training for residential real estate, while a Seniors Real Estate Specialist is geared toward buyers in the 50+ age group. Also, check on how long they’ve been in the business, and if they’ve won any awards. The longer they’ve been working, the more they’ll know about the business, and how to provide you with the best experience possible.
Word of Mouth
Gentry says finding the right real estate agent is often a lot like looking for a significant other. “Don’t be afraid to stalk your agent online to learn more about them,” Gentry says. With these types of relationships, it’s often best to seek a good friend or family member’s referral. “The best resource is to be referred to the agent. Then, reach out and meet with the agent to see if there’s a fit.”
Talk to any friends who recently purchased a home. If they had a good experience with their agent, you might want to meet their agent. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time with your agent during the home search process, you’ll want to work with someone you trust.
Gentry suggests checking review sites like Angie’s List or Yelp. As with any Internet dealings, make sure to do thorough research. “You can get one-sided reviews without the perspective of what really happened. [Make sure to] research your agent as well as your home,” Gentry says.
Ask the Right Questions
Interviewing your potential agent is one of the most important steps in the process. Gentry says it’s not uncommon for agency websites to provide questions you should ask a potential agent, and while some of them might be helpful, Gentry says most agents are expecting to hear them. The unexpected questions are where you’ll find out the most about your agent.
“Have your sit-down meeting, see what questions the agent has for you, and ask questions in return about what the agent thinks about your answers,” Gentry says. “Pay attention to how the agent answers, and how comfortable you are with the agent and their responses. Did it sound like the agent understood your goals, both short- and long-term, as a buyer?”
Make sure to ask about the current market in your target area. You want to work with someone who knows the neighborhood you’re targeting, inside and out. Make sure your goals align by asking about their work history, and why they’d be the right agent for you. If they’ve worked with a lot of clients with goals like yours, they’ll likely be a good fit.
At the end of the day, Gentry says the most important thing to remember when searching for an agent is to trust your gut. “Your agent is your financial advisor for the largest (typically) purchase you will make. A good agent needs to be excited about the business they’re in,” Gentry says.
If you’re ready to get started, In-House Realty can connect you with an agent that meets your needs. Visit InHouseRealty.com to find an agent today!
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