How To Find A Real Estate Agent
At the beginning of your home search, the task of picking one real estate agent out of thousands may seem daunting. When making a purchase as important as your home, you want to work with a real estate agent you can trust to advocate for you during the entire process.
There are some easy ways to narrow your search. In this article, we’ll review the steps you’ll need to take in order to find a real estate agent who fits your housing needs and priorities.
What Does A Real Estate Agent Do?
Before we dive into what makes a good real estate agent and how to find one in your area, let’s define their responsibilities. Real estate agents are licensed professionals who help people buy and sell their homes. It’s their responsibility to guide people through the home buying or selling process, as well as to represent their clients in a real estate transaction.
If the real estate agent is representing the buyer, they’re considered a buyer’s agent. These agents are responsible for finding homes for their client, as well as helping them to make offers and negotiate with sellers.
On the other hand, when agents represent the home seller, they’re considered seller’s agents. They can assist clients with setting a listing price, marketing the home and managing the paperwork for the final sale.
How To Find A Good Real Estate Agent
When it comes time to select a real estate agent, interview several contenders about how they would work to achieve your housing goals. Chisholm Gentry, an agent in the Rocket HomesⓇ Partner Network, offers some advice on how to find the right real estate agent. Here are four ways he suggests to help you find the right agent.
Help Your Agent Understand Your Needs
Although this might seem simple, Gentry says it’s often an 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 relationship will be far more likely to put the client first and work hard to see that long-term goal happen.”
Your agent should learn about you and what you’re looking for. As a home buyer, you should be sure to tell your potential real estate agent the following details:
- Must-have home characteristics. Agents need to know the important details you want in a home, such as the necessary number of bedrooms and bathrooms, in order to start your home search.
- The maximum amount you’re comfortable spending. Let the real estate agent know the maximum amount that you’re able to spend on your future home, especially if that number exceeds your loan amount.
- Neighborhood or surrounding area requirements. Should your agent be looking in an area with trendy restaurants or shops, or one that’s near the best schools?
If you’re on the selling side, the first point of conversation may be what you would like to get out of the sale. As a home seller, in addition to your best-case scenario sales price, you’ll need to tell your agent the following details:
- The specific time frame to move out or sell. If you’re motivated to move quickly, your agent should know this. On the other hand, if you want to move after the kids get out of school, your agent may be able to find buyers who are more flexible on timing.
- The minimum sale price. What’s the minimum amount you’d take in a sale?
- Your personal schedule. This will accomplish two things: First, your agent will know the best time to contact you. Second, they’ll be able to schedule home showings that cause minimal disruption in your life.
Review The Resume
Another factor to consider in your search for an agent is their credentials and whether they line up with your needs. There are many 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, make sure you check out how long they’ve been in the business and whether 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.
Of course, doing all this background checking may be a lot to ask for if you’re also thinking about everything you need to do to get approved for a mortgage. Each agent in the Rocket Homes partner network is prescreened, so you can feel comfortable you’re getting a top-quality agent.
Ask Around For Recommendations
Gentry says that finding the right real estate agent is often like looking for a significant other. “Don’t be afraid to stalk your agent online to learn more about them,” Gentry says. “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 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 also suggests checking online reviews. As with any internet dealings, you should do thorough research. “You can get one-sided reviews without the perspective of what really happened. Research your agent as well as your home,” Gentry says.
Recommendations from friends can be great, but it’s important to be aware that your friend may not have the same tastes or home buying goals that you do.
Interview Several Real Estate Agents
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. While some of them might be helpful, Gentry says most agents are expecting to hear them.
“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 explains. “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?”
Ask about the current market in your target or selling area. You want to work with someone who knows the neighborhood you’re thinking about 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.
The Bottom Line: Find A Real Estate Agent Who Prioritizes Your Sale
At the end of the day, the right real estate agent is someone who understands your housing needs and goals, and is willing to go above and beyond to meet them. You should choose an agent who’s confident and competent in their work, and who has established relationships with other people in the real estate industry.
If you’re ready to get started, connect with a real estate agent who meets your needs through the Rocket Homes Verified Partner Agent Network.
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