Buying a house is a long, complex process. First, you must understand the loan process, which can take months if you’re not in good financial health. Then, after you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin the house hunt, but while the process can be fun, it can also be daunting. While there are many homes for sale around the nation, finding the right home for you based on your needs can be difficult. That’s where a realtor comes in. You can put together a list of all the features you want in a home with your top priorities first, and a real estate agent will search their networks and database to find homes that would be a good fit based on your budget.
On the flip side, sellers often have difficulty selling their homes without a realtor because they don’t have the network or negotiation skills required for selling a house to buyers willing to pay more for the house they want. Of course, most buyers and sellers should work with a realtor, but buyers don’t have to pay for a realtor, so there’s ultimately no reason for buyers not to hire one to help them find their dream home. Unfortunately, there are many realtors in your city alone, and finding the right one can be tricky because you want them to work on finding you a home based on your priorities and budget. Here are a few tips to help you find the right real estate agent for you.
Knowing what you want in a home can make finding a realtor easier. Remember, while realtors want your business, they also want to find you a house fast to make money and move on to the next client. If you’re unsure what you want in a home, you can appear as a difficult client to experienced realtors, and many of the best agents will avoid you until you can tell them what you’re looking for in a home.
Additionally, even though a realtor can help you understand the loan process, you should be preapproved for a mortgage before looking for a real estate agent because they need to ensure that you’re qualified for a loan. That being said, realtors can help you understand more about the mortgage loan process and different terms that can be confusing, such as underwriting, amortization, private mortgage insurance, and more.
Ask for Recommendations
The easiest way to find a great realtor is by asking family and friends about their experiences selling and buying their homes. You can talk to multiple people to determine what stood out about their real estate agents. You can also look online at reviews of local agents to help you understand what other buyers or sellers thought about working with them.
Check Your Area
You always want to find a real estate agent in your area because they’ll know more about the local market. But, of course, you’ll also need to be assured of their experience in general, including whether or not they’re full-time. Of course, you can also find a realtor who works part-time, but you can assume you won’t be their highest priority because they might be working another job, which means they won’t be available to answer your questions at all times.
You can learn more about someone’s experience by performing a background check or asking to see a list of their recent clients and calling those individuals up to learn about their experiences. You can also determine the types of properties they sell. For example, if you’re looking to buy a single-family home, you want a realtor with experience in buying or selling those types of properties to ensure they’ll give you the best information about your local market.
Don’t Forget About Personality
Depending on the type of client you are, you might be spending a lot of time communicating with your realtor, either in person or on the phone. Therefore, you want to ensure that they have a personality that allows you to build a relationship with them. If you’re a seller, you’re going to be paying an agent a commission worth thousands of dollars, so you must ensure they’re someone you can trust and rely on.
Since buying and selling a property can be stressful, you want to ensure you’re hiring someone who can help relieve some of your stress rather than add to it. When interviewing potential realtors, let them know what your expectations are to give them the opportunity to turn down your proposal in case they think they won’t be the right agent for you.
As we’ve mentioned, you’re going to communicate with your realtor a lot, whether you’re buying or selling. However, everyone has communication preferences. For example, depending on your real estate agent’s business or life, they might not be available on weekends. Meanwhile, you might have a nine-to-five job and won’t be able to answer the phone every time your realtor has news for you. Stating your communication preferences upfront can help both you and your realtor understand the best way to stay in touch.
Ask About Other Obligations
Real estate agents have multiple clients at once, so you can’t expect to be their main priority at all times. However, you also don’t want to choose a realtor that takes on too many clients at once and can’t give any of them adequate attention. Talk to your realtor about the type of client you expect yourself to be.
Most agents understand the stressful process of buying and selling a home and are willing to work with you to make it happen without adding stress. However, others will run from needy clients that call them every day. If you’re the type of client wanting to discuss where your realtor is in the process often, you may have to consider how many other clients they’re working with.
The easiest way to find the right real estate agent for you is by interviewing at least three of them in person. While their experience is important, you want to find someone you get along with and trust to ensure a smooth process. Setting expectations at the beginning is key to ensuring you have a good relationship with whoever you choose.
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.