How to find the real estate agent that’s right for you
Buying or selling a home can feel like a daunting task. Moving from one place to another is already stressful, but when you factor in the uncertain time frames due to delays in the buying chain and the costs that come with the buying process, things can get overwhelming.
It’s, therefore, no surprise that 83% of sellers list their properties with real estate agents, according to Zillow Group’s latest Consumer Housing Trends Report.
Real estate agents better understand the market, can help you secure optimal properties with ideal locations, and know how to evaluate homes’ features at the best price possible.
Of course, this isn’t always the case. Some real estate agents can be less knowledgeable or simply not a good fit. So how do you find the agent that suits you best? You can use friendly platforms such as Livv, an AI platform that uses machine learning to personalize your real estate search experience.
In case you still need to find the right realtor, here are three steps that can guide you.
- Take time to research.
Compare your notes and research the best available real estate agents who specialize in the areas where you’d like to buy. The internet is a great place to start because you can access reviews from past clients.
These are a sort of indirect referrals. (Otherwise, you might be getting recommendations on some local pros from family and friends.) Interestingly, one in every five home buyers work with real estate agents based on referrals.
Interviews are also a part of the research process. Once you narrow your list down to two or three potential agents, it’s time to learn more about their expertise. This can involve their understanding of the local markets, the price points, the types of properties available and their work experience. You can then reflect on the question, are they a good fit for you?
- Make sure that they are buyer-focused.
Is the real estate agent you are working with looking out for you? Ensure that you work with someone that deeply understands your needs and will bring forth options that favor you.
If you feel like they are misaligned and are sharing options that only benefit them, don’t be afraid to back out. As the buyer, you are the priority, and therefore should engage with someone that will prioritize your needs.
- Do you trust them?
It may sound cliché to say, go with your gut, but this is the time to really tap into your intuition. I mentioned earlier that interviewing potential candidates is important. In that process, there are ways to tell if someone is a good fit. Do they actively listen to you? Do they ask insightful questions? Are they giving you helpful suggestions?
You will need to trust your agent with confidential information, so making sure that you can rely on someone is important.
Ask yourself: do I trust this person? If you feel a hint of hesitation, it may be best to look out for other agents or to take some time to think about it.
- Find out their work strategy
Having already shared your expectations, take a look at their work process. How do they market their properties? What is their client portfolio? What suggestions do they bring to the table?
From their results, you can tell their work ethic and passion. Hiring an agent that pays close attention to their clients will help you buy a home at the best possible price. A recent Forbes article quoted Will Featherstone of Featherstone & Co. on one sign a realtor has the mindshare for you. “Are they supported by a team? An agent who has support is able to offer a high level of customer service to every customer. Most agents work with several clients at a time. The logistics of buying/selling a home are complicated, and it’s easy to miss something or fall short without a support staff.”
How do they communicate with you?
In every field, communication is key! From being able to communicate your needs effectively with your agent to them sharing all the information you need, the whole chain requires close attention.
If you are not able to communicate well with your agent, it is likely not the best fit for you. The best way to keep tabs is to share the channels of your preference, i.e., email, phone call, text message, etc. If you are on the same page, you can get frequent updates on your property search process and also know what to expect from each other.
The whole point of getting help is to make work easier. So make sure that’s how it feels when enlisting the support of a realtor! The above steps will enable you to find a knowledgeable professional who is focused on your needs and who can deliver the results you’re seeking.