Tips on Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Whether you want to buy or sell a property, a real estate agent can provide expert guidance. And because not all real estate agents have the same knowledge and skills, you need a few prospects to screen before hiring someone.
Among the first things you should know about your prospects is their experience in the industry. How long have they working in the industry? Besides that, you’d also like to know whether or not they have significant experience with buyers who have the same needs as yours. Also note that there’s a great difference between agents who are part-time and full-time. A part-timer will never give you the level of service that a full-timer can.
Areas and Types of Properties
Real estate agents can also differ in terms of the geographic areas and types of properties they specialize in. But for any agent, neighborhood expertise is crucial because each place can have different characteristics. If you are buying or selling a historic house, find an agent who specializes in this type of property, which is known for some unique challenges, including potential restrictions. In addition, look into how the agent brands himself online. If he claims to be a condo expert and you’re thinking of buying a house, find someone else.
In any real estate transaction, agent-client communication is extremely important. Look for an agent who will respond to your emails, calls or texts in a timely manner. Also know who your main point of contact is. Some agents are so busy they employ sub-agents or assistants, and you may not have a direct line with the agent you pick.
After interviewing candidate agents, why not also schedule a chat with their buyers and sellers? This gives you the chance to know about your prospects from someone else, and you can have a more accurate account of how they actually did out there in the field. You might want to ask the agents as well if they’re getting mostly referrals or repeat business. This lets you in on whether or not their previous clients were satisfied with the service.
In most cases, buyers don’t pay commission directly, but that’s exactly what sellers often do, and the costs will be different, depending on the agent. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of the closing cost estimates. If one agent is charging you less than the others, see if the reduced commission also means reduced services. Know where the property will be listed and how active the agent is online. If the property will be listed in his social media accounts, what is his following like?
These are the core issues you must consider when evaluating a particular agent. Whatever information you have, understand it and listen to your gut.