Finding the right real estate agent to guide you through your real estate journey is like looking for a good relationship. More than finding the one in your area of interest with the most impressive credentials, it also takes a great deal of chemistry. After all, your collaboration can take months – extending even after you’ve sealed a deal.
So how does one find the “right” real estate agent? Here are some tips:
- Years of experience
Clocking in a good number of years in the real estate industry suggests that an agent has the mettle to last through the ups and downs of the business.
Underperforming agents find it hard to last in this enterprise, as many agents rely on commissions to survive.
- Ability to handle unique situations
If you think your needs are unique, ask if the agent has handled cases similar to yours. The agents you can rely on are those who can describe potential issues based on your situation as well as the means to resolve them.
- Local expertise vs. broader know-how
If you’re set on finding a piece of property within a particular community, the neighborhood expert is a boon. If you’re not fixed on the idea, a real estate professional with broader knowledge and experience may offer you more options. You may want to explore opportunities in surrounding communities and housing markets.
- Ability to handle multiple clients
On one hand, the fact that an agent handles a good number of clients is an encouraging sign of their ability and reputation. On the other, it should make you question whether the agent will have the time to spare for your needs.
If your agent does handle multiple clients at a time, learn more about how they are able to handle this.
Check the agent’s website or Facebook page. Look for testimonials from past clients. Or, check out user review sites like Yelp for feedback from those who have done business with them. You can message former clients or ask to call them if you need more information.
- Team dynamics
Agents who work in teams or agencies offer the advantage of a wider network and range of experience. But it’s also important to understand or set the boundaries of how you expect to work with the agent’s team. Your agent should tell you whether to expect to work with an individual agent, or with a defined set of team members throughout the process.
- Buyer-to-seller client ratio
Agents tend to work primarily with either buyers or sellers.. Find an agent who has had a decent amount of experience dealing in both processes. It shows that the agent has a good understanding of both sides of the negotiation table.
At the outset, establish your best and most preferred means of communication. Define your expected schedule of updates, times when you should be off limits to calls or visits, and other similar considerations.
- Vendor network
Experienced real estate agents bring the benefit of an extensive network of licensed professionals that will prove crucial to your transaction, as well as future needs from the community. These include lenders, title companies, maintenance service providers, local community amenities, and the like.
Note, however, that your agent’s trusted partners are recommendations at best. You can still choose to work with other contractors or service providers as you please.
- Level of dedication
Your agent should get to know you. You can find your ideal agent based on the questions they ask – going past the basic property specs and digging deeper to understand your needs and priorities.