Whether you're looking to buy or sell a home, you'll need a good real estate agent to help. The right agent will understand your needs, priorities and personality to find you the right place and the right price.
Use these three tips to ensure you find a good match.
Attend open houses
While checking out websites and collecting referrals is important, there is no substitute for meeting an agent in person. Open houses are the perfect opportunity to see how a prospective real estate agent operates and whether their personality and work style suits you.
Pay attention to how they show the house. For example, a good agent should:
- Highlight the features of the house
- Engage with the visitors
- Demonstrate knowledge of the home and area
- Be polite and professional
If you can, try to attend open houses for homes similar to yours to get an even better idea of how that agent would approach the buying and selling process with you.
Look for experts in your area
Hiring the right agent isn't just about finding the biggest agency or the agent with the most business. It's also about choosing someone with the right experience and knowledge for your particular home.
One way you can narrow down your options is by focusing on agents who are experts in your target area, advises The Balance. These agents will have a deeper understanding of the neighborhoods, schools, community demographics and the specific housing market for that area. There are a couple of ways you to hone in on localized agents.
Review print ads
In the age of the internet, print ads may sound old school, but they work. Real estate agents use print ads to either showcase homes they are selling or to market their services. Review print ads in the local community paper for listings in your targeted neighborhood. Make a list of the agents and contact them to find out about their experience in that area. If they have worked with a number of clients in that neighborhood or community, they may be a good fit.
Track neighborhood signs
Another way to identify real estate agents with experience in your target community is to track neighborhood signs. For instance, if you're selling your home and there are other houses on the market nearby, pay attention to how long they are listed for. Signs that disappear quickly could indicate a successful agent.
Ask the right questions
Finally, when you've got your short list of potential agents, meet with each of them to learn about their style, personality and experience. To get the best information, be sure to ask the right questions.
Here are a few you might want to include:
- What kind of experience have you had? Have you worked with properties similar to mine?
- How will you keep me updated and informed?
- Describe your marketing plan. How would you market my property?
- Do you have connections in the industry (e.g., stagers, lawyers, photographers, moving companies)?
- Can you share references with me?
Look for agents who will communicate with you clearly and punctually. Let them know how you'd like to stay connected (e.g., email, phone call, etc.) and how often. You can even request a regular schedule of follow up reports — every two weeks is a reasonable timeline, recommends Investopedia.
Additionally, don't be afraid to ask for a detailed marketing plan. This will let you see exactly how they will market your home and make it stand out. If you're not impressed, it's unlikely prospective buyers will be either.
By answering questions like these, you can get a better picture of the agent's overall experience and how well they would work with you and your property.
Finding the right real estate agent isn't always easy, but it's worth the work. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have been to the rodeo many times before, these tips will help make your search successful.
For more tips and information on house hunting and selling, talk to real estate professionals like those at the Trumm Team.