7 Tips for Selecting a Real Estate Agent
1. Look for transparency
You want to work with an agent who is completely open with you. A good agent is not only honest, but they’ll tell you things you may not want to hear. For example, sellers often overestimate the value of their home and insist it be listed at an inflated price. Listing your home significantly above its market value may dissuade prospects and result in the property sitting on the market for an extended period of time. In this scenario, it’s best for an agent to be honest with their clients in their home’s true value. In the end, this will save everyone time, disappointment, and potentially money.
2. Speak with their past clients
One way for employers to identify the right candidate is by speaking with your references. A similar strategy can work when selecting a real estate agent. You want to hear what previous clients have to say about working with them. Don’t hesitate to ask for a list of their most recent clients. If you want the whole scoop, do some digging and check reviews yourself.
3. Assess the agents’ responsiveness
One of the most frustrating things for buyers and sellers is not being able to get in touch with their agent. After you’ve checked reviews, emailed or called several agents, consider the ones who answer your call or get back to you by the end of the day. Having a responsive agent on your side is one less worry throughout the home buying/selling process.
4. Test their local knowledge of the real estate market
Working with a well-versed agent is great, but they should have a solid understanding of your specific housing market. If they do, they will know the sale price of recently sold homes, current inventory, and any potential local issues.
5. Ask about their marketing strategy
When you speak with your prospective agent, ask them how they plan to market your home. What online and offline tactics will they use? Will they be using social media? "The right real estate company with innovative ideas and programs will help you sell your home quickly. To get your home marketed in all your surrounding areas, your company should be utilizing multiple listing services and various online sites,” says Cindy Lapp, Real Estate Specialist at DLP Realty.
6. Ask them if they work with a team
Many agents work with a team now, as opposed to working with you as a solo, independent agent. A benefit of working with a team for the sale/purchase of your home is being able to access experts in specific areas. By focusing on one particular aspect of the real estate transaction, these individuals have a solid understanding of the specific area they work in (i.e. marketing, closing, home purchases). Working with a team can be very beneficial, considering the various aspects of a real estate transaction. If your agent works with a team, clarify each team member’s involvement with you throughout the transaction.
7. Interview several agents
Don’t just settle for an agent after an initial phone call. Interview multiple agents and in the end, trust your gut feeling. It’s okay to be on the fence, even after a handful of interviews, just continue searching. After all, this may be one of the largest purchases of your life.