5 Tips from dating world to find the perfect real estate agent
The real estate agent you choose to help you buy or sell a home can have a life-long impact on your financial, emotional, and mental well being—you’ll be relying on the trust and guidance of this person to make one of the biggest decisions of your life. In fact, finding the right real estate agent to manage, navigate, and negotiate your home purchase is like finding the “one” in the dating world—it takes time and patience, but it will pay off.
Here are some tips to find the right fit for you:
Keep Your Opportunities “Open”
As in Open Houses…one of the best ways to discover a great real estate agent is to see them in action at a home showing. In other words, meet lots of “prospects”. Some you’ll connect with, some not so much. Do they present themselves in a professional way? How do they interact with potential homebuyers, or are they checking their phone? Do they ask you questions about your search and requirements, or merely talk about how great they are? Do they reveal information about the seller that seems unethical?
Get Set Up
Just like friends that look out for us when we’re single, finding a good real estate agent can be the same experience. When you’re in the market for a buying agent, people in your life will volunteer names of people they love and had a great experience with. Meet the real estate agent in person for a “chemistry check” and interview. Go to an open house with them to test drive how they would represent you. That could move the relationship forward or be a deal-breaker (Either way, be gracious to your friend for the blind date.)
Geographic and Demographic Correct
Dating someone who lives across the country or hours away can be difficult. Likewise find an agent that knows the area you are looking for a home is key—they should have both a broad and micro level of understanding of the local housing market. If an agent says they are an expert in “the San Francisco Bay Area”, that’s a sign to run. Along with a local area specialty, do they cater to your specific home specs? What are their client demographics? Multi-million dollar home seekers? Condo dwellers? A variety pack? The more breadth of experience, the bigger picture of the market they’ll have, and that’s good for everyone.
Check Them Out Online
Like the gazillion dating site profiles, real estate agents are on the internet to promote themselves. Check out their web site, social media profiles, credentials, and references online. Is their website professional or is it full of typos? Did they just move from an engineering career to an agent recently, or do they have years of experience? Does their site have useful information like testimonials and industry stats? What do others say about them on Yelp, Inzopa and Linkedin recommendations?
Must Be a Great Communicator
As with any relationship, one of the most important measures is communications. And with an agent, one of the most critical factors will be their response time. Things happen fast in a home search and your real estate agent should be standing by for the perfect house that just went on the market, a problem with your transaction, or anything else required at a moment’s notice. If they take a long time to contact you back, whether it’s a call, text, or email, like any budding relationship, it could be the end before it even begins. Likewise, they should be a good listener and make you feel heard: whether it’s your preference on house style, deciding the price to bid on a house, or negotiating extras.
Finding Forever After
In the end, finding an agent can be like love at first sight or a slow brew, or neither. Either way, take the time to get to know your potential agent—dare I say court each other—before you sign on with them to buy your dream home. It could even lead to a life-long partnership of home transaction bliss.