Whether you want to sell your home or buy one, you’re going to need a good real estate agent on your team. Driving through your town and picking the first one whose face you see in an ad on a bench is not the best way to go about it. Instead, doing research can be your best weapon. Considering how huge of an investment you’re making, you want a realtor who has the experience, smarts, and personality to ensure a smooth and problem-free transaction. If you’re ready to choose a realtor, there’s several easy ways to go about finding the best one for you.
Get personal recommendations
Chances are many of the people you know have dealt with a realtor at some point, so don’t hesitate to ask for personal recommendations from trusted family and friends. If several give you the same agent’s name, that’s an excellent person to start with.
Ask for references
Once you narrow down your prospects, it never hurts to ask for personal references. The realtor should have no problem handing over the contact information of at least 2 or 3 past clients who can back up their skills. If the realtor refuses, consider moving onto someone else.
Do your research
Simply getting recommendations is not always enough. Do an Internet search for the realtor’s name and see what comes up. Do as much research as you can on your narrowed down list of prospects and see if you can shrink the list down even further. You’ll likely pull up at least one page where there are previous client reviews. Read through them and see what the clients have to say.
Choose by specialty
Depending on your particular situation and what you’re looking for, you may want to choose a real estate agent who has a particular specialty. For example, if you’re 50+, consider opting for someone who is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES). They’re specially trained to assist those who are 50 and up with real estate transactions.
Do a license search
Every state has their own particular real estate licensing association, so do a check to see if the real estate agent on your list has a license that’s up to date. Go to your state’s respective site, go to “licensee search,” type in the agent’s name and you’ll be able to get all the information.
Choose someone who makes real estate their career
There are some agents who only dabble in the real estate industry and don’t particularly have the strong background and experience that someone who has made real estate their career would. Opt for someone who does it full time and deals with the process on a daily basis.
Pick someone with good communication skills
Even the most qualified real estate agent isn’t worth dealing with if you don’t have a strong connection with them. The agent should call you or email you back within a reasonable amount of time, always keep you up-to-date with how your process is going, answer any questions you have, and not hesitate to tell you when something is right or isn’t. You never want to feel like you have to hunt your agent down for information.
When you choose a realtor, the most important tool is your intuition. You can do all the research you want, but when it comes down to it, you’re going to have to evaluate how you feel about the person and whether or not you think they’re competent enough to do the job. Between trusting your gut and all your research, you’re more than equipped to choose the right real estate agent.