How To Select A Real Estate Agent
Getting recommendations is probably the most convenient way to find a real estate agent. Those moving because of a job transfer can ask their new co-workers for advice. Look for agents who are experienced, have a good track record, and know the neighborhoods inside and out.
Keep in mind that not all recommendations are created equal. Some will recommend their friend or relative instead of someone who is highly qualified. The goal is to hire the best agent for you, someone who has a track record of selling a lot of homes.
Pay attention to any “For Sale” and “Sold” signs in the area. Is there a particular company that seems to show up most often? You can also check the real estate section in the newspaper for advertisements.
As A Buyer
If you’re moving long distance, contact a few agents that work in the area you’re interested in. Ask them to send some packets of information about the city and some listings to look at. Talk to these agents over the phone and choose the one that you feel most comfortable with.
Since you’ll have to make a special trip or two to this city, you’ll need an agent that can spend a few days looking at houses with you. Be sure to give him or her plenty of notice before coming so they can plan ahead of time.
Since agents only get paid when their clients buy a house through them, they may ask you to sign an exclusive right to represent agreement. This agreement basically states that if you’re going to buy a house, it must be through them. That way, the agent knows that all the hard work they are putting in won’t go waste.
If you think there’s a possibility that you’ll buy a house directly from the owner, then visit the property before signing the agreement. Often times, builders won’t work with real estate agents. The agreement will likely have an escape clause, but read the fine print before signing.
The more you can share with your agent regarding preferences, the better. Communicate with your agent as clearly as you can what you like and don’t like about a house. If you know what you want, and your agent does as well, then you won’t have to spend as much time finding a home.
As A Seller
Contact and set up appointments with at least three real estate agents. Ask each agent to bring with them a market analysis of the area. Meeting in person allows you to get to know each agent, discuss pricing, and learn more about their marketing plan for your home. You’ll also get to know their track record and get tips on showing your home.
After each meeting, let the agent know that you have other interviews lined up. They should be very understanding. If they try to get an answer from you at the end of the meeting, that could be a red flag. The best agents are very confident and won’t pressure you.
The terms of a dual agency agreement tend to vary based on location. In most cases, it means that if an agent represents both the buyer and seller, then he or she will advise both and not disclose confidential information to either side.
As a seller, ask the agent if they plan on representing potential buyers for your home. If so, then certain information could end up being used against you. For example, let’s say that you have to sell the house within 30 days. If the agent were to relay this information to a buyer, this could give them leverage in negotiations. You can request that the agent not represent any buyers and have them sign a listing agreement that states this.
Dual agency is also not advantageous for the buyer, who will likely have a hard time being open and honest with their agent.
However, it might be difficult to avoid if one real estate company dominates a particular area. In general, it makes a lot of sense to avoid such an agreement. Make sure you read the terms if this is presented so you know what you’re getting into.
Be sure to write down any suggestions that the agent provides during the meeting. Also note your overall impressions once the meeting has ended. If you don’t write down this information, you will have a more difficult time remembering the details when it comes time to make a decision.
Think about which agent you are most comfortable with. Were you able to establish a good rapport with one more than the others? Did any of them give you a bad feeling? You will be working with this individual extensively throughout the upcoming weeks or months. This selection however is an inexact science. Sometimes it’s best just to follow your intuition.
The importance of selecting a good agent goes without saying. The best ones will likely be a pleasure to work with and sell your house more quickly or help you buy the right one. A good agent is well worth the money. If you feel like you made a mistake with the one you hired, then don’t hesitate to find another.