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Research Is Crucial: 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent can be a lifesaver when it comes to buying or selling a home, but that only works if you have chosen the right real estate agent for you. When you’re looking to work with a realtor, you have to make sure that you’re going into business with someone you feel is going to understand your needs and work for you.

Tips for finding the Best Real Estate Agent - house sale image

1.     Get referrals and do your research

The rules for someone becoming a real estate agent are lenient in many places, which is why you have to be vigilant about doing your own research. Talk with family and friends to see which real estate agents they’d recommend and why. Once you have a few referrals in hand, do some research online to learn more about your potential agent. Find out how long they’ve been in the business, who they’re connected to and how many houses they’re currently listed as selling.

2.     Meet in person and ask questions

Once you’ve decided on an agent, meet with them in person before visiting any houses with them. Some agents will try to lock you into a contract immediately, which should be concerning. Your initial meeting should be all about interviewing your realtor. Ask about their experience in your price range, in the neighborhoods, you’re interested in, their strategies for complicated or competitive sales, and how they negotiate multiple offers. You should also see how they will deal with a situation that requires you to sell your home quickly. Find a company that advertises ‘we buy houses’, or see if their real estate company offers a cash buyout of your home. This will help you get out of a bind quickly—if need be.

3.     Do you get along?

Getting along with your agent is essential. You should feel that they understand you and listen to you. They don’t need to be your best friend, but you should feel at ease around them. You’re going to be making some very stressful decisions around this person, so it’s crucial they make you feel comfortable.

4.     Look for competitive advantages

You’re about to spend a lot of money (even as a seller) so shop around to see what realtor can offer you the best benefits. Realtors are commission based and need to hustle to attract and keep clients. See if your agent can provide you with deals with mortgage brokers or lawyers they know, or has a specialty in buying or selling the type of home you’re interested in.

5.     Understand their commission

All agents work on commission, and this is something you want. An agent who works on salary won’t work nearly as hard for you. That being said, understand how much commission your agent is charging, who is paying it, and see if they can offer you a better deal. There’s no harm in asking, and a reduction in price can definitely save you some money overall. This only applies if you’re selling a home, of course, since the buyer doesn’t absorb the cost of a realtor’s commission.

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