Selection of the right real estate agent is one of the most critical parts of your move. Whether you’re moving to a new city due to a job change, across town to be closer to family, downsizing, or merely for a change of scenery, your real estate agent can make or break your experience. How do you keep from making a mistake when you choose your real estate agent?
1. Look for a Realtor Specializing in the Type of House You Want
Makaila & Co. Realty, owned by Atlanta, GA-born and raised Shannon Makaila, specializes in properties in the huge urban development on and around the Atlanta Beltline, as well as properties with modern architecture. She describes her company as a “boutique real estate experience”. If you know what you are looking for, selecting a realtor with a niche can work for you.
2. Get Referrals from Satisfied Customers
Talk with your friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors. When an agent goes “above and beyond”, you will hear lots of compliments and recommendations. Word of mouth is one of the best indicators of a good real estate agent. There is nothing like a satisfied customer to give you confidence in your choice.
3. Ask for Professional Recommendations
Real estate agents may specialize in certain areas. If you are not looking for a newly-built home or a commercial property, you still can ask those specialty real estate agents for recommendations. In addition to specialty agents, check with mortgage brokers. They generally have experience with multiple agents and know their strengths and weaknesses.
4. Find Out if a Home Warranty is Offered to the Buyer
According to realtor.com, a home warranty has potential benefits for both the buyer and seller. Especially in older homes, the buyer has peace of mind that appliances are covered. Offering a home warranty often helps the seller by reducing time on the market. A smart real estate agent recommends that the seller offer this to the buyer.
5. Be Sure the Agent is Licensed
While this may seem obvious, it is an important step in choosing a real estate agent. There is a national registry where you can look up any agent. The registry also reports any complaints against an agent from the previous three years. Avoid headaches by hiring a licensed agent.
6. Ask How Many Active Clients the Real Estate Agent Has
According to the US New & World Report, this is the same as asking if the agent has time for you. If the agent has too many clients, key elements of your real estate buying experience can be delayed or overlooked. If the agent is very busy, ask if there is a back-up system in place if you need assistance when your agent is not available.
7. Get References From Previous Sales
Of course, no agent will give you the names of dissatisfied clients, so references may not be that helpful. You can still get good information from former clients by asking specific, open-ended questions. You can find out how accessible the agent was during the home buying process and what areas of town the agent knows. Hints about how the agent works can make your experience better.
Following these recommendations won’t guarantee a great home buying experience, but using them will greatly reduce the likelihood of a bad experience. Happy home hunting!